Judge, sheriff issue statement in Madison County consent decree

By NIKKI ROWELL,

On October 9, Judge Carlton Reeves entered an Order approving the Consent Decree in Brown v. Madison County, a lawsuit brought by the law firm Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Mississippi and the ACLU, which alleged racially motivated policing by the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.

The following statement was released by Joshua Tom, Legal Director and Interim Director of the ACLU of Mississippi:

“We thank Judge Reeves for approving the Consent Decree that was created to ensure fair and equitable policing throughout Madison County by the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. In his Order, Judge Reeves expressed concern over Madison County Board of Supervisor President Trey Baxter’s statements, which suggested an inadequate commitment to the Consent Decree.

Judge Reeves continued, ‘It is the Court’s hope that the parties do not merely ‘go along’ with the Consent Decree in the short-term interest of settling a lawsuit but commit with sincerity to its stated principle to ‘recognize the importance of the rights protected by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.’ Otherwise, the life of this Consent Decree may be extended beyond four years.’

“We share the Court’s hope and look forward to our role monitoring and enforcing the agreement along with our co-counsel at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett and the ACLU and the residents of Madison County.”

On October 3, Sheriff Randy Tucker issued the following statement:

“After almost three years, I can tell you that we have settled the ACLU lawsuit. Numerous depositions were taken of department employees, thousands of reports and other documents were provided and man hours lost that could have and should have been utilized protecting the citizens of Madison County. We successfully defended the plaintiffs attempt to make this a class action in the first complaint.

“The loss of services to our citizens and cost of defending a second complaint was the deciding factor in this settlement. In order to settle the complaint, we have agreed to document more information that I feel will further show that this administration does not target or profile any race.

“We will update policies regarding certain areas of enforcement to conform to our actual practices that have always been in place. We have also agreed to restart our community advisory boards which I implemented when I first took office so that we can share this information with them and receive feedback from them in order to provide the best possible law enforcement product based on hard work, integrity and professionalism. The Madison County Sheriff’s Department will continue to serve all citizens of Madison County through leadership and accountability as we always have.”

Click here to read the settlement: https://www.northsidesun.com/sites/default/files/Madison%20Consent%20Dec...

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