In a report given to WLBT anonymously, Jackson police officer Mike Braxton details a profanity-laced tirade by Mayor Frank Melton about Braxton. It happened this summer as the mayor rounded up young people to take to his home for swimming and food. Melton denies parts of the report.
“I didn’t say anything to him,” Melton told WLBT.
“We’ve got a real problem here, Howard,” he said. “First of all, you’re not supposed to have that report, and we’re doing an internal investigation on that. The other thing is that this allegedly happened in July and now it is in November, and it’s just coming up while I’m dealing with all these other issues with the police department. I smell a rat.”
As for Officer Braxton, Melton does not see a future for him in the Jackson Police Department.
“We were just trying to get some help, just to transport the kids, and that’s when this officer drove up and rolled his eyes at me,” he said. “And I am going to terminate him.”
“If a police officer is going to roll his eyes at the mayor of this city, I wonder what he’s doing to our everyday citizens,” Melton said. “We did call his sergeant, and the sergeant said that was his normal behavior. Well, that behavior is very unacceptable to this administration, and he needs to go.”
On October 20, Precinct-2 commander Lee Vance acknowledged a complaint had been filed by one of his officers against the mayor, but Vance said he could not give details and did not want to express a personal opinion on the matter.
“I would just say that I am very concerned about my officers,” Vance said in the interview. “If something happens to them, it happens to me, and I want to make sure that they get treated fairly by the citizens and the administration.”
Former Jackson Police Chief Robert Johnson said, “Obviously, it’s inappropriate for any superior — whether it’s police chief or mayor or even a command officer — to deneirate a patrol officer on what is perceived to be a slight.”
Johnson is on the Board of Directors of the local crime watchdog group Safecity. The veteran lawman says he is getting calls from colleagues across the nation wondering what’s wrong with Mississippi’s largest police department.
Johnson says he tells them, “There’s a void of leadership and that the department is without a plan or committment or a direction and it’s only going to get worse.”
“I’m not going to respond to Chief Johnson on that, because I think his day is gone and he needs to go somewhere and just move on with his life,” said Melton. “I think it’s very inappropriate he would criticize me or the current police chief.”
Chief Shirlene Anderson was not available for comment.