Monday, September 22, 2008

Jackson Disregards Ethics Commission Opinion, Only Provides One Police Report in George Bell, III Case

The City of Jackson apparently disregarded the recent Ethics Commission opinion directing the City to release copies of the two police reports I requested under Mississippi public records law. On July 25, 2008, I submitted a public records request to the City for a copy of the police incident reports for the murder of Heather Spencer and the kidnapping of Elizabeth Hall. Monica Joiner, Deputy City Attorney, denied my request, thus forcing me to appeal to the Mississippi Ethics Commission. The Commission ruled that under the new amendments to the public records law, Jackson should provide me with a copy of the reports. Jackson Denial Letter

In what can only be called a blatant disregard for the Commission's ruling, Jackson only sent the police incident report for the murder of Heather Spencer after heavily redacting it. The sanitizing was so thorough not even Heather Spencer's name is mentioned anywhere in the report. The city did not provide me with the report for the kidnapping, thus ignoring the Ethics Commission's ruling.

The City of Jackson has dealt with this matter in bad faith from the very beginning. The City refused my original public records requests despite the statute. The city claimed it did not have a police incident report form, even though the report is titled "police incident report". When I appealed Jackson's denial to the Mississippi Ethics Commission, the City stated in writing that the capital murder and kidnapping charges against George Bell, III had not been prosecuted as of August 6, 2008!!!
Cases already prosecuted. Second to last paragraph

When the Ethics Commission ruled in my favor, the attorney for the City said they would comply with the ruling. The City,however, only released one police report when the opinion states Jackson must provide both reports. Jackson has repeatedly acted in bad faith by lying (What else do you call saying the cases had not been prosecuted?) and avoiding its responsibility to the public.

Jackson's attorneys forget the government exists to serve us, not themselves. Jackson has a bunker mentality discouraging openness and accountability. From the Melton administration's junking of the Comstat crime reporting system to its refusals to provde the public with crime statistics (until forced to do so by media lawsuits), Jackson has engaged in a pattern of keeping Jacksonians from seeing how its government and police are run by its leaders. Sadly enough, the actions by the City attorneys are only more of the same as it ignores the Mississippi Ethics Commission, shirking its responsibilities to its own citizens.

Copy of Police Incident Report for the murder of Heather Spencer:

Ethics Commission Opinion

Previous Posts on this subject:
Greenwood Commonwealth Editorial
Clarion-Ledger Editorial on Ethics Commission ruling and Kingfish
Kingfish requests opinion from Ethics Commission
Jackson denies Kingfish's request for police incident reports


Anonymous said...

Great work Kingfish. I love how they redacted so much information you can hardly tell that its the incident report for the Spencer murder -- we are sure that its that incident report, right? I mean, they did send you the right thing ...

Tom Head said...

Gah. Unbelievable.

Either they're planning to prosecute Bell after all, or they screwed up in such a spectacular way that they don't want to make it public.

Tom Head said...

(Er, Bell as in Robbie Bell. I realize the other Bell has already been prosecuted and convicted and sentenced, JPD's statement to the contrary notwithstading.)

Anonymous said...

The attitude by Melton, McMillin, SORE and others installed in City Hall that led to redacting the report to uselessness is no different than that of the backers who crucified Harvey Johnson and vaulted Melton into office.

Those backers, by-and-large downtown development interests and Fondrenites, don't want any public scrutiny of their activities. They want a pliant puppet to high ball their projects through the process.

Those are the same interests that used their crime watchdog front organization, SafeCity, for plausible deniability to bring you SB2991 -- that landmark piece of racist legislation to intimidate black men into staying out of downtown Jackson and Fondren by threatening next-to lifetime incarceration for arrests inside the Jackson green zone. Who can forget SB2991 and the conveniently jiggered boundaries that made any number of inexplicable jogs and turns in order to encompass each of the Melton backer's pet developments.

In the case of Robbie Bell what you have Kingfish is a coverup. The levers have been pulled, the phone calls placed and the secret handshakes made to hide Robbie Bell's reckless participation in Heather Spencer's death. The good ol' boy network at its finest to keep one of their members out of jail.

The same network that has made the JFP an associate member.

Good luck KF. But this city is corrupt to the core.

Kingfish said...

Just curious. Where was Safecity on the fight in the legislature this year over police reports?

Anonymous said...

Is there anything else you can do to get the full report, or is this it?

Anonymous said...

The silence from the JFP on Kingfish's FOI battle with Jackson and Ethics Commission victory emotes a whole vineyard full of sour grapes on the part of Ladd. The effort is a bigger accomplishment than anything the JFP has done in 7 years on opening public records. But Ladd sits pouting in the corner refusing to report. Talk has always been cheap at the JFP, now it is a f'ing bargain.

Kingfish said...

Things to note on the report:

1. Only George Bell's name is mentioned. The names of Elizabeth Hall, Heather Spencer, James Bell, and Robbie Bell are all blacked out.

2. The address of the Trawick home is blacked out in the narrative.

3. Bell's birthdate isredacted.

4. Only the BP station incident is mentioned and that Bell held a gun to his head. Never mentions Robbie Bell is in the car with him.

5. Confirms the rumor being true that cops were flagged down by Ms. Hall and Mr. Bell (James) by Highland Village.

Kingfish said...

I understand why some of you are directing the comments towards the JFP and agree with most of them but right now, the anger needs to be directed at JPD and the attorneys for the City of Jackson, Sarah O'Reilly-Evans and Monica Joiner, who are responsible for this. Feel free to call your councilman as well as Melton's office.

This report's redaction and the refusal to comply with the opinion directing that the city release the report on the kidnapping was a slap in the face to everyone.

Anonymous said...

I understand why some of you are directing the comments towards the JFP and agree with most of them but right now, the anger needs to be directed at JPD and the attorneys for the City of Jackson, Sarah O'Reilly-Evans and Monica Joiner, who are responsible for this.

What? Do you think we can't multi-task? Do you believe that support from the JFP wouldn't somehow be additive for the public good?

Feel free to call your councilman as well as Melton's office.

You might as well ask us to go waste our time.

Anonymous said...

It is clear the redacted report is covering up a lot of arcane details. Especially when reminded of the suspicious legal maneuvering which took place a couple of months before Heather was brutally murdered. She endured a beating which resulted in over 52 staples in her head.
Look at the timeline regarding the charges of the Heather’s attack in June.
June 7th charges were upgraded to a felony domestic violence charge
June 12th charges were reduced to a misdemeanor by a JPD detective
August 10th an attempt was made to dismiss the charges all together
During this timeframe George Bell III was in a treatment facility (although was never arrested for the June domestic violence charges). Was he still a fugitive when he retuned back to Jackson from rehab?
The “accessory charges” were expeditiously dropped after George plead guilty to Capital Murder and Kidnapping her roommate. In addition to this document being overly redacted, it clearly reveals someone else was contacted, in lieu of the authorities. Northside and Old Canton Road?

Kingfish said...

The northside drive and Old canton road note, there is a reasonable explanation for it. Forgive me for not revealing it now but no conspiracy on that minor fact.

George was a fugitive when he returned to Jackson.

The DA could still prosecute Ms. Bell for aiding and abetting a fugitive. How did he wind up at that treatment center? Who paid for it? She had a party for him at her house the night after he returned. She knew about it. But expecting justice from the DA on this case is hopeless.

Anonymous said...

One call that's all - Heather would still be alive.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Melton and Danks arriving at the standoff. Pretty suspicious. So Tom Royal's called Danks and he called Melton? How many strings did the Bell's pull? Wonder what time the attorney's were retained...Who was called to Trawick Drive(instead of authorities)??? Who saved the roommate?

Anonymous said...

So when, if at all, can you get us more information Kingfish? If you can't reveal what you know, can you reveal why not?

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel


Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS