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.
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:
- May 15, 2009Â Jones Country Sheriffï¿½s Department Falsely Arrests MHD Crew
- May 17, 2009 Thanks for springing the MHD3 from Jones County Jail (with Allison Gibbs)
- May 18, 2009 The Grumbling Old Fart Addresses Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodgeï¿½s Statements
- May 18, 2009 MHD on Freedom Watch
- May 21, 2009 Thank-you Thursday: Special Jones County, Mississippi Edition
- June 08, 2009 MARV Ransacked by Jones County Sheriffï¿½s Department
- July 09, 2009 Jones County Here We Come!
- August 17, 2009 Return to Jones County
- August 18, 2009 Radley Balko on Mississippi Justice
- September 5, 2009 MHD is Back in Jones County, MS
- September 6, 2009 Our Second Day in Jones County
- September 7, 2009 Day Three in Jones County
- September 8, 2009 Day Four in Jones County with MHD
- September 9, 2009 Day Five in Jones County
- September 10, 2009 Thank You Thursday Jones County Edition
- September 10, 2009 The MHD3 in Jones County Justice Court
- September 11, 2009 Day 7, Our Last Day in Jones County
- September 12, 2009 Jones County Resident Seeks Justice for his Son
- September 14, 2009 MHD Lawyer, Tom Schornhorst, on our ï¿½very interesting dayï¿½ in Jones County Court
- September 15, 2009 Jil Wright on how she helped get the MHD 3 out of jail
- September 25, 2009 Report: MHD3 Found Guilty by Jones County Judge David Lyons
- February 24, 2010 MHD3 Files Intent-to-Sue For Jones County, MS Incident
- March 14, 2010 Charges Against Pete Eyre Suppressed
- October 13, 2010 To The Good People of Jones County, MS
- October 21, 2010 Our Week in Jones County
- December 9, 2010 Hung Jury in Jones Co, MS for Filming Police Officers
- December 12, 2010 Freedom Watch (& Guest) Comment About CB.org Bloggersâ€™ Wrongful Arrests