(Tunica, MS) Allegations of corruption and abuse of power have sparked a call for an investigation of the Tunica County Sheriff.
Tunica isn’t rolling in dough like it used to and that’s forced the county administrator to suggest cuts to the sheriff’s budget, along with other departments.
When deputies arrested the county administrator recently, it had a lot of folks wondering if the sheriff was taking cuts to his department a little too personally.
“I’m pretty sure there were some infractions for an officer to pull over Mr. Michael Thompson,” Tunica Sheriff KC Hamp said.
Sheriff Hamp refused to tell WREG why his deputies pulled over Thompson Wednesday night in Tunica.
“There’s nothing special about Michael Thompson’s case than any other citizen,” Hamp said.
But Tunica County Attorney Ellis Pittman tells us there were actually two traffic stops that night.
“The county comptroller was driving the vehicle and he was stopped on the basis the vehicle was swerving. They checked and ran his license and the information was is there is something wrong with his license. It wasn’t suspended, but there was a problem and they needed to let the other guy drive,” Pittman said.
That other guy was Tunica County Administrator Michael Thompson.
Pittman said minutes later he was pulled over and deputies claimed they forgot to check his license.
Thompson was arrested for driving on a suspended license.
Court documents obtained by WREG show he failed to show up to court in Montgomery County, MS over a speeding ticket.
So deputies arrested him for driving while his license was suspended and held him at the county jail, claiming there was a warrant for him in Montgomery County.
The sheriff’s office even issued a news release saying the same thing.
But WREG learned there was no warrant.
“They called and asked me if there was a warrant and I told them ‘no,’” Montgomery County Clerk Karen Carter told WREG. “They wanted to know if we wanted to get one and send it to them.”
Reporter: “Did your department ask for a warrant to be signed that night?”
Sheriff: “That is true, but the case is ongoing.”
Pittman said he called the sheriff’s office that night.
“I said ‘do you have a warrant on him? No, we don’t have that, but it’s in the system.’ I said ‘you need to call and get them to fax you a warrant you need a warrant in hand.’ If they had just listened we wouldn’t be here,” Pittman said.
Now the county board of supervisors has asked for two outside agencies to investigate the incident.
Pittman believes the whole mess could have been avoided.
“I wish he would just say ‘look, I jumped the gun. I was upset. My emotions got the best of me. I’ll apologize for Mr. Thompson’ and move on,” Pittman said.
Right now the sheriff stands by his department’s decision and he said this arrest was not personal.
He did not release any arresting documents to WREG.