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Covington County man sues sheriff's department

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In the wake of a settlement in a case in which two former Laurel police officers were accused of beating a black man, the Jones County Sheriff’s Office is facing allegations that one of its deputies committed brutality against a black man.

Ricky Dunn of Covington County is suing Jones County and Sheriff’s Deputy Brennon Chancellor over claims that Chancellor violated his constitutional rights and hit him in the face multiple times with a flashlight “unprovoked,” according to a lawsuit filed by Collins attorney Corey Gibson. The lawsuit cites six alleged violations of Dunn’s rights, including fabrication and misinterpretation of evidence and the county’s failure to train and supervise its officers.

“Jones County had wholly failed to train its officers, including Chancellor, regarding the use of force,” the file states, and in a different section: “The Defendant’s actions were in bad faith and were intended and designed to punish Plaintiff.”

The lawsuit, filed earlier this month, alleges Chancellor conducted an unlawful search and seizure leading up to the beating. It also alleges false imprisonment, claiming Dunn’s arrest, beating and confinement were unconstitutional. 

Dunn is seeking unspecified compensation for emotional distress, suffering, loss of reputation, humiliation and more.

The incident is alleged to have occurred within the span of minutes, or even less.

According to the suit, on April 20, Dunn was sitting in his parked truck due to his homelessness when Chancellor and another deputy approached. Chancellor shined a bright flashlight in Dunn’s eyes, whereupon Dunn asked if the officer could lower it.

Chancellor ordered Dunn to exit the vehicle. Dunn asked why he was being accosted. Chancellor then struck Dunn with the flashlight, inflicting lacerations on the face.

Chancellor and his unidentified partner began “assaulting and pulling Dunn” from the truck. When Dunn continued to ask what he’d done wrong, the officers gave no reasonable response. Dunn was booked and charged with DUI and resisting arrest, charges he is contesting.

No hearings have been scheduled for the case.

Attorneys offices and the Jones County Sheriff’s Office were not available to comment on the location of Dunn’s alleged attack or whether Chancellor is still employed.

A lawsuit is only one side of a legal argument.

Separately, a former Laurel police officer who was fired last year for accusations of beating a black man recently shot and killed a woman on his property after she reportedly tried to steal his wife’s car. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation was reportedly involved in the case.

Ridgeland Attorney Dow Yoder filed a lawsuit against the officers Wade Robertson and Bryce Gilbert last year after a high-speed pursuit ended with the beating of James Barnett. Yoder claimed “racial discrimination” and the “violation of civil rights” in the lawsuit.

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