Tunica County Administrator Arrested On Non-Existent Warrant

(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.

11 comments

  • LR

    Lies are spoken but truth will shine. Some people will not accept doing the right things and when someone else does they feel betrayed please let MR. THOMPSON DO HIS JOB.

  • Don

    This story contains some holes…1) why is Mr. Pittman representing Thompson? He is the attorney for the Board of Supervisors, not Tunica County 2) Why was Tunica County Justice Court Judge told by Montgomery County officials there was a warrant? 3) Does Thompson have a valid driver’s license? 4) Was the comptroller swerving if he was driving in the beginning? 5) Why has Thompson recommended cuts to all county departments when he is the highest paid employee in the county? No cuts to his salary

  • Waiting on the facts

    @Don, I’m certain you have your fact wrong about Attorney Pittman representing Mr. Thompson. The report never said that he was representing Mr. Thompson. I applaud Attorney Pittman for stating the facts. I believe that he was trying to stop the sheriff department from making a mistake by holding someone when they did not have a warrant. What I heard was he told the deputies that they need to have a copy of the warrant in hand and if they did not get it before taking action. The clerk in Montgomery county stated she told the sheriff department there was no warrant before they arrested Mr. Thompson.

    There was nothing wrong with the sheriff department arresting Mr. Thompson for driving with a suspended license. The wrong was not allowing him to post bail because they lied and said he had an outstanding warrant when they knew from speaking with the court clerk that the man did not have any warrants. The clerk said the sheriff department was trying to get them to issue a warrant and they said no.

    If the sheriff did not have an ax to grind he could have notified Mr. Thompson that his license were suspended as a professional curtesy and told him to get it taken care of. It was wrong for the sheriff department to stop the vehicle tell the other man that he could not drive and to let Mr. Thompson drive so that they could arrest him. Why did they let the other guy drive away after they arrested Mr. Thompson? This was a pure setup. They had no right to stop the vehicle agin if Mr. Thompson did not speed, serve, drive reckless or some equipment was defective.

  • Don

    The report says “Tunica County attorney Ellis Pittman” implying that he is representing Tunica County. He is the Board of Supervisors attorney. Again, why is he involved? If the vehicle was swerving, why is it ok not to stop it? Is it legal to drink and drive now. By your logic, it must also be ok to drive without a license. The report states that the man’s license was suspended and that “court documents show he had a failure to appear charge in Montgomery County.” Is he above the law? Also, none of my other questions were answered.

  • Kim

    Blaming the police is pathetic! What this report does not say is whether Thompson had a license. It says that he did have a failure to appear. Sounds to me as if someone was hired without a background check and now Tunica officials are looking for someone to pin their mistake on!

  • Taddeo

    “Tunica isn’t rolling in dough like it used to”

    Really? Say it isn’t so.

    It couldn’t be because regular slot players don’t like being told that their favorite slot machines have been replaced by gimmicky video games with reduced payouts.

    It couldn’t be from chintzy comps and an overall lack of the excitement caused by fewer people winning at any given time.

    I’m afraid corporate greed has infested even the casinos with an expected mediocrity Casinos were much better when they were privately, mostly Italian, owned and operated.

  • Liza

    1. Mr. Thompson is not the highest paid employee in Tunica County.
    2. The 10% departmental cut was approved by the Tunica County Board of Supervisors.
    3. Each department head is charged with reducing his/her expenses by 10%. This does not mean only cuts in salaries. What it does mean is look for ways to save money in your department. Some cuts might be salaries. Some cuts could be attrition. Maybe some smart department head would look for waste and duplication.

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