EPD officer harassed at store

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By Brad Bowman

An Eminence Police officer went shopping with his family and received a level of customer service he didn’t expect.

On Thursday, Nov. 7, Lt. O.C. Jones, of the Eminence Police Department, accompanied his wife and 4-month old daughter to the Walmart in La Grange to get pictures developed.

While the family shopped, according to  a La Grange Police Department report, Charles A. Jackson II and a juvenile, both Henry County residents, approached Jones’ family.

“My wife and I were trying to do some shopping and ran into one of the boys I’ve arrested in the past and he wanted to confront me in front of my family,” Jones said. “I told him, ‘You need to go on Chucky, leave me alone and cool out. I’m here with my family and you guys need to go on and leave us alone.”

Jones said he calmly walked away from his family into another aisle, wanting to put some distance between Jackson, the juvenile and his family.

According to the report from Officer David Stratton of the La Grange Police Department, as well as Jones’ personal account, the juvenile got in front of Jones and took a picture of him with his phone. Jackson approached Jones from behind and started shouting.

“The older boy ran behind me and started making an accusation that I had hit the younger one,” Jones said. “I think they were trying to coach me into a violent act. One of the customer service managers tried to escort them out the door. They  (the employee) didn’t know I was an officer.”

According to Jones, Jackson and the juvenile then went to the Eminence Police Department and when they found they would have to wait until the morning to file a report, they returned to La Grange.

Stratton was dispatched to Walmart after the juvenile accompanying Jackson reported that an off-duty EPD officer had started yelling and grabbed him. The juvenile stated that Jones harassed his family and he wanted something done about it.

Stratton asked Whitney Lyell, a Walmart asset protection associate, to show him the camera footage of the incident. Upon reviewing the video, Stratton wrote that, ‘it showed the (juvenile) go up to Eminence Officer, O.C. Jones, and put his phone in his face and take a picture…Jackson ran up behind Jones and it looked like a verbal altercation took place.’

Strattton stated that at no time during the incident did Jones touch either of the males during the confrontation.

Stratton charged the juvenile with falsely reporting an incident and 2nd degree disorderly conduct. When the juvenile was placed in custody, Jackson started cursing Stratton according to his report. Stratton charged Jackson with 2nd degree disorderly conduct.

“It goes to show policemen get harassed too. It doesn’t happen very often but this is one of those incidents,” Jones said. “It’s a shame people can’t just go shop. (Police officers) see people we’ve dealt with all the time. Sometimes they apologize for what they’ve done and we try to give them advice and you have to worry 1 percent that want to retaliate.”