After two MS police officers were killed in the line of duty on Sept. 29, a high school band used a halftime presentation to reenact the incident from a negative perspective, leaving many criticizing the display.
During the halftime performance of a football game on Oct. 5 between Forest Hill High School and Brookhaven High School, members of the Forest Hill band recreated a scene where students dressed up like nurses, doctors, and police officers, using phony guns to simulate the shooting scene of the two SWAT officers, WLBT reported.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant tweeted, “This is unacceptable in a civilized society. Someone should be held accountable.”
This is unacceptable in a civilized society. Someone should be held accountable. https://t.co/hq3hJnj4xA
— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) October 6, 2018
Brookhaven Mayor Joe Cox apologized for the presentation and said the Forest Hill band director has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.
On Saturday, Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Errick L. Greene released a statement:
On behalf of the Jackson Public School (JPS) District, I want to offer my deep and sincere apologies for the performance by the Forest Hill High School band during Friday’s football half-time show in Brookhaven. Based loosely on the movie, “John Q,” the band’s performance depicted a hostage scene that included toy guns. JPS has a great deal of respect and appreciation for our law enforcement partners. The band’s performance does not depict the values and people in our community, and was incredibly insensitive to the students, families, law enforcement officials and the entire Brookhaven community. For this we sincerely apologize to all, and we pledge to do better in the future. We have taken some initial actions in response to this matter, and you have my commitment that we will investigate it fully and take additional appropriate action with respect to procedures and personnel.
“What in the name of God is going on in this city? The Band Leader allegedly creates the themes for the bands ‘performances’ and whoever this is clearly lacks any sense of morality or empathy and the fact that he/she is leading these high school students is unfathomable. It is just as disturbing that none of these students refused to participate and that their parents who must have known did or said anything to stop this madness!,” Blue Lives Matter National Spokesman Randy Sutton said in a report.
“Besides that, whoever is responsible needs to be fired, the mere fact that this took place or was even dreamed up in the first place reveals the lack of humanity and empathy that many people have demonstrated towards the families and loved ones of two men who sacrificed their lives for these very same cretins who are pictured here. Disgusting,” Sutton added.
After a photo made its rounds on social media of Forest Hill High School band’s halftime show at Brookhaven High School last night, a video clip has now surfaced on Facebook, without audio.
It shows the moment when students held up fake guns toward others on the field. #wlbt pic.twitter.com/jip9O5w3tw
— C.J. LeMaster (@CJLeMaster) October 6, 2018
The photos that were taken during the performance have gone viral on social media with one Facebook post seeing more than 900 shares.
The incident unfolded on Sept. 29, when Brookhaven Patrolman James White, 35 and Corporal Zack Moak, 31, responded to a call about 5 a.m. of shots fired.
The officers were fatally shot by 25-year-old Marquis Flowers, who was shot by one of the officers and remains hospitalized.
Flowers has a long criminal record and is known by police. He was sentenced to eight counts of auto theft and conspiracy in 2012, and while he received a partially suspended sentence, it was rescinded in 2015 after he violated the terms.
Flowers was released on parole in 2016, but he stole a car and absconded. He was jailed in 2017, but was released on bond.
After not appearing in court, a warrant was issued for his arrest and was in place when he shot and killed the two officers.
“We answer those calls many times, and nothing ever happens. One hundred times — just that one time is all it takes. Two heroes lost their lives this morning. They are in the presence of Jesus right now,” Chief Kenneth Collins said at the time. “I want the families to know that we’re going to keep on doing what we do, in Jesus’ name,” Chief Collins said.