Tommy Ross Is Back Again. Alleges More Police Harassment
The first order of business at Tuesday night’s Columbus City Council meeting was the official swearing-in ceremony of Selvain McQueen as Columbus Chief of Police. McQueen had been serving in the interim until he was selected at a special called meeting of the mayor and council last Monday night, December 12th. Mayor Robert Smith conducted the swearing-in at the beginning of the meeting.
The Council went of to approve the Minutes of the Council meetings of December 6th and 12th, as well as the Docket of Claims for the December 20th meeting in the amount of $684,840.24.
Several appointments to various boards are coming up for consideration, but only two came up during this meeting. Columbus COO David Armstrong announced that there was only one applicant for the appointment to the Golden Triangle Regional Solid Waste Management Authority board and it was M.L. “Mac” McCarty, who was already serving in the position but his 4-year term was expiring on December 31st. McCarty was unanimously reappointed to the position for another 4-year term.
The other appointment that could be made on this evening was that of the Columbus Municipal School District board. Alma Turner had resigned the position effective November 1st. There were 9 applicants to consider. Ward 6 City Councilman Bill Gavin made a motion to nominate Jason Spears to the position. Ward 3 City Councilman Charlie Box gave a second. The vote failed 2-4 as Gavin and Box were the only ones to vote for Spears. Ward 2 Councilman Joseph Mickens then made a motion to appoint Aubra Arletta Turner to the position and was seconded by Ward 1 City Councilman Gene Taylor. The vote was 4-2 in favor of Turner, as Ward 5 City Councilman Kabir Karriem and Gavin opposed. Turner will hold the position until March 2nd of 2014, which is the original expiration date of the 5 year term first given to Alma Turner.
Terrance DeLoach was the first to appear before the mayor and council under the Citizens Input Agenda. DeLoach said he had been arrested for no reason, which he said resulted in him losing his job with Wheeler Roofing. DeLoach said he was originally arrested on a domestic violence charge in 2009. He said he completed his probation and paid all his fines for that charge. He was later arrested on a contempt of court charge because he said the warrant was supposed to be suspended or held up, according to Judge Amos who he appeared before at the time. Amos went on to retire the charge to the files. But his arrest caused him to lose the job that he had just been hired at (Wheeler), when, he says, he shouldn’t had been arrested in the first place. Later, probation services officer Debbie Burkes came before the mayor and council and told them that her intent was to hold up the contempt of court charge because DeLoach had contacted her and resumed counseling and the paying of probation fees. Municipal Court Clerk Lou Dudley defended the police and the court, as did City Municipal Judge Clinkscales. Judge Clinkscales came before the council and told them that it was up to Burkes and probation services to speak with the judge and take care of the warrant, but apparently that didn’t happen.
DeLoach was seeking reimbursement of the $175 he had to pay as 10% of his bail bond. The council took the matter up in executive session.
Tommy Ross made his 3rd appearance this year before the mayor and council, again alleging police harassment as he has many times before. Before getting started, Mayor Robert Smith told Ross he had 3 minutes. Ross asked, “I can’t have 5 minutes?”. Mayor Smith agreed to 5 minutes but warned Ross that City Attorney Jeff Turnage would be keeping up with his time on his watch.
Ross began, “OK…it was on the 10th of this month. I went out on 7th Avenue, uh, my brother worked there. And, I sit on the inside sometimes when I do go…sometimes 30 minutes to an hour. Dark fell, night fell, and uh, I decided I’d get up and go out. When I came out, there was a police officer car sitting on the sidewalk. The nose pointed in that direction. When I got in my pickup, come right off the sidewalk and followed me block to block everyway I turned. And it was provoking. I got there to my wife’s house, I parked and I got out and knocked on the door…and my baby boy came to the door with the phone in his hand..I said, “dial 911 for me”. And he (police officer) came on to the corner and sit there for a few minutes before he decided to pull off. So I got 911 and told the lady what was wrong, what had just happened. She tried to tell me he was on this…I said ma’am, send somebody to my house to discuss it, I’m going on to my uncles. She asked me how long it would take me to get there, I said maybe 5 or 10 minutes. Sure enough, I went on to the house…and this officer he came by. He was very nice, kinda heavy with red hair, flat…we talked and I said this keeps going-on, it’s the same thing. After we talked about 35 minutes, he said the reason he was following me was because my tail lights were out. I said my tail lights are not out. he said, ok…come on down and get in the truck. I got in my truck, I cranked it up…he said, “get on your brakes’. I got on my brakes and my tail lights lit up. He said, “pull your headlights on”. I pulled my headlights on. He said, “do your signals”. Everything worked…what he was gonna do, he was gonna stop me…and tell a fib, that the reason he stopped me was because my lights were out.”
Mayor Smith said, “Let me interrupt you…did the officer that was trailing you ever stop you at anytime before you stopped did you call 911?” “No, he didn’t” answered Ross. “But this man in particular, as I’ve came before you and your office, and he’s the same man that double-cuffed me…and pulled his pistol out on me…and started ranting and raving, “don’t move, don’t move…there’s an instigator behind all of this. As I told to our new chief…that was Joe Johnson…and he told me, “naw…it ain’t him”. I said, ok…I’m fixing to show you right now it’s him. I went to church on a Sunday evening, they had a program…a special program. And the preacher used to live here…used to be his pastor. He was preachin’ so…and I love the guys preaching. And some folks don’t seem to get it and understand it. You gonna be shot, and you’re gonna die…and you’re gonna be dead. I looked out there and sitting in the back of the church, the officer was just turning-over laughing. He told him (the preacher) to say that. Mayor Smith said, “In the church?” Ross answered, “In the church!”
“Listen…he (the officer) is a sick man. Ya’ll need to wake up and look at that man. I live on Tuscaloosa, I’ve got a big window there. I turned my light on, here’s a police car pulled right up there…3 in the morning. And it’s been going on for 37 years. The year he got on the force, I was out there…I was young, crazy and didn’t care what I said. And I got him told in every way I could think of. And he could have ran away…he could have jumped out of his car and he took off…and he looked at me…and the impression I got from him..was like, “I’m gonna get you, I’m gonna kill you if it’s the last thing I do.” And that’s what he’s trying to do. But now, it’s not only him. And I say that because…I was at Charlie Watkins laundromat…went to get some gas around 2 one morning…come back and the officer was all behind me.” Mayor Smith interrupted, “Time is up…but go ahead and finish your sentence.”
“Ok…and, when I looked, he threw his light on me. I said, “why are you throwing your light on me?” He said, “why are you in the right lane so fast?” I said, “is there a law against that?” And before I could say anything else, 5 cars and a sheriff pulled up. Mayor Smith said, “Your time is up…so one question, Rev. Ross…what are you requesting from the mayor and council?”
“This is what I’m requesting”, answered Ross. “because it’s chaotic to me to keep on…and the same thing keeps happening. Why are these people trying to bring about my demise in this city? It’s more than just that man…why? Tell me what have I done?”
Mayor Smith replied, “so what you’re saying is…that Assistant Chief Joe Johnson is the instigator behind this?”. “Not by himself” said Ross. “I’ve discovered that the FBI has come out on that highway that night…and I saw the same FBI had my carport…the FBI has a hand in this. And I know now why John L. Washington was found dead in Atlanta, Ga. I’m tired of these people following me around here like I’m a criminal. I’ve put up with it for 34 years. And they are still running around here trying to come up with a way to shoot me down…and every city I go to they say, “he’s crazy”..God don’t see no fools in the world like me. Get my hand writing, you’ll find out who I am.”
Mayor Smith said, “Ok, Rev. Ross. We appreciate you..and everything you’ve said we’ll take into…” “Yeah…I’m tired of this” said Ross. Mayor Smith asked Chief McQueen to get with Rev Ross.