Mississippi civil rights attorney arrested filming traffic stop, attorney says


JACKSON, Ms. (AP) – A Mississippi civil rights attorney was arrested Saturday after filming a traffic stop being conducted by officers from a police department who are suing her in federal court, her attorney says.

Jill Collen Jefferson is the President of JULIAN, the civil rights organization that petitioned federal lawsuit last year on behalf of a group of townspeople against the Lexington Police Department. Michael Carr, Jefferson’s attorney, told the Associated Press she was arrested late Saturday night after filming police officers after they pulled someone over.

The Lexington Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment via voicemails and phone calls.

Jefferson was arrested by the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division nine days after Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke traveled to Lexington to meet with community members about allegations of police brutality in the small town.

Jefferson’s lawsuit alleges that police subjected Lexington residents to false arrests, excessive force and intimidation.

“As her clients’ attorney, Jill Jefferson believes that this pattern and practice happened to the citizens of Lexington,” Carr said. “Through this experience, she is showing the state, the region, and possibly the nation, the corrupt practices of this city.”

Carr said Jefferson complied with requests for ID and asked why officers approached her while she was filming on a public street. She was arrested and charged with three counts: non-compliance, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Jefferson was being held at the Holmes County Jail, where she remains pending a court hearing, which was not scheduled as of Sunday morning.

Carr said Police Chief Charles Henderson eventually agreed to release her without posting bail. But Jefferson refuses to pay the $35 processing fee the prison charged for her release because she believes her arrest was unlawful.

Michael Goldberg is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to cover undercover topics. Follow him on Twitter at

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