UPDATE 06-04-13 — 7:55 A.M. EST: NewsOne spoke with NAN member Walter Shinn, and Debra Simmons is still in jail.
Debra Simmons, 55, vice-president of the Mississippi Chapter of the National Action Network (NAN), the civil rights organization founded by Rev. Al Sharpton, was violently pushed to the ground, held down and tasered at a civil rights rally in Natchez, Mississippi by deputies of the Adams County Sheriff’s department.
Simmons and members of NAN traveled to Natchez to throw full support behind Glennese Smith Scott, 33, a social worker and author of the book, “Surviving A Thousand Deaths,” who is in the midst of an uphill court battle against the Sheriff’s Department for abuse — and negligence — she allegedly suffered at their hands that caused her to miscarry twins.
“It is truly a disgrace how the Adams County Sheriff’s department turned a peaceful rally into something ugly and utterly violent,” said NAN member, Crystal Jackson. “This was the point of the rally, to address [Scott’s] mistreatment by this department and they did not fail to prove themselves worthy of their allegations!”
Read more details of Scott’s case from press release below:
November 2, 2003, she was allegedly told by law enforcement officers that she was a fugitive from justice – stemming from a shoplifting charge in Louisiana – and subsequently arrested and detained for seventeen days by the Adams County Sheriff’s Department.
Complaining of feeling ill to officers on duty, and eventually writing a letter to the captain on duty explaining that she might be pregnant, Scott says that she was consistently ignored and forced to suffer behind bars for weeks. It wasn’t until November 18, 2003, the day that Scott claims to have fallen unconscious after complaining of dizziness and weakness, that the Adams County Sheriff’s Department was forced to pay attention.
But her nightmare was just beginning.
“When I came to I was being handcuffed and my ankles were in restraints,” Scott recalls in a haunted voice throbbing with anger. “And I was driven by deputies in a police car to Natchez Regional Medical Center.
“During my visit to the emergency room, I found out that I was in fact pregnant with twins and I was told that I was threatening a miscarriage and I had a urinary tract infection. I was later released from the hospital back to the Adams County Sheriff’s Department. I was told a couple hours after returning to the jail that I was free to go home.
“On December 2, 2003, less than two weeks of being released from the jail I miscarried both babies one on the way to the hospital and the other at the hospital.”
Today’s rally in front of Natchez City Hall to protest Scott’s inhumane treatment was organized to seek justice; instead, the cruelty of Jim Crow terrorist tactics was in full effect.
According to eye-witnesses and NAN members, Simmons was viciously assaulted, tasered multiple times, then arrested — all for walking on the sidewalk.
“While rallying today, Ms. Debra Simmons was arrested and tazed for no apparent reason,” said Scott in an exclusive interview with NewsOne. “The Adams County Sheriff’s Department always mistreats people in our community and most are afraid to step out and stand up because of these actions. I, for one, am standing strong and firm about my case and refuse to back down until justice is served for me and others who are mistreated.
“Deputies Charles Sims and Walter Mackel held [Simmons] down and allowed a White deputy to taze her,” Scott added.
“The Sheriff Department did not read her rights to her, then tried to get her to break the law by getting off the sidewalk when the permit said to stay on the sidewalk,” said NAN member, Walter Shinn exclusively to NewsOne.
“The Adams County Sheriff’s Department are a bunch of thugs that do not respect the rights of its citizens,” Shinn continued. “To taser Debra Simmons, a NAN member, for helping the people of Adams County is just wrong.”
“It was so sad and I’m still shaken up about it,” said Scott. “But as a member of NAN, I will stand for justice and peace.”
Simmons remains in jail on $2,500 bond on charges of resisting arrest and picketing that interferes with government buildings, property, streets and sidewalks.
NewsOne contacted the Adams County Sheriff’s Department to inquire about their unnecessary use of force and the questionable veracity of Simmons’ charges. At the time that this article was published, there was no one available who was authorized to comment on the allegations.
This story is developing. Check back with NewsOne for updates.