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White police officer sues city over racial discrimination, makes claims against City Councilman

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A former police officer has filed a federal suit against the city of Columbus, Mississippi after being fired from the department for an OIS that left one dead.

According to WCBI, former officer Canyon Boykin has filed a federal lawsuit against the Mississippi town of Columbus, attempting to recover damages after he claims he was wrongfully discharged without due process- the aftermath of an incident involving the Police Special Operations Group that resulted in the fatal shooting of suspect Ricky Ball.

“The chief had told him that the city council had made up their mind, either resign or you’re fired without ever hearing evidence or what had happened”, said Jim Waide, Boykin’s attorney. “I think it’s pretty clear now about what happened but the damage is done.”

Boykin claims that the only reason he was fired is because he is white, and the deceased black, which amounts to racial discrimination.

Waide went further to state that Boykin has “had threats on his life and (he) understands that it’s dangerous to work [in Columbus]”, but that no other law enforcement agencies would hire him, claiming they are “frightened off by bad publicity”.

Boykin was part of the Special Operations Group that was involved in an incident on October 16th of last year, when the unit attempted to pull over a car that Ball was riding in. Ball attempted to flee the scene, forcing Boykin to tase him. When Ball fell to the ground Boykin claims he saw a gun in Ball’s right hand. As Boykin backed up, Ball took off running and allegedly turned to fire at the officers, prompting Boykin to open fire. According to The Dispatch, Ball succumbed to blood loss from the two gunshot wounds.

Boykin’s lawsuit also revisits an incident where the S.O.G team requested to arrest Ward 4 City Councilman Marty Turner for excess use of alcohol- but a supervisor refused to allow them to do so because of Turner’s government position.

When asked for his response to the claims, Turner asked for the officer’s body camera footage for proof of the incidents.

Further claims state that Turner did not want the S.O.G team in his ward or law strictly enforced in his district. Boykin also says Turner is prejudiced against members of the S.O.G. unit because, according to the court documents, “he identified with the persons breaking the law who resided in his district.”

“I don’t like anybody that don’t follow the law”, said Turner. “I don’t like criminals and I especially am prejudice towards police officers that break the law.”

Turner said he wanted the S.O.G. team to use its resources to tackle areas with heavier crime and that the S.O.G. team was “too aggressive” in certain neighborhoods within his Ward.

The city issued a statement saying that the lawsuit is premature, as Boykin has not completed the civil service appeals process with the city. In addition, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has not completed the shooting investigation.

The court documents can be viewed here.

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