Allegations of Official Misconduct
FBI Arrest Mississippi
July 12, 2008
Washington – A federal grand jury in Jackson, Miss., returned a
three-count indictment against Frank E. Melton, the mayor of Jackson,
Miss., and his two bodyguards, Jackson police officers Michael Recio and
Marcus Wright. The three men were charged in connection with a
conspiracy to tear down a private home in Jackson and thereby violate
the civil rights of the owner and resident of that home, announced Grace
Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice
Department’s Civil Rights Division.
The indictment alleges that on Aug. 26, 2006, the defendants invited
several young men onto the city’s mobile command unit. The group
allegedly drove to a home on Ridgeway Street, where Officer Wright
ordered the occupants outside at gunpoint. Thereafter, Mayor
Melton allegedly knocked out several windows of the home with a large
stick and ordered the young men accompanying him to destroy the home
using sledgehammers while Wright and Recio stood guard.
According to the indictment, the defendants and the young men left
the area briefly and then returned for a second visit later that
evening. Upon their return, Mayor Melton again allegedly ordered
the young men to destroy the home with sledgehammers and again, Wright
and Recio stood guard while the destruction occurred. The
Defendants and the young men allegedly destroyed the home and its
contents. The indictment alleges that the Defendants did not have
any lawful authority to destroy the home, and that they conspired to
deprive the home’s owner and occupant of their right to be free from
unreasonable searches and seizures by those acting under color of law.
The three men are also charged with using a firearm during the
commission of a crime of violence.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed
innocent unless proven guilty.
The conspiracy charge and counts related to the deprivation of
constitutional rights each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in
prison. The charge alleging the use of a firearm in a crime
of violence carries a mandatory minimum prison term of five years.
Source: FBI National Press Office