Columbus mayor releases statement about Ricky Ball case

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WJTV) – Columbus Mayor Robert Smith, Sr. released a statement about the Ricky Ball case after Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced a manslaughter charge was dropped against former police officer Canyon Boykin.

Boykin was charged in the October 2015 shooting death of Ricky Ball in Columbus. Fitch’s office reviewed the case and concluded the officer acted in self-defense.

A rally is expected to happen outside of Fitch’s office in Jackson at noon on Friday, June 5, 2020.

Mayor Smith released the following statement:

As Mayor of the City of Columbus, I recognize these turbulent times we are in. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected our lives and our livelihoods, we are now faced with a nation that is divided by understandable tension and protests.

Now is the time for unity among all our people, not division. Now is a time for all leaders, both in public and in private, to step up and lead. Now is a time for love and respect, not riots and violence.

In our city, the recent decision of the new Mississippi Attorney General to dismiss all charges in the Ricky Ball murder case has shocked us all. I support the position of our District Attorney Scott Colom to demand the Attorney General’s office in Jackson explain why this was done.

The citizens deserve to know, and so does the still-grieving family of Ricky Ball.

I also appreciate and support the peaceful protests here of concerned citizens who want to know, and who deserve to know why the charges were dropped against a former Columbus Police officer.

A Lowndes County Grand Jury and our previous Attorney General, Jim Hood, had already indicted this officer. One must ask the question, “Why drop the charges now?” The timing could not have been worse on the heels of the George Floyd murder.

To this end, I call on all of our local pastors, both black and white, to hold prayer vigils, not just for justice for Ricky Ball, but also that our great nation will be healed by God, from this hatred and violence that has ripped us apart.

It must start now.

Fairness is the thread that weaves the fabric of justice. We hope that fabric covers us all in the United States of America.
How can justice be fair when it is tossed away like a day-old newspaper, expired and forgotten?

When the Mississippi Attorney General dismissed the charges against a Columbus Police Officer, she became the judge and jury. Without the presentation of both sides of the case, she tossed away justice in this case.

Justice always demands a fair accounting of both sides of a case. There are still two sides to every story. Why would the highest-ranking law enforcement official in the State of Mississippi believe justice would be best served by throwing away the opportunity to hear evidence in a public courtroom before a jury of peers?

No stretch of the imagination could believe this is justice. After five years of investigations, thousands of pages of documentation, countless hours of interviews, and even an indictment by a Grand Jury, the Mississippi Attorney General throws it out, expired, and forgotten.

My condolences to the family of Ricky Ball in this case and the family of George Floyd. It has never been more difficult than now to serve as a police officer. We support and respect the difficult job they do each day.

Justice seeks the truth and nothing else. Now no one will ever know the truth because it will never be heard before a jury of peers.

Now we will never know.

Ricky Ball died in a tragic incident five years ago. Justice on this case died May 29, 2020.

Robert Smith, Sr., Mayor of Columbus

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