Authorities investigating claim Ripley officer called man racial slur, threatened to kill him

RIPLEY, Tenn. — The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Wednesday it's investigating a claim that a Ripley police officer called a man the N-word and threatened to kill him.

Rodney Mitchell Jr. claims the uniformed officer approached him in a marked patrol car outside the Dollar Tree on Highway 51 Sunday afternoon.

“He was like, ‘[n-word], roll your window down,’” Mitchell recounted.

Once Mitchell rolled down his window, he claims the officer threatened his life.

“He said, ’[n-word], if you say something else to my wife again or run up on me, [n-word], I will kill you,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said he’d never met the officer before in his life, but days earlier got into an argument with a woman in a neighboring town.

Looking back, Mitchell said he thinks that woman might have been the officer’s wife.

“Man, I was terrified,” Mitchell said. “I just looked at him, told him, ‘Alright man, you can have it.’ You know, he’s got a gun, he’s an officer, so I just told him he can have it.”

The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department told WREG it couldn’t comment on the allegations since they’re part of an ongoing investigation.

The Ripley police chief told WREG he wasn’t aware of the allegations until WREG called him.

“It really did frighten me and I’ve been kind of nervous ever since it happened,” said Delphine Tyus, Mitchell’s grandmother.

“Nobody knows what he’ll do and then just to think he’s on this police force,” she said.

It’s part of the reason Mitchell said he took his concerns to the sheriff’s department and not to Ripley police.

“I don’t know if he in the car with a gun and ready to kill me or what,” Mitchell said.