Mississippi Police Chief Caught on Camera Assaulting Civilian in His Own Home
There will be no accountability until enough people speak out.
Mark Lesure is a barber who resides in Senatobia, Mississippi. What started out as a normal day turned into a nightmare when local police officers showed up at his home brandishing firearms.
The situation started while his girlfriend’s 16-year-old son was walking home from school. There had been reports of a individual shooting other people with a pellet gun, which prompted police to patrol the area.
As the 16-year-old was walking home, the officers told him to “come here.”
The boy went into [Lesure’s] home to get an adult to speak with the police. Upon learning of the presence of police, Lesure went outside to speak with the officers. He said:
And when I opened the door, the police are surrounding my house with their guns out with lethal intention. And when I see it, I instantly tell them, start telling them, ‘Put them guns down because you got your guns out with your hand in a ready position, ready to shoot.’
After the situation deescalated, one of the officers told Lesure they wished to speak with the boy. At that point, Lesure brought the young man outside.
The situation seemed to have mostly calmed down at this point until the arrival of Police Chief Richard Chandler. The footage shows Lesure speaking with officers as the minor comes out of the house. Chandler is seen walking into Lesure’s home without permission or a warrant. Lesure can be heard shouting “you’re not even supposed to go in there,” and “come up out of my house.”
At this point, Chandler can be seen putting his hands around Lesure’s throat and trying to take him to the ground. “I had to put my hands on his shoulder to relieve the pressure off him choking me,” he told RedState.
The footage shows one of the officers tasing Lesure multiple times before accidentally tasing Chandler, who had Lesure in what appears to be a chokehold. “He had my neck. He was still there applying pressure. I had my hands up. I was asking him to get off me, get off me. He wouldn't get off me. And man, he was psychotic that day. He was a maniac that day. And that's how it all happened,” Lesure said.
After the altercation, the officers arrested the 16-year-old for “disorderly conduct” even though he was not aggressive or rowdy at any point during the encounter. He spent four days at a juvenile detention center before he was released. Lesure told me the judge apologized to the boy’s mother and released him without any further paperwork or documentation.
However, Lesure did not escape this situation unscathed. About 30 minutes after the incident, officers obtained a search warrant despite not have any probable cause to search the residence. They found a very small amount of marijuana and an old unfunctioning gun that Lesure said had been left there by the previous owner.
The authorities are charging the barber with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, possessing a stolen firearm, and drug possession.
At the center of this incident is the police chief’s decision to enter Lesure’s residence without a warrant or permission. When confronted about this, he escalated the situation by trying to choke the resident.
Chandler’s actions are a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. If law enforcement agents are able to simply stroll into someone’s home without probable cause or a warrant, they will undermine the foundations of privacy and security in one’s dwelling.
Moreover, Chandler clearly used unnecessary and excessive force. Lesure was not behaving in an aggressive manner and was clearly not a threat. When police can use violence against a civilian for simply speaking up, it is a clear violation of rights that has a chilling effect on members of the community. The police do not rule us nor should they be in a position to summarily use force whenever they feel like it.
Moreover, the fact that they arrested the boy for no good reason is also infuriating. What happened to this child is the very reason why so many fear the badge. Getting arrested and sent to a facility when he was clearly willing to speak with the officers is despicable.
During our conversation, Lesure told me that many members of the community have had trouble with the police despite the fact that it has a low rate of crime. He described situations in which officers will show up in full force, brandishing firearms for simple offenses like “misdemeanor crimes, for warrants, for people missing court.”
The incident in Senatobia is not about this one encounter; it reflects deeper systemic issues that must be addressed. Lesure told me he does not only want justice for himself, but he wants to shine a light on how law enforcement approaches the community overall.
As Mark Lesure prepares for his legal battle, seeking to clear his name and hold those responsible accountable, his story serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggles in American policing. It underscores the importance of vigilance in protecting our constitutional rights and the necessity of ongoing dialogue and reform in law enforcement practices.
In sum, the Senatobia incident is a wake-up call. It challenges us to reflect on the state of our civil liberties and the role of law enforcement in upholding these sacred rights. It is also a reminder about the importance of being involved in one’s community. For a society that prides itself on justice and freedom, there is no room for complacency when these ideals are threatened.
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