Once-fired policeman suspended from force

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Vicksburg policeman fired five years ago after allegedly assaulting a prisoner and ordered rehired has been suspended without pay for five days for an undisclosed violation of department rules.

The disciplinary action against Officer Clay Griffin was upheld on Monday by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, which voted unanimously to support the suspension in closed session after consulting with Police Chief Walter Armstrong.

Griffin was suspended for “not following procedures,” Armstrong said following the meeting. “There were some protocols that weren’t followed,” Mayor Paul Winfield said.

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But neither Armstrong nor any member of the city board would specify what rule Griffin broke.  “We’re very limited in what we can say about personnel matters,” Winfield said.

Attempts to contact Griffin were unsuccessful. He has 10 days to appeal the suspension to the Civil Service Commission.

Griffin, who began his career at the Vicksburg Police Department in 1987, was fired in February 2005 after a physical confrontation with Joseph Parson, a prisoner he was transporting between jail and court. Griffin removed Parson from a holding cell and pushed him against a wall after Parson threatened Griffin and members of his family, Griffin said at a Civil Service hearing that reviewed — and ultimately overturned — his dismissal.

Griffin rejoined the department later the same year.

Contact Ben Bryant at bbryant@vicksburgpost.com