Wrongly Arrested in 2009, LOT Set to Return to Jones County, MS

AUSTIN, TX – Last year when on the road with another project – Motorhome Diaries – Adam and I and our other colleague at the time, Jason Talley, were arrested when traveling through southern Mississippi by Jones County Sheriff’s Deputy James Atkins. Despite the passage of 16 months we have not yet been made whole from the rights-violations we suffered at the hands of Atkins and his colleagues, including Sheriff Alex Hodge, who, immediately after our wrongful arrests, issued public statements that essentially stated that he stood by the actions of his men.

Since our route for this project is taking us near Jones County, we figured why not stop by, do some outreach and hold a meetup!

Check out the press release we’re sharing, thanks to the help of our bud Mike Powers, with the local media in anticipation of our arrival.

I won’t go into a ton of detail about the incident here (check out this post for a thorough overview), but quickly:

We’d had a meetup in New Orleans on May 13th, the night prior, and were in-route to Nashville. That was, until we were stopped by Atkins for having perfectly legal paper temporary license plates on my RV.

Rather than quickly run our plates, see that we were clear and let us go, Atkins and his ilk escalated the situation. Within a couple of hours we were all in handcuffs and my vehicle was being searched and damaged in a warrantless search. We were brought to the Jones Co. Adult Detention Facility and put into a cage. We were not told of our charges, read our rights or allowed to make a phone call for over eight hours.

That night Allison Gibbs arrived at the jail with some money that, unbeknownst to us, had been donated by a number of awesome folks to help bail us out (Adam was charged with disorderly for filming, I was charged with possession of a beer in a dry county for supposedly having one unopened beer in the refrigerator and Jason was charged with resisting since he choose not to produce ID on command, which, since he wasn’t driving, he didn’t have to do per a Supreme Court decision). We later learned too that the jail and other government offices across Mississippi were inundated with hundreds and hundreds of phone calls from individuals concerned about our situation.

Four months later, after rerouting our entire schedule, we went back to Jones County for our trial in Justice Court. Before our case was heard we were offered a deal – our charges would be dropped and our money returned if we promised not to sue. No deal we said – how would that hold the responsible parties accountable? In Justice Court, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, we were all found guilty – only compounding the pattern of unaccountability of these public officials.

It’s said the wheels of justice turn slowly, especially for those who are innocent. That’s why it’s so important that we don’t give up. That we don’t let them wear us down or threaten us and that we do continue seeking accountability. Those who harmed us are still employed and have thus far, faced no repercussions for their actions. Fortunately, our pro bono legal team – which had coalesced after our arrest – filed an appeal and earlier this year indicated our plans to pursue civil damages.

We’re set to have our appeal heard in early December so, like we did prior to our trial last Sept., we thought we’d spend some time in the area to connect with others in the area in an attempt to hold accountable those who think they’re above the law they purport to enforce.

Hope to see you at our meetup in Laruel, MS on Friday, Oct. 15th!

Related Links Posted on MotorhomeDiaries.com:


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17 Responses to Wrongly Arrested in 2009, LOT Set to Return to Jones County, MS

  1. D.G. October 13, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    You would be amazed (or maybe not) at how often moments like this actually occur in this area. I have lived in Jones county most of my life. People are scared of local law enforcement. I have had my rights violated on several occasions. Being a local, I have no choice but to roll over. If you fight, you are made a target. There are mafia-style intimidation tactics used, threats of future arrests, and I know it may sound far fetched to some, but people have gone missing. Bodies have been pulled from lakes. I know of one such story. He was a friend, and he will be forever lost because of his “nerve”. My mother, who is as straight laced as they come, fears the local cops. She says that when she was in high school, there was a popular saying around here. “If there’s a rape in Jones, there’s no need to call the cops. They’re already there.” Nothing has changed. Sometimes I fear it never will. Thank you for standing up. All of us who are unable thank you.

  2. MDT October 13, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think ya’ll got a fair shake on your little junket through our area. Local law enforcement tends to target vehicles with out-of-town plates due to the amount of drugs smuggled through our area. I-59 is a major North-South drug route. There have been some spectacular drug busts not far from where you guys were pulled over using the very same tactic that got you guys: finding any legal way possible to stop a vehicle with out-of-state plates.
    At the same time, the little flyer you guys put out to advertise your protest of the JCSD and your meeting at BWW on October 22nd was stupid. Your attempt at making it look like JCSD was prohibiting the citizens of the county from attending either the protest, your meeting or visiting your (this) website insults everyones intelligence and makes you look like idiots.

  3. A. S. October 13, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    “… insults everyones intelligence and makes you look like idiots.”

    Oh c’mon. The fact that anyone who saw that flier actually thought it was anything but a spoof for publicity makes the good people of Jones County look like idiots.

  4. Couch Radio October 14, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

    First I would like to announce that The Couch firmly supports this group.

    Second, I’d like to point out MDT is a idiot, and we do not support him.

    Get em guys.

  5. Couch Radio October 14, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

    and yeah we plan on riding with Liberty Tour Bus….and yeah Jones County is riding with us.

  6. SameStory October 14, 2010 at 5:47 pm #

    MDT is probably one of the pathetic excuses for law enforcement officers we have in Jones county. I and many people I know have been mistreated by officers on more than one occassion. Also we better not even get started on the scandals (includiding officers sexual involvement with minors, missing evidence in drug and money seizing, etc…) that have plagued this area for quite some time. Stick it to em guys, I will be out in support.


  7. Couch Radio October 14, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    LMAO Yeah you guys prob. were wondering why we don’t have a Drug Taskforce anymore? HA Its not because of lack of funding.

  8. Kinley October 15, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    Looking for a ride from McComb area on I-55 to Laurel today. E-mail kinleyhard@aol.com

  9. Jezebella October 15, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

    Just wandered down to the courthouse and found y’all were gone already. I’m guessing you’re now busy having your civil rights violated some more, since the bus is still downtown. I know more than one person who’s been screwed by Clown Court – I mean, “Justice Court”. It’s a banana republic around here. Thanks for sticking it to the man.

  10. dis February 15, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    how did it end?

  11. Pete Eyre February 15, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    dis – my charge was dropped, Ademo had a hung jury, and Jason’s charge was dropped.


  12. Bill February 11, 2014 at 3:41 am #

    So did you sue them?

  13. Freedom March 3, 2016 at 12:48 am #

    Have you guys sued the department?

  14. AJ April 9, 2016 at 3:09 am #

    The grass roots link is no longer there and it’s 6 years later. What was the outcome of all this?


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