Police Officers James White and Zack Moak of the Brookhaven Police Department were acting upon an arrest warrant for Marquis Flowers, a repeat offender when they were killed in the line of duty. One week later, a Highschool band’s halftime show mocked their deaths.
On Friday night, at Forest Hill Highschool, in Brookhaven, MS., at a football game, during the halftime show, students dressed as doctors and nurses used fake rifles to depict the execution of students dressed as police officers. The display took place one week after the slaying of the two officers.
The offensive performance caught the attention of Governor Phil Bryant who stated in response; “This is unacceptable in a civilized society. Someone should be held accountable.”
The Brookhaven Mayor Joe Cox spoke with the Mayor of Jackson, who responded that the Band director has been suspended. Further, the Mayor later apologized for the halftime show.
Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Errick L. Greene released a statement on Saturday.
“On behalf of the Jackson Public School (JPS) District, I want to offer my deep and sincere apologies for the performance by the Forest Hill High School band during Friday’s football half-time show in Brookhaven. Based loosely on the movie, “John Q,” the band’s performance depicted a hostage scene that included toy guns.
JPS has a great deal of respect and appreciation for our law enforcement partners. The band’s performance does not depict the values and people in our community, and was incredibly insensitive to the students, families, law enforcement officials and the entire Brookhaven community. For this we sincerely apologize to all, and we pledge to do better in the future.
We have taken some initial actions in response to this matter, and you have my commitment that we will investigate it fully and take additional appropriate action with respect to procedures and personnel.”
Blue Lives Matter National Spokesman Randy Sutton also weighed in on the matter;
“What in the name of God is going on in this city? The Band Leader allegedly creates the themes for the bands ‘performances’ and whoever this is clearly lacks any sense of morality or empathy and the fact that he/she is leading these high school students is unfathomable,” Sutton said. “It is just as disturbing that none of these students refused to participate and that their parents who must have known did or said anything to stop this madness!”
“Besides that whoever is responsible needs to be fired, the mere fact that this took place or was even dreamed up in the first place reveals the lack of humanity and empathy that many people have demonstrated towards the families and loved ones of two men who sacrificed their lives for these very same cretins who are pictured here,” he added. “Disgusting.”
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety released a statement citing their disappointment.
“The Mississippi Department of Public Safety is extremely disturbed by Forest Hill’s leadership approving and allowing their band to display a reenactment of violence against law enforcement at a high school football game in Brookhaven, MS. This is highly inappropriate considering the recent loss of two Brookhaven Police officers to senseless violence,” said Commissioner Marshall Fisher.
Fisher went on to add that there is no excuse for such an offensive performance.
“This only exacerbates the war against law enforcement in our nation. Mimicking acts of violence against law enforcement, or members of the public should never be condoned at a high school football game or any function whatsoever. The Governor’s School Safety Task Force is currently working to reduce school violence which is at an all-time high. I have to question whoever made this decision in regards to what message they are sending to our children.”
The Mayor of Jackson also released a statement regarding the performance.
“I offer my sincerest regrets to the Brookhaven community for the insensitivity that portrayed during the Friday evening halftime show. There is an active investigation into the circumstances that led to this performance,” said Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. “While I do not believe that there was a malice intent on behalf of the students that participated in this halftime show, I understand that we are ultimately not defined by the things that we set out to do, but rather how we respond to the things that actually do take place. It is the responsibility of adults to offer guidance to youth. Our students should have been instructed that this was neither the time or place for that performance.”
Jackson City Councilman Aaron Banks, a Forest Hill graduate, released this statement:
“As a councilman and graduate of Forest Hill High School, I deeply regret the performance of the Forest Hill High School Band this past Friday. It is very distasteful for us as a community of educators and leaders to not be aware, nor sensitive to the current negative portrayal and display of disrespect toward our Law Enforcement Community. We have to be very careful with what we allow, understanding that it was a presentation from the movie John Q, does not excuse the use of toy or play guns. Especially when so many students, teachers and first responders have lost their lives surrounding the same visual. It is my prayer, that we as a community we will continue to educate and foster an atmosphere conducive of a community who embraces and appreciates its law enforcement community and that we cast down anything that portrays the opposite. As leaders, we must evaluate the content of what we do, say and act out and what message it sends.”
The initial incident occurred when Flowers, who in 2012 was convicted of eight counts of auto burglary and conspiracy, did not appear for court in 2018 and a warrant for his arrest ensued. The officers engaged Flowers in a gunfight and were mortally wounded, Flowers is currently in the hospital, and will soon be charged for the slaying of the Officers, in addition to the previous charges.