Stop by Sardis PD concerns citizen 11/11/2014

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Stop by Sardis PD concerns citizen

By Rupert Howell
The mood in the Sardis board room Monday night shifted quickly from optimism to concern when the new Walmart manager’s introduction and promise of jobs was followed by Ederick Kearney’s claim of harassment and humiliation during a late night traffic stop a few nights earlier.

“This harassment needs to stop,” Kearney told the Sardis board of mayor and aldermen.

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“I was humiliated. I just came in from church services and was stopped and given a breathalyzer test then a field sobriety test that I passed,” said the former policemen and current minister.

Kearney admitted to having an expired tag but said after passing the sobriety test and offering to take a blood test to prove he was not impaired, said he was detained and forced to call someone to come and get him.

When a driver got there to assist him, he was told just to follow Kearney home, according to Kearney.
Kearney said the police chief has offered to discuss the matter with him.

Chief Chris Martin did not respond to Kearney’s complaints and the officer was not named during Kearney’s time before the board.

In other Sardis business during the November meeting, Alderman-at-large Roy Scallorn again broached the subject of the town acquiring the free services of a police dog through a staff member who already had a trained dog available.

Scallorn said since his original discussion, he had come across, “A lot of people that are not interested or who have a lot of concerns.”

Scallorn told the board they could discuss it further if they wished, “but if not, I will not continue to bring it up.”

Mayor Billy Russell brought up the issue of bow hunting within the city limits of Sardis, noting that some citizens had complained of deer eating flowers and gardens. He presented a thick copy of a law passed by the City of Oxford, stating he expected no action on the issue, but only wanted to familiarize the board with it.

Board members voted to use “Professional Probation Services” to collect payment of fines in Sardis Municipal Court following a recommendation by law enforcement and City Judge Rhea Tannihill.

Panola County Justice Court and several other area courts are using the service that also offers the option for offenders to pay fines on credit and debit cards.

Sardis board members also voted to allow a special exception to allow the historic Heflin House, currently zoned residential, to operate a bed and breakfast.

Other action included approving the clean up of unsightly lots and having attorney Tommy Shuler write a letter to an out-of-state owner of property on Pocahantas Street that needs to be torn down.

Officials noted that if the city provides the labor or hires the demolition done, approximately $2,500 in asbestos removal cost will result. Although that amount could be placed against the property on a tax lien, officials felt the property would be taxed above its worth. An asbestos survey has already been done on the structure.

Officials agreed to update building codes similar to what has been approved by Panola County and the City of Batesville. Both of those entities exempted some items in the 2012 International Building Code, but Bubba McDowell, who assists the city with code enforcement, recommended leaving the code as is and making exceptions on a case-by-case basis.