Coast alderman sues Moss Point mayor for $1 million over threats, assault at meeting

A Moss Point alderman is suing Mayor Mario King for at least $1 million over allegations of harassment and threats to have the alderman “forcibly” arrested after he questioned the expenditures of King and his administration.

Alderman Ennit Morris filed the lawsuit June 9 in Jackson County Circuit Court, naming King as a defendant in both his individual and official capacity.

In the suit, Morris claims that since King has taken over the current administration, he has continuously “disrupted the proceedings” of the monthly board members, including when alderman and the mayor meet in executive sessions with board attorney Amy St. Pe.

The alleged abuse Morris said he endured culminated in a closed-door meeting Dec. 4, 2018.

At the executive session — which is always monitored by an on-duty Moss Point police officer — Morris said King tried to have him arrested and the officer, acting as a sergeant at arms, placed his hand on Morris as if to forcibly remove him from the meeting.

At that point, the suit says, St. Pe ordered the police officer to take his hand off Morris and told King his push to have the alderman arrested or removed was “out of line and improper.”

Other allegations include that King has been engaged in an ongoing “campaign to exclude” Morris from meetings and events that are part of the alderman’s duties.

Morris alleges he was the victim of unreasonable use of force, search and seizure, assault and battery, denial of freedom of speech and deprivation of civil rights.

He is asking for a jury trial.

In addition to an award in excess of $1 million, the alderman is requesting the damages also cover any and all attorneys fees and court costs.

A lawsuit represents only one side of an allegation.

The Sun Herald has reached out to King and St. Pe for comment, but have not yet heard back.

An allegation of potential wrongdoing is not a first for King.

On Oct. 20, 2017, King and his wife were arrested on misdemeanor charges of domestic violence simple assault.

The pair were accused of assaulting one another at their Moss Point home.

The trial ended in the case’s dismissal after King and his wife refused to testify against one another during their a trial in Jackson County Justice Court.

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Margaret Baker is an investigative reporter whose search for truth exposed corrupt sheriffs, a police chief and various jailers and led to the first prosecution of a federal hate crime for the murder of a transgendered person. She worked on the Sun Herald’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Hurricane Katrina team. When she pursues a big story, she is relentless.