JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Family and friends of a youth basketball coach called for swift justice Tuesday against two Mississippi sheriff’s deputies accused of assaulting their son after a recreational league game and causing injuries that led to his death. Hinds County Sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Adams was charged with murder in Monday’s death of 25-year-old Justin Griffin.
Adams, 37, was refereeing a 7th-grade AAU state tournament game Griffin was coaching on Sunday. The two argued over play calls on the court and later Griffin was attacked in the parking lot outside, police said.
Griffin died from blunt-force trauma to the head from injuries in the fight, said Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham-Stewart.
“We believe this was an unprovoked act of aggression as a result of our investigation,” Assistant Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “That’s why we charged him with the murder.”
Adams is jailed after being denied bond Tuesday. A second unnamed deputy in uniform, working as a security guard at the gym — is being investigated. Vance said police are consulting prosecutors about charges.
Both deputies are suspended without pay pending an internal investigation by the sheriff’s office, said Othor Cain, spokesman for Hinds County Sheriff Tyrone Lewis. Lewis will ultimately decide whether either deputy is fired, though Cain said he couldn’t say when the investigations would be finished. James Griffin, Justin Griffin’s father, disputed accounts by authorities that his son started the fight.
Dozens of people gathered at Griffin’s home Tuesday evening, saying they wanted to uphold Griffin’s reputation.
“He was assaulted and killed by the guys who were supposed to be protecting him,” the father told reporters Tuesday. “My boy was not a thug. We raised him and we raised him right.”
Hours after Griffin died, police arrested Adams, who did not make his initial appearance in open court. Court personnel said he was privately arraigned by Jackson municipal Judge William Walker in a hallway. It was unclear Tuesday whether Adams had an attorney. Vance said that from reviewing “two or three” partial videos of the scene, it’s clear the second deputy participated in the assault.
But he said it’s not clear whether murder is the right charge.
Julian Pickett, a fellow coach and longtime friend of Griffin, said the coach did complain vocally about Adams’ officiating during the game. He also said that Adams had officiated previous games in ways that Pickett and Griffin found unfair.
Pickett, though, said the team, the Kingdom Warriors, came from behind to win Sunday’s game. Then he and Griffin watched another game that Adams officiated without saying anything. Vance said surveillance video shows Griffin was walking out of the Mississippi Basketball & Athletics facility when Adams came out behind them with the second deputy.
Pickett said Adams grabbed Griffin and when he pulled free, the security guard reached for an electronic stun gun. Pickett said he tried to intervene, but Adams pursued Griffin.
“Justin swings; he swings; he hit him,” Pickett said of Adams. “Justin went down and he just stood there.”
Pickett said he took video of part of the assault on his mobile phone, one of the videos that police have reviewed. Dwayne Pickett, Justin Pickett’s father, said family and friends had to pursue police Sunday and Monday to press charges.
Mississippi Basketball & Athletics facility in north Jackson is run by the nonprofit Mississippi Basketball and Athletics Foundation. The facility offers camps, clinics and training in basketball, volleyball and physical fitness.
No one was present at the gym Tuesday morning, and a telephone call was answered by a recording that said the voice mailbox was full.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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