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Questions Surround Officer Involved Shooting

Jequanta Harris is taken to a waiting ambulance

An officer-involved shooting has left Columbus residents with many questions and few answers.

Twenty-two-year-old Jequanta Harris was reportedly shot in his buttocks when he failed to comply to Columbus Police Department Officer James Hansen just after 12 a.m.Sunday morning. The shooting occurred in the 1700 block of Wheat St.
The CPD has yet to issue a formal press release on the matter, which has resulted in public confusion and media outlets releasing conflicting information. According to local television station WCBI, “The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics is investigating.”
In fact, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is handling the case.
Adding to the confusion, Wednesday’s edition of the Commercial Dispatch proclaimed “CPD Officer suspended after shooting.” As is CPD policy after any officer is involved in a shooting, Hansen was placed on administrative leave. He was not suspended.
When asked why the CPD has not issued a press release, Chief of Police Selvain McQueen responded, “Because we have not done any press releases. Y’all call and we’ll answer your questions. When people call, we give them what they ask for.”

Harris's green Honda sits parked on Wheat St. moments after the shooting

Residents surrounding the area where the shooting took place have conflicting feelings over the incident. One resident, who asked not to be named, said, “This is just like the Trayvon thing. You heard about that in the news? This is just like that.”
His friend agreed. “I was asleep when I heard two shots, real quick. I don’t have anything against white police but why would you shoot someone who was unarmed? The police try to pull me over and I ain’t done nothing wrong, I’m gone run, too,” she said.
Her friend chimed in, saying that she knew Harris from their days at alternative school but “I hadn’t seen him really since then.”
The friend then agreed that she, too, would run from the police even if she was innocent because “they spook you.” However, she disagreed with the first neighbor’s feeling about the shooting being a racial issue. “I don’t think no police would just shoot somebody for no reason. Not unless he be trigger happy,” she said.

CPD Officer James Hansen

While information provided has been limited, the CPD has confirmed that Hansen pursued Harris because the green Honda Accord he was driving matched the description of a vehicle connected to a burglary earlier that evening.
A break-in occurred around midnight at 607 21st Avenue N. where the would-be burglars reportedly kicked in the back door. Witnesses called in the break-in and reported seeing a green Honda leave the scene. A Be On the Look Out for, or “BOLO”, was then issued for a green Honda Accord.
According to sources, Hansen was in the Sunflower parking lot on Military Rd. when he spotted the Honda at the intersection. Hansen pulled out of the parking lot and followed Harris onto Military Rd. The route the two took is still unclear but, according to CPD Public Information Officer Glenda Buckhalter, Harris “turned left onto Clover” before again turning onto Wheat St. [Wheat St. is located off of North Clover St. near 14th Ave N. and Railroad St.] Sources within the CPD say the vehicle came to a stop and an unknown male bailed out of the passenger side door, fleeing the scene on foot. Hansen then reportedly approached the driver’s side of the vehicle and Harris allegedly reached for a gun on the floorboard. Sources say Hansen ordered Harris to drop the weapon and when he did not comply, Hansen shot twice.

Emergency responders tend to Harris's gunshot wound

When paramedics arrived on scene, Harris was reportedly lying in front of the Honda’s passenger side door and the gun was in the floorboard of the car.
Sources claim that a substance that appeared to be marijuana was inside the vehicle in plain view, but CPD officers did not search the car because MBI was handling the case. The Honda was towed from the scene and taken to the Metro-Narcotics building where it sat until a search warrant could be obtained Monday morning. Once it was searched, nearly four pounds of marijuana was discovered in the car.
Harris was transported to Baptist-Memorial Hospital Golden Triangle and then airlifted to University Medical Center in Jackson. Sources with the CPD say he will be charged with possession of marijuana, more than a kilo when he is released from the hospital.

Harris after a March arrest for Disorderly Conduct

Harris has a lengthy history with law enforcement, having been arrested seven times since 2008. His prior charges include simple assault, domestic violence, possession of marijuana, driving under the influence and disorderly conduct.
The passenger of the vehicle’s whereabouts are still unknown.
In addition to the burglary on 21st St. N., a green Honda was also believed to have been involved in two prior weekend burglaries, one at a residence in Hunter’s Hollow behind Creekstone Chevron and another on 19th St. N.
Hansen is a patrolman with the CPD and has been with the department since June of 2010.
MBI is still investigating the incident.

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39 comments

  1. Robert

    Just way to much violence for a country town the size of Columbus. Never a dull moment in “The friendly Crime City”.

  2. I don’t understand why everyone tries to make a racial issue out of everything. If it was a young white man that had been shot by a black cop, no one would make anything out of it. What if the cop that shot the young man was black? Would it somehow had been justified? Wait until all the facts come out before jumping to conclusions. The police in our community should be commended for their service to protect us. Not condemned for doing their job.

    • Amanda

      I don’t consider shotting an unarmed man, doing your job. The police officer could have done better. The officer is trained better than that. He acted out on stupidity. No excuss.

  3. The media likes “controversy”. It sells papers. But controversy can mess up peoples life when the facts aren’t presented. If someone was reaching for a gun and not complying then they are a threat to be dealt with. I respect our law enforcement officers.

  4. kj

    IMO, a lot of the controversy comes from scant reporting of facts. This story presents a very different face than the CD story that the guy was out of the car already and shot for “failure to comply.” If he’s still in the car and reaching for a weapon it’s a much different story from the get-go.

  5. jeremy

    Its a hostile situation if you approach a car, and the person not speaking to you reaches for a gun. I think prison flashed before the drivers eyes, and life before the officers. Isn’t it a right turn coming from sunflower on military going to clover, not a left? Hmm time to view the video? Oh, as for race lets ask ourselves where our ancestors are now, as we all continue to paint things black or white and everything in between. Were Adam and Eve not the first humans on earth. Put 2 and 2 together look into your family history we are all related to some degree. If a black officer were sent out, some would say its bc the whites would not. The chance we have of ending racism comes from individual responsibility.

  6. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    There is a simple solution:Arming law enforcement with lapel digital video camera/recorders. The price per camera is around $700, close to the cost of a Glock. There is at least one city in the state that has deployed these lapel devices.

    The video in the link reminded me of what the unnecessary force that was used against John Montgomery must have been like.

    http://www.policemag.com/Videos/Channel/Technology/2011/07/On-Body-Cams-Captures-N-M-Police-Shooting.aspx

  7. Like dha old sayin says, “believe none of wut u read!” I’m so sick of people sitting on their asses discussing the issue w/my nephew as if he’s a bad person bc he’s not ;( We all as individuals have had sum time in our lives where we have took the wrong turn r 2 but that has s#!t to do w/ the officer shooting him. Nd 4 dha record if u wuznt there u shudnt even have nuthin 2 say…..JUSTICE WILL B SERVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Noones makin racist issus bout nuthin, every since this happened ppl r bringin up thingz he’s done in his past, well guess wat dat wuz da past he dealt with dat & it damn sure dnt hve n e thang 2 do wit wat happened 2 him recently. Black or white it dnt matter u will still want answers especially if it happened n ur neighborhood, yea CPD arent bad ppl but dey arent givin us wat we asked 4 & those r answers. I dnt wanna hve 2 worry bout my kids goin outside & scared shootin will start. This can go both ways, if it wuz jus a random teenager or adult we wudve been had answers, ijs itz only fair. Dey cnt even keep 1 story 2 dis so jus like Quanick said if u dnt hve da true story n knw watz goin on, jus stay out of it & let his family handle it.

  9. joe blow

    To Quanick: You are about the stupidest female on the planet. You know good and well your nephew was either going to be killed or going to jail because he was a stupid idiot with no home training. He stayed in trouble with the law just like you did. Remember. And by the way, if you are going to write something quit using all this ebonic slang.. Did you go to school? If he was so good then why was he in alteernative school and had 5 pounds of weed. Go back to the projects and stay in your own little stupid world so we can be safe and enjoy the rest of the city without having to be in the presence of thugs like you.

  10. joe blow

    To Sierra: You sound just like you write…dumb as hell. I am so sick and tired of you uneducated dumb folk that don’t think it’s nothing to life but having babies and going to get your hair fixed and having a cell phone. I bet you didn’t graduate from high school and if you did they just let you out to save on the free lunch program. I bet you and Quanick are related because you sound the same. Maybe this was the best thing that could have happened to the boy because it may have saaved his life and someone else’s to. Go get a job. NO!! Before that go down to EMCC and get your GED and be sure to enroll in an English couse so you can learn how to speak. Everybody don’t want to hear the old ebonic stuff. Quit being hood rats.
    Thank you.

    • rozziej

      I am only pointing this out because you were on the “correct grammatical usage” rant: you spelled save wrong (saaved) and your sentence should have ended like this:..it may haved saved his life and someone else’s too (as in ALSO, not to)…just saying. OH, you spelled course wrong as well. OH, “don’t think it’s nothing to life” is also incorrect grammar usage. Seems as though the schools were in a big hurry to save on many student’s lunch.

      • fed

        Well rozziej since you have opened your a** or mouth, I am a project manager at a multimillion dollar aerospace company that is local. What ae you doing? Are you putting diapers on the flies to keep them from shi**ing on the pies. Thught so!!!
        I bet you are gay. You sound like a girlie boy.

  11. Jayne Doe

    You should NEVER run from the cops or attempt to especially if you’re a Black male. He got shot in the @$$, but it could’ve been a lot worse. And I really wish that people would stop comparing everything to Trayvon Martin’s case because this is the total opposite.

  12. White Man

    Just like Trayvon? Lets see…..the guy (black or white) was driving a vehicle that matched a BOLO that was involved in recent burglaries. So when the police (black or white) turned his lights on to pull him (black or white) over, the passenger (black or white) decides to run. The driver (black or white) reaches for a gun on the floorboard. Now how is any of this like the Trayvon case?

    IF the driver and passenger (black or white) would have pulled over and sat in the vehicle, been questioned about their whereabouts…would any of this have happened? How about this to think about as well, If he is such a good person and didn’t do anything wrong, why was there 4lbs of weed and a gun in the car? Is this what “normal” citizens do these days? Quit bringing race into a story when its clearly the fault of the suspect. If the driver (black or white) was shot and there was nothing in the car, then call it a crime. The driver either reached for the gun or acted in a way that caused the officer (black or white) to react the way he was trained to do.

    Black people…….If you dont want to get shot or arrested for something you feel you didn’t deserve, DO NOT RUN because you feel “spooked”. Live right and within the law. Doing so you can never be charged with something. Run and the officer has probable cause and can charge you with fleeing and can search your car.

    Question for the people who run….. How may people that you know, have known or have actually read about have EVER successfully ran from the law? Now I am sure you have your baby’s daddy’s second cousins roommate in cell block 3 knows someone but I am asking if you know someone personally and have actually seen this happen? I can assure you that your answer is NO. So my advice to you, sit in your car and answer the questions. If you dont want to answer, tell him you want to speak to an attorney before answering any questions. FOLLOW THE LAW AND THE RIGHTS THAT YOU HAVE! Running is NOT one of those rights!

  13. C-CITY GONER

    Columbus has not, and will not ever change. I was born there and lived there several years. The facts are what they are and only two people in this scenario know the truth. One of those people has a history of crime, the other has a history of crime prevention. They have diiferent colored skin and thats seems to be the story. Like i said columbus will never change and for that reason i will most likely not ever return. It’s the year 2012 people, we all bleed red. Come on columbus your fast becoming the city of the unfriendly.

  14. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    Why can’t we all just get along and declare victory in the war on drugs and put away the Glocks and M-16s and close the corporately-operated prison for “drug offenders.”

    • Tammy

      Johnny, you live in a fantasy world! It must be nice to escapr reality the way you do…exactly what drug is it that causes you to make such stupid statements or are you just that delusional?????

  15. Robert

    To C-City Goner
    I refer to my beloved Columbus as “The friendly Crime City”
    It is very very sad what Columbus is turning into and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better any time soon.
    Pray for our City. We need all the help we can get.

  16. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    And many duped Lowndes countyians fled to the polls like Lemmings to the sea, claiming that Sheriff Alderich’s gonna’ bring CHANGE. And there to egg him on was that courthouse Legal Beagle, claiming that Lowndes county needed a sit-behind-the-desk Sheriff.

    The more things change, the more they remain the same.

      • Thump

        Tammy…your rising to his baiting you. Its a game to him and he won’t admit he’s a idiot. He doesn’t much like anyone and he shows contempt for all in the law enforcement of this county. He’s a chair sitting expert on everything and knows nothing.He will pull you down with his mind games.God forbid he will need help from the lawmen of this city or county because I think he’s not worth their lives to save his sorry a$$. But men like your husband will step in and no matter who it is, will and do save useless people because that’s their job and they do it well. Thank you officers of Columbus police dept and the county deputies for keeping the idiots from taking over all of us!!!

        • Tammy

          You are so right, Thump! I usually dont let people like him get to me but sometimes I just cant let his remarks go. I have already discussed this issue with my husband and I am going to just let the issue go. I know that my husband and the other officers of Columbus and Lowndes county do their best and put their lives on the line for some useless people like JPM.

  17. KB

    I lived in columbus for most of my life and I hate to hear these types of stories. The issue we have is respect. We don’t respect the law as people no matter the color and after looking at the way we talk to each other in the aftermath of a tragedy we don’t respect each other. Why are we on here arguing. Either way you look at this story its a tragedy. Someone’s son has been killed. And on the other hand there is a cop that for the rest of his life has to live with knowing he took a young man’s life. Whether in self defense or not he still has to live with that. Now what we should be doing is getting in contact with state representatives and congressmen to voice our concerns over the crime in the city of columbus. And personally I think if you are not willing to stand up and make that commitment then why bother arguing on this page because petty threats and pointless statements only ignite the very fire we are trying to put out. Just my opinion, some of you may like it some may not, no harm intended. But I truly hope that one day the city of columbus will once again be a safe place to live. Hope everyone has a great day.

  18. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    Typical answer JPM….ROFL~Thump

    You seem to be laughing at your own joke, because the laugh is on on you.

    Why don’t you changeyour moniker to “Gump,” as in Forrest Gump.

  19. Jacob

    JohnnyPhillip Morris… Your inner redneck is showing.

    In regards to this story: He couldn’t find his taser ?

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