KOSCIUSKO, Miss. (WJTV) – A violent video involving a former Mississippi trooper has many on social media scratching their heads and others are ready to cast blame. The video showed one man pulling another man out of a car and hitting him in head.
The man seen pulling a man out of the car is Jonathan Steed, a former MHP trooper. According to Kosciusko police, the incident happened back in August at the drive-thru at a Wendy’s restaurant in Kosciusko. Steed said it’s what you don’t see in the video, that compelled him to take action.
“My wife and I were in the drive-thru,” said Steed. “We heard someone laying down their horn. It was this elderly lady that was driving outside of the line. When I turned to look, she was hanging out her driver side window as her male passenger was leaned over just punching her in the face, in the back of the head. She was screaming for help and begging for someone to call the law or he was going to kill her.”
The video showed the elderly mother getting out of the car, as well.
“I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to step in,” said Steed. “She’s 78-years-old, and he’s beating her like a man. I felt like it was my duty law-enforcement or not.”
Steed said first reports on the video were inaccurate, flagging the situation as police brutality and coupling his story with another reported case of law enforcement abusing their power. Now, he wants to clear his name.
“I had lots of people messaging me, a lot of supportive people saying that they had seen the news clip,” said Steed. “It really infuriated me that they would just show a piece of a story, and portray it as if law enforcement was overstepping their boundaries or that this guy was a victim of police brutality. I’m not saying that police brutality does not happen. It does. There’s a bad apple in every bunch. This was in no way remotely related to police brutality.”
The other man seen in the video is identified as 55-year old Greg Taylor. 12 News discovered this wasn’t his first time in trouble with the law. Leake County Sheriff Randy Atkinson said Taylor has been booked at least 17 times in the county jail. He remembers one time it was difficult to take his photo at the jail.
“He was so intoxicated and belligerent they couldn’t even take a booking picture,” said Atkinson. “I can tell you I’ve never heard an individual speak to their mother like he was speaking.”
Charges include public drunkeness, violation of an open container law, substance abuse and domestic violence.
“This guy was beating his elderly mother while drunk,” said Steed.
In the video, you can see Taylor holding a canned beverage.
“I was off duty, and at that time, I was employed by the highway patrol,” said Steed. “I was off duty. However, I’d like to ask people this question: Would it have been better to sit back and not do anything?”
Sheriff Atkinson said there are still good officers out there that put their lives on the line every day, and videos like this out of context can shine a negative light on those officers.
“It’s easy to sit back and see a partial video,” said Sheriff Atkinson. “As far as I’m concerned, you have to look at the circumstances behind every situation. We do this business because we care about people, and we have a passion to protect people.”
“Not all law enforcement is bad,” said Steed. “There are a lot of good guys and ladies out there that continue to serve selflessly.”
Steed and Sheriff Atkinson both say you shouldn’t believe everything you see on Facebook.