Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Seeing the Maye case picture: some demographics

Radley Balko at The Agitator has sorted out all the information he has collected and read, as well as that information he has received via several interviews he has done. His summary is here. This was what I was waiting for before entering the discussion. I must say Balko has done a fine job and lot's of scrolling is advisable..

There was other aspects of the case that I wanted, though -- like, how to appreciate events in Prentiss, Mississippi. Discussions of this case have included the how's and why's of such things as Officer Jones' involvement in the raid. In particular, Balko posted, an e-mail from a Canadian lawyer in which several protocols are mentioned and how the actions/events in the Cory Maye case differ from the protocols. For example, the lawyer noted that it is customary to have the assigned investigator not participate in the raid. So, it seems unusual he did. However, even if it seems unusual to a Canadian lawyer and me, should it seem so if you're in Prentiss?

Without further ado, here is some information I have found on the web that I think helps the picture. Prentiss is a Town in Jefferson Davis County, Mississippi. Here's the map. Now for some statistics:

Jefferson County (profile and map)
Population: 13,962 (2000)
Race/Ethnicity: White-41.7%, Black-57.4, Other-several negligible
County Seat: Prentiss
County Police Force: Officers-10, Other-8 (County Gov. Data Table)
Crime Data: Here (Caution)

Town of Prentiss (profile and map)
Population: 1,158 (2000); 1,074 (2003)
Race/Ethnicity: White-79%, Black-19.2%, Hispanic-1.5%, Other-several negligible
Town Police Force: Officers-5 (full time) & 3 (part time)

A couple of things. First, the Crime Data -- the page does not give a year for the stats. The page does note the data is reported, so I have more confidence it is real and not generated from equations for crime study/analysis purposes.

Now, I bring this stuff up and link to it so a better picture can be had of Prentiss and the county it is in. I added Jefferson Davis County stats, such as the police force because I do not know if there are overlapping jurisdictions and assistance efforts, due to the the small sizes of the police forces. Finally, while I don't like to consider race/ethnicity wrt this case (or any case), I cannot leave it out because it is not my world, I only live in it.

So, to get started in discussing the implications of the where's why's and how's of this case, I'll note just one thing for now, if this information is accurate. I am not much impressed with an argument that a Prentiss Police Officer in a K9 unit is, on it's face, somehow not qualified to be involved in a raid. Let me qualify that - that that officer is substantially less qualified than any one of the other officers on the raid. It may be the case that a Prentiss officer isn't but I'd have to have a better explanation that one does not normally have a more well rounded experience. Likewise, I would love to have better understanding of what, exactly, is a Prentiss (or for that matter a J-D County) SWAT team or Narcotics Task Force. There may be standard qualifications for those acronyms, but I think either these officers have well rounded training and several hats on the hook, or they just have several hats on the hook.

Another thing, I am interested in the jury selection procedures -- is it county wide, or only Prentiss. Knowing whether this was a county raid and county prosecution, all town, or combination would also be nice. I'm not a lawyer so that kind of information helps in my knowing the limits of my arguments.

Lastly, in a town of 1,074 people, don't the police pretty much know everyone? Was Cory Maye from Prentiss or J-D County, originally? How about, Jones? I wonder how many people are confidental informants in Prentiss .... okay, sorry, now I'm getting cynical ... I'll be back.

Update: Balko, in a post, here, has noted the case was not tried in Prentiss or even J-D County, but in Marion County. (This page has less data than the others.) Still and all, the information for Prentiss and Jefferson-Davis County is pertinent, I think, to the pre-trial aspects of the case.

Update II: Maye's apartment was in Town on Mary Street and Prentiss Police were not the only ones involved -- assistance was given by police from the Town of Bassfield (fifteen miles away) and the Bassfield Assistant Police Chief took part. I wonder what the makeup is of the Narcotics Task Force and how many police were involved in the raid on two apartments.

Posts on this subject:
2. Seeing the Maye case picture: some demographics
1. The Agitator's fomenting justice


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