Grand jury clears Mississippi police officer in fatal shooting of felony suspect

Published 4:51 pm Wednesday, October 2, 2019

A Mississippi grand jury has cleared a police officer in the fatal shooting of a felony suspect.

News outlets report a Jackson County Grand Jury on Tuesday found no criminal conduct on behalf of a Moss Point police officer in the Aug. 8 death of Toussaint Diamon Sims. The police department has not released the officer’s name.

The grand jury said in their report that they “engaged in a full and deliberate consideration of all the facts and circumstances surrounding” the shooting. They also noted that Sims was wanted on three felony and three misdemeanor charges, was running from police and had a “firearm with an extended magazine in his hands.”

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Sims led police on a chase from Pascagoula into Moss Point before he ditched the vehicle and ran. Moss Point Police Chief Brandon Ashley says during the foot pursuit, Sims displayed a firearm in a threatening manner, causing the officer to fire his weapon.

“I never had any doubt as I saw the video,” said Calvin Taylor, the officer’s attorney. “I have great confidence in grand juries.”

Footage from the body cam video showed a weapon found next to Sims after the shooting was a Taurus 9mm with an extended clip capable of firing 30 rounds of ammunition. The gun’s chamber also was loaded.

Taylor said early-on that his client’s actions were justified.

Brian Dunn, the chief attorney for the Sims’ family, said Sim’s family “is disappointed by the grand jury’s determination that the officer’s conduct did not rise to the level of criminal wrongdoing when he shot and killed him.”

“We will continue our pursuit of justice for the family which will include a civil lawsuit against the officer and Moss Point Police Department,” Dunn said. “Now that the grand jury process has concluded, we are hopeful that the body camera video at the center of this case will be released to the public. The community deserves to see for themselves the clear evidence in this case.”

Ashley called what happened “a tragic event.”

“I have confidence that the investigation was thorough and complete on behalf of MBI,” Ashley said Tuesday, adding that “the District Attorney’s Office presented every witness available who came forward.”

“I want to commend the community for having patience to allow this case to come to a resolution,” he continued. “It was a tragic event for all parties involved, but I knew from the beginning our officer acted in a justifiable manner in accordance with state law and Moss Point Police Department policy.”