The Jasper City Council on Monday morning fired police officers Ryan Cunningham and Ricky Grissom. The decision came nearly one month after a May 5th incident inside the city jail involving the two officers and a local woman, 25-year-old Keyarika Diggles, following her arrest for a traffic related warrant.
In both cases, District 3 Councilwoman Hazel Johnson made the motion to terminate, while District 1 Councilman Alton Scott seconded, and both votes were unanimous.
Before the conclusion of the meeting, At-Large Councilman Mitch McMillon made a motion to take the issue to Jasper County District Attorney Steve Hollis for the possibility of criminal charges being filed on the men. Following a second from Councilman Scott, the city leaders also voted unanimously in favor.
Following the meeting, Mayor Mike Lout announced that he is going to call for a change in police department policy, and he wants the City Council to be made aware of all complaints against officers, along with situations involving use of force.
The incident was kept quiet within the department until Wednesday, May 29th, when Lout said that he had just learned about it, and went to police headquarters to see the video. Lout also said that he was shocked to learn that Cunningham and Grissom were still on the street, despite the internal investigation that had reportedly been going on for the last three weeks.
The next morning, Lout said he had a meeting with Captain Gerald Hall and requested that the officers be immediately placed on administrative leave, with pay, pending the outcome of the investigation. Lout said Hall agreed, and the officers were pulled from their patrol duties.
Following Monday’s meeting, Lout said “The law is the law for everyone, and just because you have a badge on doesn’t mean you have the right to break the law, or do something wrong”.