Jackson County

Pascagoula mayor stands beside police in Moss Point chief’s traffic stop

Despite public comments, Pascagoula police officials have taken no action after their department’s involvement in the controversial traffic stop of former Moss Point Police Chief Art McClung.

In an interview Wednesday, Pascagoula Mayor Jim Blevins said he believes his police chief, Kenny Johnson, and Johnson’s officers made the best decision they could at the time.

“I firmly believe that our officers and our chief of police and our city manager used the data that they had at the time to make the best decision they could at that time, and I’ll stand beside what they decided to do,” Blevins said.

Officers said McClung was clocked driving 109 mph after drinking “at least three vodkas.”

After he was stopped, a patrol officer called his supervisor, who in turn alerted Johnson.

Pascagoula officers drove McClung home without citing or charging him.

Debate over the incident has been heated online. Many residents have asked why no action has been taken against the Pascagoula officers. Some commenters have defended the officers.

“I’ve had a few phone calls — people who were concerned about the decisions that were made in the city of Pascagoula, as well as in the city of Moss Point,” Blevins said, adding he had no opinion on how those decisions might reflect on the city.

He said he had not seen the video of the traffic stop and has no plans to do so.

“We have a city that is well-respected in the area of how the officers and how the businesses run, and I take great pride in talking about our police department,” the mayor said.

The debate heated up again Tuesday night after the Moss Point Board of Aldermen’s decision to terminate McClung’s employment less than a week after the Sun Herald exposed video footage from the traffic stop.

McClung had been indefinitely suspended without pay in a specially called emergency board meeting Aug. 30, hours after the Sun Herald’s exclusive report published online.

In an interview Wednesday, Pascagoula City Manager Joe Huffman, who is responsible for personnel issues, repeated his previous statements and said he has no intention of investigating the matter further as the city already has all the information regarding the incident.

Margaret Baker, Sun Herald staff writer, contributed to this report.

Wesley Muller: 228-896-2322, @WesleySMuller

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