Minden Press-Herald

Tuesday
Sep 30th

Officer remains under scrutiny

Wallace to Town of Sibley: ‘We aren’t going away’

Rev. Kenneth Wallace wanted to make it clear to Sibley Town Council that he isn't going away.

Wallace, president of Minden National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), revisited his complaints against beleaguered Sibley Police Officer Daniel Waites at their November 8 council meeting.

After being given the floor by Sibley Mayor Jimmy Williams, Wallace read from a prepared statement.

"(We) are here (...) to address the legitimate complaints, very legitimate we feel, by numerous citizens against Off. Daniel Waites."

Wallace said the city was doing nothing about complaints against Waites hoping the situation would disappear.

"You said we haven't done anything," Williams said. "We had a meeting and they filed complaints with the chief. How are we trying to sweep this under the table if we had a meeting and came out with it?"

Referring to an investigation by Department of Justice official Rieta Forte, Williams said, "She told me that she had advised you that they have checked into this, and they can't find anything wrong."

Wallace denied having spoken with Forte about her investigation, saying he had only received a message.

"I'll call (Forte) and see if she can be here next month so she can tell everyone here what she told me and the mayor on the phone," said Sibley Police Chief Robinson. "That's what she does; she mediates between the town or police chief and concerned citizens. Will you be satisfied?"

"Satisfied? No, I won't be satisfied because I've seen the video on one of these investigations," Wallace said, referring to an alleged cell phone video of his son's arrest.

"You said you called Ms. Forte first yourself to investigate this," Robinson said. "She says there's no problem here."

"The man who started it all off lies," Wallace said, referring to Waites. "That's the main point. You're trying to ignore that."

Robinson pointed out that no one's fate rested entirely in Waite's hands, and that a judge would always have the final say.

"So where does it end?" Williams asked.

"Maybe with a protest out here," Wallace said referring to the parking lot outside.

"My son is in college doing well ... has not got into any trouble ... is on the honor roll," Sharon Wallace said. "And the last thing he needs is a false report."

She also mentioned a video in her possession which would exonerate her son.

Robinson pointed out that nothing was on her son's record until he was convicted.

"We will call the state police and see if they'll take it," Williams said referring to investigation of Waites. Williams said he was told they may or may not choose to investigate if asked.

Williams then returned the floor to Sharon Wallace.

"I just want to make sure my son doesn't have anything on his record that he didn't do," she said. "We have video showing that he didn't do anything wrong."

"You are going to take that to the court?" Robinson asked.

"We have no choice," Sharon Wallace responded.

Discussion then turned to the camera failure in Waite's car. Robinson said the camera had known issues before it was assigned to Waites.

He also said he had instituted a new policy that a camera must be used at all times when a Sibley officer interacts officially with the public.

"We are looking at a head camera," Robinson said. "It wraps around the officer's ear or attaches to their cap and records everything he sees and hears and everything that's said."

He said they have been waiting six months for a demo and had finally received their first one.

"We know the judge has the deciding factor on this," Sharon Wallace said. "So what are you going to do if we win?"

"If (Waites) is proven to be wrong in a court; that he lied on a report, then I will reprimand him," Robinson said.

"I'm president of the NAACP and this is my job," Wallace said. "And as a minister I'm supposed to stand up for what's right no matter what."

Robinson asked Wallace if he received any complaints (about Waites) prior to the incident with his son.

"Did I receive any complaints? Yeah..." Wallace said.

"Then why wasn't anything brought to me before?" Robinson asked.

"Well, because that just vindicated what they were saying," Wallace said.

 

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