BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. — A Mississippi police chief has resigned amid questions about a videotaped drug bust.
Bay St. Louis Mayor Mike Favre said the video shows Chief Daren Freeman holding his hand on the face of a handcuffed person. The mayor said the video is months old, but he recently saw it for the first time. It has not been publicly released, but both WLOX-TV and the Sun Herald have filed public records requests seeking copies of it.
Freeman, a former director of internal affairs for the Mississippi Highway Patrol, resigned as police chief Tuesday after holding that job for eight months.
“He’s the police chief, and he’s held to higher standards in that department,” Favre said.
Bay St. Louis City Attorney Trent Favre said the video of the drug bust is not subject to disclosure now because of pending charges involving the suspects in it. The mayor said the city is not trying to hide information.
“The only reason it won’t be released is because of a legal standpoint, but if it’s allowed to be released, when it’s allowed to be released, we’ll turn it over to whoever wants a copy of it,” Mike Favre said.
A longtime law enforcement officer, Matt Issman, was named to lead the police department while officials search for a new chief.
Issman was a federal employee 23 years before retiring and working for Louisiana State Police. He was police chief at LSU’s Alexandria campus from 2011 to 2014 and has worked part-time for the St. Tammany Parish District Attorney’s Office and coroner’s office. He has been the detective sergeant for the Bay St. Louis Police Department since early this year.
“I believe in accountability, transparency, and former chief Freeman and I philosophically are very alike, and I plan to carry on a lot of the projects he started,” Issman told the Bay St. Louis City Council.
Mike DeNardo, who was the Bay St. Louis police chief at the time, killed himself in September 2016 soon after learning that authorities were investigating allegations he illegally sold city-owned firearms, including an assault rifle.