This isn't the old West
Rogelio Solis/Associated Press
Frank Melton, witnesses say, ordered young
followers to demolish a house he tied to drug sales.
Jackson Mayor Is Indicted Over Crime-Fighting Tactics
By SHAILA DEWAN
Published: September 16, 2006
ATLANTA, Sept. 15 — The mayor of Jackson, Miss., was indicted on six felony charges Friday after months of criticism and warnings that his unorthodox crime-fighting tactics might put him on the wrong side of the law. He's dragging kids into his vigilante action? They could have been killed? What the hell was he thinking?
Among the counts now faced by the mayor, Frank Melton, are burglary, malicious mischief, illegally carrying a gun and causing a minor to commit a felony. The most serious of the charges against him carry sentences of up to 25 years, said the local district attorney, Faye Peterson.
The mayor’s supporters called the charges politically motivated and said he would not resign.
Some of the charges stem from a sheriff’s investigation of the night of Aug. 26, when the home of Evans Welch, a man with a history of mental illness and petty crimes, was attacked by a sledgehammer-wielding group of young men without warning or permit.
Witnesses said Mr. Melton, who often patrols the city at night with the police and a group of teenage followers, had directed the demolition of the house, which he said was known as a place to buy illegal drugs. His two police bodyguards are also charged in connection with that event.
Dale Danks, Mr. Melton’s lawyer, issued a statement acknowledging that damage had been done to “the drug house” and that “maybe better judgment could have been used.”
posted by Steve @ 3:02:00 AM