Attorney General Lynn Fitch has dropped charges against a former Columbus, Mississippi, police officer in the death of Ricky Ball in October 2015.
Former officer Canyon Boykin was arrested and charged with manslaughter in September 2016 following former Attorney General Jim Hood’s presenting the case to a grand jury which resulted in an indictment.
Boykin was working a traffic stop when Ball, a passenger in the vehicle, fled on foot. The former officer said he drew his weapon and fired after Ball appeared to point a gun at him. A handgun was recovered at the scene near the body.
In a statement released to Y’all Politics, a spokesperson for the Attorney General said, “The Attorney General’s Office did a thorough and independent review of the thousands of documents in this case file and concluded that there is not evidence on which to prosecute the case against Officer Boykin. In fact, all evidence, including forensics and the sworn statements of four separate MBI investigators, points to necessary self-defense.”
Boykin was fired following the incident for not following procedure failing to turn on his body camera and for off-color social media posts. He then filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the city for violating his First Amendment rights and due process. That case was settled in September 2017 for an undisclosed amount.
The incident raised tensions within the black community and gave rise to protests in Columbus as Ball was black and Boykin, the former police officer, was white fueled by the social media posts that came to light.
This announcement comes during a time when tensions within the black community are once again raised nationally as a white police officer in Minneapolis caused the death of a black man following an arrest. While no evidence of racism has been presented, riots, looting and arson have ensued in the Minnesota city with that narrative as a backdrop.
State Rep. Zakiya Summers called AG Fitch’s decision to drop the charges against Boykin “appalling,” adding, “No transparency. No justice,” in a tweet.
This is appalling. No transparency. No justice.
AG's Office drops manslaughter charges against Boykin in Ricky Ball case https://t.co/xmHdbZAhi1
— Zakiya Summers (@RepZSummers) May 29, 2020
State Rep. Chris Bell shared Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” Friday morning on social media.
— Rep. Chris Bell (@MSRepChrisBell) May 29, 2020