Mississippi police chief responds to call for resignations over handling of shooting at Fed Ex Driver: ‘I’m not going anywhere’

Published 3:12 pm Tuesday, February 8, 2022

On Saturday, the Brookhaven NAACP and the family of FedEx driver Demonterrio Gibson called for the resignation of Brookhaven’s mayor, chief of police and others.

Local NAACP President Rev. Rico Cain made the statement after the close of a brief press conference Saturday afternoon on the steps of the Lincoln County-Brookhaven Governmental Complex.

Referring to the events of Jan. 24 when father and son Brookhaven residents Gregory and Brandon Case attempted to detain and fired gunshots at Gibson as he left their property, Cain said, “The victim’s family and the Brookhaven NAACP are asking for the resignations of Police Chief Kenneth Collins, Mayor Joe Cox, lead investigator (Det. Capt.) Clint Earls, investigator (Det. Sgt.) Vincent Fernando and Assistant Chief Chris Case.”

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“I’m not going anywhere until God makes that decision,” Chief Collins said Monday. “That’s between me and God. Until God calls me I’m not worried about what anybody says.”

Friday, Mayor Cox issued the following statement on the case: “The suspects have been arrested and this matter is now in the judicial system. The Brookhaven Police Department, along with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and federal agencies, will continue to investigate this matter. It would be inappropriate to further comment at this time on an ongoing investigation.”

Cain said Saturday that incidents of racism have happened in the city “over and over again” and “some of those problems have been involving the Brookhaven Police Department.”

Cain was the only person present for the NAACP-called press conference, though state and national NAACP leaders were expected to attend, along with Rev. Al Sharpton, members and leaders of the Blank Panthers, and Gibson and his attorney Carlos Moore of The Cochran Firm.

Cain said the anticipated large presence of law enforcement at today’s conference — more than a dozen at the complex and more visible in the downtown area — and throughout the city led others to reschedule the conference to another date in the interest of public safety.

“We’ve had some people to actually canvas the grounds for the last couple of hours, doing different counts in different areas of law enforcement here in Brookhaven the last little while, and the police officers you see now, and law enforcement officers you see now are not the only ones,” Cain said. “There are many more on standby all around different corners, different buildings, waiting for something to construe. But we would not be here today if it was not for the slackness of the police department.”

Cain said many citizens of Brookhaven would love to tell their stories about how they have been affected by racism in the city. These people chose not to be present at the conference, however, due to fear they “would be penalized at some other time,” he said.

“We are going to continue to protect the citizens of this community and our town and any group that comes to Brookhaven needs to know we will have law enforcement present,” Collins said Monday. “It’s for their safety and everyone’s safety. That’s our job.”

The real issue, Cain said at the conference, is that both black and white people in Brookhaven feel that had the FedEx driver been black and the shooter been black, the results would have been different.

Gibson, 24, had delivered a package to the incorrect address and retrieved it from the Junior Trail NE residence of the one of Cases, Cain said, when Gregory Case, 58, attempted to block his truck from leaving by using his own vehicle, and Brandon Case, 35, stood in the road with a firearm. When Gibson pulled past both of the men, they pursued him as far as I-55, with the younger case shooting repeatedly into the vehicle.

“The consequences would have been greater than what they are now,” he said.

He said these people feel the only reason the Cases turned themselves in was out of fear of retaliation.

Gregory Case was charged with conspiracy and released on a $75,000 bond. Brandon Case was charged with aggravated assault/shooting into an occupied motor vehicle and released on a $150,000 bond.

Gibson’s attorney Moore said Friday that hate crime charges are warranted for the cases, and he wants “both of them charged with attempted murder.”

“We’ve done our job. We’ve done everything that a law enforcement agency is supposed to do,” Chief Collins said Monday. “The FBI is now looking into this case to see if it measures up to be a hate crime. They are now involved in it and taking an active role in this case.”