A man who lives near downtown Jackson recorded a video of Pearl police dropping off the woman. He said he confirmed she was homeless. On Wednesday, Disability Rights Mississippi released a statement calling these actions “unconscionable.”
“This is unconscionable. This practice of officers moving individuals across the borders of cities instead of ensuring she received the assistance she needed is dangerous and inhumane; it is also, to put it simply, lazy. It is difficult to witness this ‘not my problem’ attitude in action from those who are tasked with protecting our communities—including the individuals living in our communities who need mental health support.”
Greg Flynn with the city of Pearl said the officers were giving the woman a common courtesy ride to Jackson to keep her from having to continue to walk on Highway 80.
He said they stopped and asked her where she was going. She told them she was going to a bus station in Jackson. When asked if she needed a ride, Flynn said the woman told the officers she needed one.
Flynn said the officers dropped the woman off at the former Greyhound bus station parking lot on Lamar Street in Jackson, because they thought this was the bus station she needed to go to. Being unfamiliar with the capital city, the officers didn’t know the Greyhound bus station isn’t in service anymore. Flynn added the officers didn’t know if she was homeless or not.
Flynn said the city of Pearl doesn’t have the resources to house the homeless just organizations to provide food and clothing.
“If they say, ‘I’m homeless, and I need to get to a homeless shelter,’ we will take them directly to the homeless shelter in Jackson because that’s where they are. If there were any other places to take them, we’d love to. But, as of right now the resources available are in Jackson,” he stated.