JACKSON, Ms. – An attorney for D’Monterrio Gibson, who FedEx driver who narrowly escaped a shooting on its route in Brookhaven, Miss., earlier this year alleges that the Brookhaven Police Department delayed the release of critical documents that enabled the increased charges against two Brookhaven men and failed to properly investigate the crime.
Carlos Moore, a managing partner in The Cochran Firm’s Mississippi Delta office and attorney for Gibson, spoke to the media at a press event Nov. 21 outside the Hinds County Courthouse. There he told the Mississippi Free Press that discussions with the Lincoln County District Attorney revealed a slow move toward a fair investigation for his client.
“We believe there has been a delay on the part of the Brookhaven Police Department,” Moore said, explaining that the Lincoln County District Attorney had been waiting for months for Brookhaven Police Department case files that would eventually allow a grand jury to hear Gregory’s case to charge and Brandon Case for the attempted murder of D’Monterrio Gibson.
“We think the investigation was shoddy,” Moore said. “It was hesitant. But at some point they had to face the whistler. At one point, the police department turned the case over to Lincoln County District Attorney Dee Bates. And when he got the file from the police department, he put it before the grand jury as soon as possible, he told me.”
This grand jury Returned charges for the father and the son last Friday. The two men are charged with attempted murder, shooting a motor vehicle and conspiracy. Both men had $500,000 in bail and both were found liable immediately after their arrest.
“If Gibson had known”
The new charges come many months after the first shootings in late January and the first charges against Gregory Case and Brandon Case. First, Brookhaven Police charged son Brandon with aggravated assault and his father Gregory with conspiracy.
“We asked for the fees to be increased, I think in April,” Moore said. Gibson himself signed an affidavit claiming the cases attempted to murder him. Still, “we had to wait until November for the grand jury to hear the evidence for an escalation of charges.”
“In a typical time frame,” he continued, “you would face charges in March or April. You would be in court now. Here we are almost 10 months later. … (District Attorney Dee Bates) believes the earliest this case can go to trial is May next year and may not go to trial until August 2023.”
Attorney Moore said the long wait for increased fees would not have happened if Gibson had been white. “Had Gibson been a white driver and had the cases been black…this grand jury would have met much sooner. That indictment could have come this spring,” he said.
While speaking to the media, Moore made allegations that the Brookhaven Police Department did not adequately investigate the shooting.
“You will learn that they took Mr. Gibson to the scene of the crime the next day to help them look for (bullet) cases. You will learn that the gun that was used to shoot at his vehicle has not been found. You will learn that the ring video systems in the neighborhood were not immediately investigated and restored,” Moore said.
A suspect, not a victim
D’Monterrio Gibson and his mother, Sharon McClendon, attended the press conference, with a representative from the New Black Panther Party by their side. Gibson spoke briefly, visibly saddened, lamenting the long months between filming and the final charges.
“It was a extremely long process to get this far,” Gibson said. “I feel like most of the time I’ve been treated like a suspect and not a victim. It was an extremely tough process. I’m kinda glad we’re finally making progress, but there’s still more work to be done. That’s really all I have to say about it.”
Gibson’s mother heeded his comments and cautiously celebrated the grand jury’s decision. “This is the first step in the right direction. But the biggest step is to (Gregory and Brandon Case) get convicted,” McClendon said. “I’m finally glad they gave us some kind of relief… my son, our friends, our whole family went through a lot to solve this case.”
The threat of the January incident has yet to wane for Gibson. Along with the anxiety he attributes to the experience, Gibson also shared the details of a death threat He says he received it after news of the shooting went viral.
At the meeting of a Louisiana-based white supremacist group, one person said “all kinds of racist rants and how they must start the race war,” explained a warning letter to Gibson. “He’s told (people) that he (D’Monterrio) wants to personally kill Gibson and said he won’t miss that time like the other person did.”
The FBI told Gibson they were investigating the threat.
Brookhaven Police Chief Sued
Brookhaven Police Chief Kenneth Collins is mired in controversy, according to a former Brookhaven Police Department detective filed a federal lawsuit alleging wrongful termination.
Sergeant LaToya Beacham is specifically suing the city of Brookhaven and Collins for allegedly demoting them after refusing to sign affidavits for the arrest of several Black Lives Matter protesters who rallied in support of Gibson.
Beacham’s lawsuit accused Collins of “intending to punish Black Lives Matter members for exercising their First Amendment speech.” The Brookhaven Daily Leader reported in August.
Just this month, leaked audio from Collins showed the police chief fantasizing about attacking Black Lives Matter protester Marquell Bridges during a demonstration in Brookhaven earlier this year. “I was thinking about fucking him at the time,” Collins said on the recording. “I sat and looked at that damn Marquell Bridges. I thought about putting my left foot on the right side of his butt.”
Additionally, both Beacham’s lawsuit and Moore allege that Deputy Chief of Police Chris Case is a relative of Gregory Case and Brandon Case, which is allLongtime family name in the area, including in law enforcement. Moore explained this week that his investigation found a familial link between the cases, something Chief Collins has vocally denied.
“No relationship” Collins to WLBT News. “We went through the whole family tree to make sure we were honest. My Assistant Chief Chris Case is related to very different cases.”
Neither Chief Kenneth Collins nor District Attorney Dee Bates responded to requests for comment from the Mississippi Free Press.