August 5, 2022

Brookhaven police chief sued by former detective over alleged improper orders, retaliation

Therese Apel

Brookhaven Police Chief Kenny Collins

Brookhaven Police Chief Kenny Collins and the City of Brookhaven are being sued for ordering a detective to put baseless charges on Black Lives Matter protesters in the aftermath of two white men shooting at a black Fed Ex driver.

The plaintiff, former detective LaToya Beacham, is asking for $90,000 for damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

Court documents allege that Collins, who has been seen on videos taking on whole groups of protesters, felt that all the protesters should be arrested. He allegedly directed patrol officers to arrest them, and asked Detective LaToya Beacham to sign affidavits charging them with crimes.

Beacham refused, saying she had not seen any of the crimes to which he was referring and was unaware of any actual evidence.

When Beacham confided in her pastor, he had her on speaker phone and someone else taped the conversation and published it on social media, according to federal court documents.

At the end of March, Collins allegedly informed Beacham that she was suspended and that he would ask the city Board of Aldermen to terminate her. When the board refused, Collins demoted her to patrol and put her on the night shift, knowing her life’s goal was to be a detective, documents stated. He then allegedly tried to have her removed from an investigator class at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Training Academy.

Beacham was also required to continue investigating cases, even though she did not hold the position of detective, and court documents allege that Collins got into her files and complicated the process of obtaining those files for the District Attorney’s office.

According to court documents, since the police chief said the police that allowed him to demote Beacham arbitrarily was his policy, it also counts as the city’s policy.

“The City of Brookhaven Mississippi is liable to Plaintiff for violating Plaintiff’s First Amendment and Fourth Amendment Rights, since the Chief’s decision to demote Plaintiff was the official policey decision of the City,” documents read. “Further, the City of Brookhaven is liable to Plaintiff for wrongful termination in violation of Mississippi’s public policy.”

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