Protest avoided; chief pledges to help family get answers

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

A family’s attempt Friday to protest a loved one’s arrest on analleged probation violation was averted before it started,Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson said.

Henderson said the group was trying to get a permit to protestthe early March arrest of Jason Anderson by Mississippi Departmentof Corrections officers. A permit would have required thesignatures of Henderson and Mayor Bob Massengill. The chief,instead, said he would assist the family look into their claim thatmore than $1,100 disappeared following Anderson’s arrest.

“I assured them I’d help them get the answers they were lookingfor,” Henderson said.

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Henderson said the family seemed to be understanding and tore upa protest sign they had prepared for the occasion.

“I appreciate them and respect them for doing that,” Hendersonsaid.

Xina Barnes, Anderson’s aunt, said MDOC officers arrestedAnderson March 2 at his girlfriend’s home on a probation violationcharge. Barnes said she knew of no reason for her nephew’s arrestother than a failed drug test in September.

“That was several months ago,” she said.

Also of concern to the family is $1,150 that Anderson, who wason probation following a drug conviction, had when he wasarrested.

“The money’s now missing,” Barnes said.

When contacted about the family’s concerns, MDOC ProbationOfficer John Purser said Anderson is subject to rules of probationlike anyone else.

“He’s got conditions he’s got to abide by,” Purser said. “If hebreaks those, he has to see the judge.”

Purser said he could not discuss the specifics of the allegedviolations. He said the information would be presented in courtduring a hearing, which has not yet been set.

Purser had no comment regarding the missing money.

Henderson said an investigation into the missing funds is beingconducted by the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

Since an agent from his department was present during thearrest, Henderson requested an independent party conduct the probe.It is still ongoing, he said.

Regarding Friday’s incident, Henderson indicated it was notnecessary for the family to attempt a protest.

“I feel they can get the answers they need by other ways thandoing that,” Henderson said.