Senatobia Police Chief speaks out about recent firing of officer, misconduct investigation

SENATOBIA, Miss. -- The Senatobia Police Chief is speaking out about the recent firing of one of their officers.

Officer Arthur Avant was fired in December and is being investigated for misconduct by the Tate County Sheriff’s Office.

He’s being accused of having inappropriate contact with minors.

Senatobia Police Chief Steve Holts said he learned about the investigation of former officer Avant as soon as we did. That was when Avant was fired by the Board of Alderman in December.

He was a court bailiff and D.A.R.E. officer where he taught at schools.

Chief Holts said Avant was with the department for about 20 years and besides these recent allegations, his employee record shows one personnel issue from 2010.

Three victims have accused him of having inappropriate contact with them when they were under 18. One said he sent indecent pictures of himself to someone underage.

In an off-camera interview, Chief Holts said he found out about the investigation when the board fired him.

He said in June 2016, an ex-girlfriend of Avant came to the Senatobia Police Department to file a complaint about him on behalf of herself and possibly another person.

They told the woman she needed to fill out a form.

Chief Holts said the woman never brought the form back or got back in touch with police.

Had she, they would’ve turned the investigation over to the Tate County Sheriff’s Office, where it ended up.

WREG found out Avant was recently hired as a deputy for the Tunica County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff said he didn’t know Avant was being investigated by the Tate County Sheriff’s Office for misconduct when he hired him.

We asked the Chief Holts why he didn’t tell him about the investigation. He said it was because he didn’t want to spread rumors since they’re only accusations at this point.

Tate County is continuing the investigation and Avant’s new employer at the Tunica County Sheriff’s Office will decide his fate when it wraps up.

The Chief didn’t want to comment on whether he thought the Senatobia Board Of Alderman made the right decision in firing Avant.

He said he doesn’t have any information about the investigation or why Assistant Police Chief Robert Brownlee was let go at the same time as Avant.