A federal judge on Monday questioned the Noxubee County Sheriff’s Department’s motive for filing charges against a former reserve officer.
U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee delayed a hearing for 20 days, which also will delay the pending trial. The case was scheduled in Noxubee County Justice Court next week.
Former auxiliary deputy Kendrick Slaughter, 42, was arrested July 15 on charges of disorderly conduct, failure to obey a lawful order, reckless driving, driving on the wrong side of the road and failure to yield to blue lights. Slaughter’s lawyers and Justice Department officials allege the arrest is retaliation because he is a potential witness in a U.S. Department of Justice Voting Rights Act lawsuit against the county.
“This case presents some serious allegations that concerns the court greatly, especially your conduct, Mr. (Terry) Grassaree,” Lee told the Noxubee County chief deputy who was sitting on the front row in the courtroom. “The court doesn’t see any basis for these charges.”
Slaughter’s attorney, Joe Murray of Tupelo, said his client was targeted two days after the Justice Department named him a potential witness in its case accusing predominantly black Noxubee County of discriminating against white voters.
Two witnesses, including a deputy who was in the car with Grassaree, said they didn’t see Slaughter violate any traffic rules.