JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A Jackson police officer accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a 15-year-old in the back of his patrol car committed suicide shortly after news broke about the abuse.
In an interview with WLBT, Mayor Chokwe Lumumba identified the officer as 29-year-old James Hollins.
Attorney Lisa Ross is representing the mother who says her 15-year-old daughter was sexually assaulted by the police officer over the last six months.
In a press conference, Sergeant Roderick Holmes with the Jackson Police Department said the department is going to perform an internal and external investigation on the accused officer.
He said they were unsure of the officer’s whereabouts, but he was placed on administrative leave on Sunday. It was later confirmed that he committed suicide on I-220 Monday afternoon.
Both lanes of the interstate were closed for over two hours Monday as law enforcement investigated.
According to Mayor Lumumba, he was in his personal car, but used the service revolver of another officer.
“It’s not known to us now if the officer even knew their weapon had been taken in the moment," said Mayor Lumumba.
Ross said the 15-year-old was approached by the officer and befriended. She added that the incidents took place several times a week over the six month period and there are several sexually explicit videos of the officer with the minor in the back of his patrol car.
The teen’s mother caught onto the misconduct and the family and Ross reported it to the police chief on Saturday. They felt the chief hasn’t responded appropriately.
When asked to respond to criticism that Chief Davis “didn’t jump right out in front of this,” Mayor Lumumba gave a timeline. He said Chief James Davis called him Sunday and shared that the mother of the 15-year-old shared info and showed videos of Hollins to Davis.
Chief Davis asked to place Hollis on administrative leave and the mayor approved that decision.
The mayor said Davis called internal affairs, which sent Hollins a letter notifying him of the administrative leave, & Hollins signed that letter. Davis also began a criminal investigation.
Lumumba says he believed Chief Davis acted immediately, and said this in response to criticism that actions weren’t fast enough: “That is something that we don’t need to add to the narrative. The narrative is already sad, and it’s a bad story to begin with.”
Lumumba said his administration will always hold the police department to a high level of accountability.
“That doesn’t make me anti-police, but it does make me anti-police corruption,” added the mayor.
Ross said the family had plans to ask the US Attorney’s office and the Dept of Justice to begin an investigation.
We will update this story as it develops.