Harrison County

‘They used excessive force. Police brutality,’ he wrote. A judge did not agree.

Jvar Vontou Pope
Jvar Vontou Pope

Contumacious is not a word you hear every day. In legal terms, it means rebellious, insubordinate, refusing to obey an order of the court.

That’s why a federal judge has dismissed a police brutality lawsuit filed by Jvar Vontou Pope, who claimed Bay St. Louis and Gulfport police used excessive force when they arrested him Aug. 12, 2016.

That’s the day Pope was arrested in connection with a triple shooting and armed robbery while three men were hanging out on a city street in their North Gulfport neighborhood. Mitchell Weathersby, 54, died of his wounds. Police said Weathersby’s brother and a friend were severely wounded.

Pope is one of two men who were sought in the shooting. Police identified him as the triggerman, a court paper says.

Pope had sought $500,000 in his lawsuit, which he filed himself Oct. 24, 2016, without an attorney’s help.

He named as defendants Bay St. Louis and Gulfport police. His handwritten complaint said, “They used excessive force. Police brutality. Custody control and care. There was no medical treatment by Harrison County. The beating has affected my daily activities.”

The complaint gave no details. So the court asked him for details.

Pope failed to comply with three court orders after being warned several times that failing to comply could result in a dismissal, U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden wrote on Thursday.

Pope had last contacted the court Dec. 22, 2016. He said he had asked the police departments to give him information and name the officers, and that the jail medical unit had documented he had scars and wounds.

Ozerden dismissed the case without prejudice, meaning Pope could file his complaint again in the future.

At the time of his arrest in 2016, he was on probation for convictions on residential burglary and accessory after the fact to a driveby shooting from arrests in 2010 and 2013. His probation was revoked. His tentative release date from prison is Oct. 27, 2021.

A Harrison County grand jury has indicted Pope and an alleged accomplice on charges of murder and two counts each of aggravated assault and armed robbery. He has not yet gone to trial.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews