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‘I can’t breathe’ Jackson Mississippi cop placed on leave for placing hands around black suspect’s neck

Jackson Police Offcer Myron Smith
Pictured, Jackson Police Officer Myron Smith and suspect.
Jackson Police Offcer Myron Smith
Pictured, Jackson Police Officer Myron Smith and suspect.

Jackson Police Officer Myron Smith of Mississippi placed on administrative leave after video shows him wrapping his hands around suspect’s neck and refusing to relent.

And it continues…

Video has surfaced showing a Mississippi police officer rough-housing a suspect, wrapping his hands around the young man’s neck as onlookers try to get him to stop.

In the footage from 4.30pm on Friday, a woman standing nearby is heard pleading with the officer to let go, saying: ‘He’s not breathing. He’s not breathing.’

The Jackson Police Department officer in the clip was placed on administrative leave Monday after the incident circulated on social media. Public information officer Sam Brown identified the patrol man in the video as Myron Smith, the Jackson Free Press reported.

The video was filmed outside the Beauty Zone and 88 Cent stores on Bailey Road in Jackson.

Meanwhile in West Jackson 😩😫😩😫😩 we really need more officers! These guys are over worked & don’t have adequate back up!

Posted by Big Mama's Bail Bonding on Friday, May 22, 2020

‘Let me go’: ‘Make me. Make me. I said make me,’

It remained unknown what sparked the action from the law enforcement officer, as Smith stood over the young man, very close to his face, bending him backward onto the top of the car, holding him down by the neck and preventing his movement.

‘What did I tell you to do, what did I tell you to do? When I told you to leave, what are you out here doing?’ Smith is heard shouting in the video.

The young man struggled to break off the hold, but was overpowered by the officer who kept shouting at him and making a scene on the road.

At one point the suspect pleads to be let go.

‘Make me. Make me. I said make me,’ Smith can be heard screaming at the suspect. 

The suspect continues to struggle as the officer now grabs his head and bends him over. 

‘Get off me! I said get off me!’ the suspect screams. 

‘I’m not even choking him,’ Smith replies, aware he is being observed by onlookers. 

Another woman is heard yelling from afar: ‘He’s shaking sir! He can’t breathe.’ 

The young suspect is seen pointing at his throat several times.

But the officer says: ‘My hands are not even on your throat’. 

At this point his fingers are on the back of his neck and at least one of his thumbs pressed into the suspect’s jaw.

The officer continues: ‘You’re trying to get bad with me?… I’m not the one.’

Jackson Police Officer Myron Smith
Jackson Police Officer Myron Smith

Public trust and safety a new low

Smith then tells onlookers to ‘leave’ and ‘go on about your business’ before the recording ends.

It’s unclear whether the man was resisting at any point during the encounter but JPD Chief James Davis told the Clarion Ledger ‘they were in a struggle, a scuffle’.

The department is conducting an internal investigation into the incident. The suspect has not been identified by police.

No arrest was made during the incident however a report was written up, the chief said.

The department is not jailing misdemeanor suspects due to the coronavirus outbreak.

‘After being made aware of a video that has surfaced of a Jackson police officer in a confrontation with an individual, the officer involved has been placed under administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation,’ Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said in a statement about the video.

‘This administration is clear that we are trying to build an approach to public safety that is about trust, collaboration, and integrity. Any actions that do not reflect those principles have no place in the City of Jackson.’