Crime

Update: Sheriff says man threatened to shoot officers

Dwight Braswell
Dwight Braswell

An Ocean Springs man was in justice court Monday when he threatened to shoot any law enforcement officers who come on his property, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell said.

“By all accounts, this is a very dangerous man,” Ezell said Tuesday.

Ezell said the Sheriff’s Department had issued a high-alert bulletin to all law enforcement officials warning them to be careful around Dwight Ray Braswell, 39.

After a Feb. 13 arrest in a car chase, according to an affidavit, Braswell told another deputy, “I’m gonna break your neck.’”

On Monday, he went to justice court for an initial appearance on misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, trespassing and disorderly conduct stemming from an arrest early Sunday morning.

Deputies had arrested Braswell after learning of a possible peeping Tom at a Jackson County home. When they tried to take him into custody he resisted, the sheriff said.

After Braswell pleaded not guilty to those charges, Judge Matthew Lachaussee decided to let a grand jury decide if he should face a felony indictment on a charge of retaliation of a public servant.

The judge then sentenced him to 30 days in the Jackson County jail on misdemeanor offenses of DUI and no proof of insurance for an arrest Feb. 26 on Lemoyne Avenue, and reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries for a Feb. 13 arrest on Mississippi 57 following a car chase.

Braswell has a history of run-ins with the law. He was out of jail on bond on felony charges in Picayune. The Picayune Item reported Braswell was accused of leading officers on a car chase that started in Picayune and ended in Lamar County.

Suing Jackson County

In 2013, Braswell filed suit against Jackson County, then–Sheriff Mike Byrd and several jail deputies alleging he was the victim of civil and constitutional violations when deputies took him into custody, restrained him with a bag over his head and beat him. The suit says the abuse took place after he was taken into custody in Jackson County in April 2012 on misdemeanor charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Braswell also claimed he was put in a holding cell before he was taken to the hospital for a laceration. The suit says a deputy kicked him in the groin as he was getting out the patrol car at the hospital.

In April 2016, a federal jury found there was no evidence to support his allegations. By then, only three deputies were still part of the suit.

Suing Biloxi

In December, Braswell filed another federal complaint, this time against Biloxi and four of its officers, claiming he had been arrested Dec. 23, 2013, by use of “unreasonable, unnecessary and excessive” force when a Biloxi officer deployed his police K-9, Atlas, to help take Braswell into custody.

According to court records, a Biloxi officer had noticed Braswell acting “irrationally” and driving “erratically” in Biloxi. He led authorities on a chase although they used spike strips to try to stop him, the complaint says, but he kept going and drove to the Biloxi Police Department to surrender, the complaint said.

When he stopped, the suit says, the K-9 was deployed without reason to help get him out of his car. The dog, he claims, “repeatedly and severely” bit him on the arm as he sat in his car.

He said the dog attack continued after Biloxi officers dragged him from his car.

Braswell is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Margaret Baker: 228-896-0538, @Margar45

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