No reason given for Bay police chief’s resignation, but mayor says an arrest video was discussed

Bay St. Louis mayor Mike Favre said he accepted Daren Freeman’s resignation with ‘some regrets.’
Bay St. Louis mayor Mike Favre said he accepted Daren Freeman’s resignation with ‘some regrets.’ Sun Herald File

Daren Freeman, the city’s police chief for eight months, has turned in his resignation, a decision Mayor Mike Favre said he “accepted with regrets.”

Freeman was director of internal affairs for the Mississippi Highway Patrol before he became the city’s police chief Jan. 3.

No reason has been given for his resignation, which Favre confirmed late Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday, Favre confirmed he and Freeman discussed a videotaped drug arrest from May that apparently has stirred up rumors. The tape reportedly shows Freeman with one hand on a suspect’s chest and his other hand holding the person’s face down.

Freeman could not be reached for comment. He will remain with the police department for an undetermined amount of time.

The Sun Herald has filed a public records request for the video.

Freeman was hired to fill the position vacated by the Sept. 8, 2016, suicide of Chief Mike De Nardo. Officials have said De Nardo was under investigation for alleged gun sales and payroll fraud. Police Capt. Wes Mayley served as interim chief until the city hired Freeman.

After Freeman was hired, he said he planned to move the beleaguered department to a new era of high morale and with elite law enforcement standards. Freeman said he aimed to keep morale and standards high. He said some people had resigned and others were terminated after he took office.

Favre, in a written response, told the Sun Herald he has appointed staff to oversee day-to-day police operations and has started the process to recruit and hire a new chief.

“It is my intent to actively seek a replacement for our city’s top law enforcement position so that the Bay St. Louis Police Department has a leader that will further its mission of serving our citizens with integrity,” Favre wrote.

“It will be my top priority to find a candidate that is qualified and supportive of my administration’s commitment to accountability, responsiveness and transparency.”

Sun Herald social media editor Justin Mitchell contributed to this report.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews