"The men and women who go out every day to protect us, the men and women who go out every day to make sure that we're safe, they were turned on (Saturday) night," stated Mayor Johnnie DuPree.
Officer Benjamin Deen, 34 and rookie Officer Liqouri Tate, 25, made what started as a routine traffic stop in Hattiesburg MS during the evening of May 9 2015. Two residents, Tamika Mills and Pearnell Roberts were driving down Fourth St when they noticed what they described as a bunch of lights. One of them noticed what she thought was someone lying on the ground and they turned the car around to investigate.
They found one officer down and noticed a second one moving on the ground nearby. That officer was gravely wounded and stated "Am I dying? I know I'm dying. Just hand me my walkie-talkie." Mills and Pearnell called 911 to report that the officers had been shot and were down. Both officers were transported to Forrest general Hospital where they were pronounced dead.
The police state that one of the pair of officers had stopped a 2000 Gold Cadillac Escalade at about 8:30 pm and the second officer had arrived to assist on the call. The shots rang out after the second officer had arrived on the scene. One of the police cars had been stolen and used as a getaway car after the shooting. The residents were warned to stay inside while they searched for whoever was responsible for the shootings.
The hunt for the suspects was very brief and they have all three people they believe are responsible in custody now with no resistance. Marvin Banks, 29, was arrested by police at 1 am at the Northgate Inn Hotel nearby and the Hyundai he was driving with retired Army plates was towed from the scene. His brother Curtis Banks, 26, was arrested at the Plantation Place apartment complex at around 3 am and police report that both of the banks brothers lived close to where the shooting took place. Curtis's only statement then was that he had not shot the officers. Marvin's girlfriend, Joanie Calloway, 22, was also arrested overnight since she had been riding in the car when the shooting happened.
|Curtis Banks & Marvin Banks|
|Curtis Banks arrested|
Marvin and Calloway have both been charged with two counts of capital murder, Marvin is also charged with one count of grand theft auto for fleeing in the stolen police car and one one count of a felon being in possession of a firearm. His brother Curtis has been charged with two counts of accessory after the fact so far. The police did not report if there would be other charges added yet. They did state that both men have multiple arrests for weapons and guns charges in the past and they both have felony convictions but they did elaborate on those convictions.
Officer Tate had only been an officer for less than one year and had been excited to announce when he had graduated from the police academy in June of 2014. Officer Deen was a decorated K-9 officer who had been named the city's Officer of the Year in 2012. Officer Tate was unmarried but Officer Deen was and leaves behind a wife and two children, a 9 year old son and a 13 year old daughter. Their deaths are the first in the past three decades for the town of Hattiesburg MS, the last officer to be killed was Officer Jackie Dole Sherrill who was killed on Dec 31 1984 while she was serving a felony warrant. She was also the first female officer to serve in their department. The families of both Deen and Tate have stated that being a police officer had been lifelong dreams for the two of them.
|Officer Jackie Dole Sherrill|
|Officer Deen and his K-9 Tomi|
We have just buried another young officer whose lifelong dream was to be a police officer in New York City. Today is Mother's Day and two mothers will be without their sons because they were killed doing their jobs. There were no mass protests when Officer Brian Moore, 25 was shot and killed by Demetrius Blackwell, 35, in NYC NY. Thousands of officers came to attend his funeral but there was no representative from the White House attending.
President Obama did send representatives from the White House to the funeral of Michael Brown in MO and has "honored" Freddie Gray and always manages to get Trayvon Martin's name into speeches about young black men dying at the hands of the police. Somewhere along the line our administration and a large portion of the public has lost sight of who we really should be worried about.
Michael Brown had just robbed a store and minutes later wrestled an officer for his gun. Freddie Gray had a long history of arrests and Trayvon was not killed by a police officer. Trayvon was killed by a hispanic civilian while he tried to pound that man's head into the concrete. Blackwell had already served 8 years in prison for an attempted murder conviction in 2000 and yet when the news stories point to the "plight" of the poor black young men who are dying at the hands of the police, they skip right past the point of criminals returning to the streets to continue breaking the law.
The riots in Baltimore have seemingly been put on hold by the rush to charge the officers who are being charged with Gray's death. The crowds insist that they are trying to protest the police brutality that exists in their cities but once the identities of the officers were released, the protests died. Three of the officers charged are black and the officer charged with the most serious charge for driving the van is black. It seems very strange that the protests died that suddenly. There were protests in NYC in support of Freddie Gray but there were none in support of Officer Moore who died at the hands of a black repeat criminal.
The nation is again having to face the deaths of two young officers who lost their lives to criminals while they were doing their job. I doubt that there will even be a protest and I also doubt that President Obama will even mention their deaths. It is a shame to try and spin police brutality as the reason behind the recent riots.............. they are criminals who do not care whether they kill people of any race.
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The police have arrested a fourth person connected to the shooting of officers Deen and Tate. Cornelius Clark was arrested later on Sunday and has been charged with obstruction of justice. There has been no statement yet as to what the possible motive for the shooting is but there has been more information released as to the criminal records of the Banks brothers.
Marvin Banks had been convicted of possession of stolen property in November 2010 and was sentenced to serve a year and a day for the conviction. That sentence was to be followed by four years of probation which was revoked and Marvin was back in jail until June 2012. He was released then with an earned release under supervision which ended in May 2014. Marvin and his brother Curtis were both charged with the sale of crack cocaine in July 2013 but there was no further report as to how the charges were handled.
Update May 11 2015:
Marvin Banks's mother has spoken out about her son and his arrest. Mary Smith states that she knows that he has been smoking synthetic marijuana, "spice" on a daily basis and that he has been hearing voices since he had been hit on the head with a pipe several years ago. Marvin and his six year old son live with his mother Mary and she works the night shift at a nursing home. She stated that she was resting before she went to work on Saturday when she received a phone call that told her there had been a shooting of two officers and that Marvin was involved. Soon after that she received a call from her son Curtis and he told her that he had nothing to do with the shooting and had been home in his apartment the whole time.
Smith went on to say that she believed that Marvin was probably high when he was arrested because he looked it in the pictures of him. She stated that Marvin had been attacked several years ago and hit with a pipe. He spent time in intensive care and Marvin began hearing voices after that. Katie Walmon, the mother of Marvin's son stated that Marvin had changed after the head injury and she thought it was the devil. Smith went on to say that she had tried to get Marvin to seek help for his drug addiction and mental problems but that he had refused to do so.
The preliminary report from the police states that Officer Deen had pulled over the vehicle that Marvin was in for speeding and he then called for back-up. Officer Tate arrived on the scene and the shooting then occurred. They have not released any details as to what they think happened before both officers were found shot and lying in the street. They did add that Marvin had stolen one of the police cruisers and managed to drive it only a few blocks before he abandoned it.
Smith complained that the police make it a habit of pulling young black men over, sometimes just to ask where they are going. She felt that something would happen eventually but she did not think that it would have involved either of her sons. The four that had been arrested all appeared in court today and the charges of capital murder against Calloway were reduced to accessory after the fact while the rest of the charges against the three have stayed the same.
In a related story, Sierra "C-Babi" McCurdy of Laurel MS was fired from her job at Subway after she posted comments praising the deaths of Officers Deen and Tate on her Facebook account. Twitter users not only reported the comments but stated that they were outraged by her comments in favor of the deaths. I applaud Subway for firing her because of the image it presents to consumers worldwide. A Facebook account is someone's place to state whatever they feel they want to say but if you think that you will not suffer the consequences for your actions there, you are very wrong.
What is outrageous is that Officer Tate is a young black man who graduated from South Pike High School, attended Southwest Community College, worked, applied to and graduated from the police academy all during a time when protests are demanding more "help" for black young men. There are numerous debates about how much the deck is stacked against those young men growing up and yet, Officer Tate beat those odds.
Officer Tate proved that you don't need to be given a dozen handouts and coddling to become a young man to be proud of. To read that a young black woman was praising his death at the hands of another black man is more than sickening....... it shows the depth of the real problem involving racism in the protests. It seems to begin with a very real dislike of anyone in authority.