Punching police put on leave

Published 11:53 am Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The New Albany police officer who was seen on a video punching an Oxford man in the face during an altercation on Saturday during the Ole Miss vs. LSU game has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending a completed investigation by the University of Mississippi and the FBI.

The Ole Miss Police Department has asked the FBI to conduct an independent investigation of the incident involving a temporary officer and a fan during the Ole Miss-LSU football game on Nov. 21. FBI officials arrived on campus this afternoon to begin their review.

“We do not tolerate violent behavior on our campus, and our request for an independent FBI investigation should make it clear that we are taking this situation very seriously,” UPD Chief Tim Potts said.

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Chris Barnes of Oxford was charged with disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and resisting arrest. He was released about four hours after his arrest.

Barnes’ wife, Holly, posted a video after Barnes’ arrest on Facebook. She claimed her husband was wrongfully accused of something that was done by someone sitting a few rows behind him when officers approached them.

The video shows a verbal argument and two officers attempting to get the man to sit down and a struggle occurring although there are several people in the way. The video then shows one of the officers punching the man in the face.

The University of Mississippi Police Department released a statement Sunday morning saying the officer was not an officer with UPD. The officer, whose name hasn’t been released officially, was a police officer with the New Albany Police Department. He worked a special detail at the game to help with security and was paid by UPD.

“We will review the matter as more information becomes available,” said New Albany Police Chief Christopher Robertson. “Any inquiries about the investigation of the incident should be directed to the University of Mississippi.”

The FBI released a statement this morning confirming their involvement.

“The FBI is in touch with the University of Mississippi Police Department. We will review the incident and all pertinent facts and consult with the United States Attorney’s Office on the appropriate course of action,” said Jason Pack, supervisory special agent with the Jackson division of the FBI.

The Barneses also claim that Chris was left without medical attention after having obvious injuries to the face. He was held at the Lafayette County Detention Center for four hours before bonding out. Someone claiming to be a witness said Barnes was also involved in a fight while in the holding cell. A request for Barnes’ mug shot by the EAGLE was denied this morning.

“The incident with Mr. Chris Barnes at the Lafayette County Detention Center is under investigation therefore the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department has no comment at this time,” the sheriff’s department said in a written statement Tuesday.