Vicksburg Mayor Flaggs wants gun offenders wearing ankle bracelets

Published 10:03 am Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. wants anyone out on bond on a gun-related charge wearing an ankle bracelet.

“Anybody who gets arrested going forward, for any type of (gun) possession whether you discharge it or not, you have to wear an ankle bracelet until you come to court (for trial),” he said after the meeting.

Flaggs said the bracelet can help the city monitor the weapons offenders because it has a GIS system to help locate the individual.

His recommendation comes in the wake of two incidents involving shots fired at two different locations — Mattingly Street and the New Main Apartments on Alcorn Drive. No one was injured during either incident, he said. Multiple shots were fired during the Mattingly Street shooting, which occurred on Oct. 21.

Police have taken two juveniles into custody in the Mattingly shooting.

“I’ve had a long conversation with (County) Judge (Marcie) Southerland because we’re finding out it’s (the shootings) happening by juveniles with the assistance of adults,” he said.

He said Southerland will meet with City Attorney Nancy Thomas and City Prosecutor Kim Nailor to discuss the bracelets.

The city presently has an ordinance prohibiting people from discharging firearms inside the city limits. The penalty is 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. But there are other offenses involving firearms that Flaggs wants to make sure require the offender to wear an ankle bracelet that monitors their movements.

Municipal Judge Angela Carpenter said ankle bracelets are a condition of the bond for anyone charged with a firearm offense “whether they are on bond for a misdemeanor or a felony.”

She said offenders released on bond are reminded they cannot commit new crimes or have a firearm and are placed under a curfew.

“Typically, if it’s a young person, I’m going to give them a 5 p.m. curfew; 7 p.m. is the latest curfew,” Carpenter said. “If they’re working, they’re either home or working.”

She said municipal court officials are seeing an increase in gun cases coming before the court “and I’m also seeing younger defendants coming before me who have committed those types of offenses. At one time, they were 19-20-year-olds now I’m seeing 14-, 15-year-olds (who have been certified as adults).”

“I think the ankle bracelet is a great tool that we can use with more (video) cameras (in the city),” Flaggs said, adding he wants to meet with Thomas, Southerland and Circuit Judges M. James Chaney and Toni Terrett “to agree with me that anytime there’s charge involving a weapon — possession, stolen or whatever — that person has to put an ankle bracelet on.

“I believe in a small town like Vicksburg, we put an ankle bracelet on someone that touches a gun and is charged with a gun, it will help and I believe we can monitor those,” Flaggs said. “I think it will be a great tool for Vicksburg. I’m going to see what we can do to have the ankle bracelet follow the criminal; have the ankle bracelet follow that person.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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