Minden Press-Herald

Sep 30th

Sibley police officer under investigation

Sibley officials will investigate the conduct of a local police officer following concerns voiced by citizens during Tuesday's meeting of the town council.

Kenneth Wallace, president of the Minden branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was one of several residents at the meeting who made allegations of harassment against Sibley police officer Daniel Waites.

"I have received numerous complaints from Sibley and the surrounding area about unjust treatment and general harassment," Wallace said. "From traffic stops without probable cause, to telling people they can't drink beer in their own front yard to just the overall harassment of young black people."

Sibley Mayor Jimmy Williams said while he has received complaints about Officer Waites from the white community he has not received any from the black community, and that if there is a problem it should not be viewed with racial overtones.

"I will not tolerate anyone being harassed or mistreated," Williams told Wallace and the other concerned citizens in attendance.

To alleviate concerns and come to an amicable solution, Williams said he plans to hold a meeting with Sibley Police Chief Jeremy Robinson, the town's legal counsel and any concerned citizens.

While Wallace said he has a personal interest in the matter due to his sons being arrested "for no legitimate reason" during a traffic stop, he and the NAACP are concerned for the entire community.

"My second son was arrested just because he got out of the car and asked why he [Waites] was arresting his brother. We do not condone any lawlessness. If there is a legitimate reason that's one thing," Wallace said. "I can't help but wonder how many other people he has arrested just because he can."

Several other citizens relayed tales of what they perceived to be harassment including a young man, Demarcus Taylor, who said Waites broke up a recent gathering even though no complaints had been made.

Taylor, 21, said Officer Waites came by and told the group to turn its music down. A short while later he came back and told them the party was over and to disperse.

"We were on private property with no complaints," Taylor said. "No one was drinking or fighting or causing any trouble. There was no disturbance or issue."

Alderman John Langford and Alderman Robert Smart defended the local police department and its officers.

"The community wants the police to do their job," Langford said. "Not just sit in an office. I respect the police and if they tell me to do something once, there won't be a second time."

Smart said he had a recent gathering of 30 kids in his front yard and that Officer Waites came by to check on things like he was supposed to do.

Taylor complimented the town's other police officers.

"The bottom line is you got to give respect to get respect," Taylor said. "He is not giving it. The other police officers in town, they are good, they are doing their job. But when you have all these complaints on one person, evidently there is a problem."

Mayor Williams said there are always two sides to every story, and he knows Waites is a good police officer that may be just too "gung-ho."

"You put me here and I do take this seriously," he said. "We will look into this, and something good will come out of this."






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