The Jackson Police Department has released more details surrounding an internal investigation of an officer after claims of brutality surfaced from an arrest made at the Mal's St. Paddy's Parade Saturday.
A YouTube video posted on a blog shows Zach Magee surrounded by JPD officers while a person, identified in the blog post as Magee's father and a deputy with a local sheriff's office, talks with him. The blog post was written by someone identifying herself as the man's mother, Robin Magee.
The blog post claims officers responded to the area Saturday because Magee had just been jumped by two other men. The two men were gone when officers arrived, according to the post.
Magee claims in the blog post that her son was "a bit inebriated." The YouTube video shows things escalated quickly when the 22-year-old man lunged toward an officer. According to the blog post the other police officer then hit the man in the head with his baton.
Jackson police, however, tell a different story. Jackson police were called to the scene and initially asked Magee to leave the parade but he refused, according to Vance.
"Reportedly, [Magee] had gotten into a fight with an elderly gentleman during the parade. There was an off-duty deputy sheriff, I believe from Leake County, who actually witnessed this and he intervened," explained Assistant Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance. "So, he got into a fight with Mr. Magee."
Vance says witnesses told investigators the drunken Magee was bleeding from the head after the altercation with the off-duty deputy. Magee can be seen from the cell phone video on the ground bleeding from the head. The family says the man was treated at the hospital and now has staples in his head.
Magee's father attempted to intervene to quell the situation.
"Unfortunately sometimes when people consume too much alcohol they become unreasonable and that appears to be the case with this individual. Yes, his father did appear to try to quell the situation but he obviously did not have this individual under control," said Vance.
In the arrest video, which has since been posted to YouTube, viewers can see a man talking with Magee. Suddenly Magee moves, a number of arms start flying and it appears a female becomes involved.
Magee then yells a racial slur at an officer and lunges at him. The officer hits Magee with a baton.
The intoxicated man was taken to the ground by officers and arrested. Magee has been charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and assault on a police officer.
"This particular individual apparently came to this event not to have a good time but get drunk and start fights. So apparently he was dealt with in the appropriate manner," said Vance.
The family's blog post says Magee was angry and "reeling from being jumped."
The blog post by Magee's mother showed where he received staples for a wound to the head. Vance says it is not clear if an injury to Magee's head came from the baton, because he was bleeding before JPD arrived, according to witnesses.
Magee's family filed a complaint against the officer. They claim using the baton was police brutality.
Vance says officers are trained and have to be qualified before carrying a baton.
"These officers have been trained in the use of it. It's given to them for use in the appropriate situation and apparently this officer decided that it was appropriate to use that weapon and he did," said Vance.
Vance says officers are trained to deal with large crowds, where is drinking involved. An estimated 80,000 people attended this year's parade.
"Out of that large crowd we only had nine arrests during the whole event. I think our officers did a fantastic job of managing a crowd where you had a lot of people who had been drinking," added Vance.
WLBT reached out to Magee, but he declined our request for comment.
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