LEXINGTON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and Lexington citizens hope change will be on the way for the city’s police department.

Last week, officials with the Justice Department announced they have opened a civil pattern or practice investigation into the City of Lexington, Mississippi, and the Lexington Police Department (LPD).

According to officials, the investigation will seek to determine whether there are systemic violations of the Constitution and federal law. They said the focus will be on the police department’s use of force and its stops, searches and arrests. It will assess whether those activities are reasonable, non-discriminatory and respect the right to engage in speech and conduct protected by the First Amendment.

Cardell Wright, president of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party said they spoke with the police department several times to address issues in the community, but they said nothing was done.

“The citizens of Lexington, Holmes County, Mississippi, has been victimized, brutalized, terrorized and tortured by the actions of the Lexington Police Department and the inactions of our elected officials,” Wright stated.

He also said more people in the community want to see change.

“We have been dealing with this for so long. Fear has set in among our citizens. People are fearful to leave out of their homes. People are fearful to be approached by the police department of fear of being beat or hosed or tortured or arrested falsely or put false charges up on them or arrested for nothing at all,” Wright said.

Individuals with relevant information can contact the Justice Department via email at Community.LexingtonMS@usdoj.gov or by phone at (833) 610-1232. Individuals can also report civil rights violations regarding this or other matters using the reporting portal of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division at www.civilrights.justice.gov. 

Individuals can also report civil rights violations to the U.S. Attorney’s Office at USAMSS.civilrights@usdoj.gov or (601) 973-2825.