Group calls for video to be released showing fatal shooting of Mississippi man at hands of deputy

Published 1:08 pm Wednesday, January 27, 2021

A group of protesters gathered in front of a Mississippi courthouse demanding to see video of a deputy’s fatal shooting of a man he said was threatening him with a knife.

About 50 people including friends and family of the slain man demonstrated on Tuesday outside the Harrison County Courthouse in Biloxi calling for authorities to release video of the encounter.

Officials did not immediately say whether they would consider releasing the officer’s body-camera video. The state Public Records Act includes a broad exemption for investigative reports of law enforcement agencies, but the law does not specifically mention public access to police body camera recordings, and departmental policies vary around Mississippi.

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The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation said a Harrison County deputy responded on Jan. 15 to a disturbance outside the courthouse and confronted Reginald Johnson, 48. Investigators said Johnson was shot as he moved toward the deputy with a knife, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The deputy was treated at a hospital and released, officials said. He was not identified and his injuries were not detailed.

Demonstrators chanted “No justice, no peace” and “Release that tape” during Tuesday’s demonstration, The Sun Herald reported.

D’Laun Ball, who coordinated the event through the organization Protest for Peace, told WLOX-TV that city leaders need to reform policing and increase transparency.

”We need better police training,” Ball said. “We need better support from our city officials. And we need people who are not so far removed from our community to speak for us.”