Daren Freeman, former Bay St. Louis Police Chief, resigned Monday after allegations of police brutality were raised against him.
However, through it all the community remains supportive of its police and their reputation.
Lulu’s Restaurant in old town Bay St. Louis has been a bright beacon for the city’s comeback from Hurricane Katrina and citizens take pride in what has become of the city.
“It's a lovely walkable community. Lots of stuff going on,” Nancy Moynan said.
The community is no stranger to having to rise up against adversity, including the news of Freeman resigning amid allegations of excessive force against a handcuffed suspect.
“I just heard about it so I'm still a little flabbergasted,” Moynan said.
New Mayor Mike Favre declined an on-camera interview with Eyewitness News but explained that he was approached last week by another law enforcement agency regarding body camera video that showed Freeman during a drug bust investigation. In the video from May, the mayor said Freeman can be seen with one hand on the suspect’s face and another hand on the man’s chest, in what he described as a restraining position.
The body camera video has not been made public yet, thought WWL-TV has requested a copy of it.
Favre said after confronting Freeman with the video, they both decided that Freeman’s resignation would be best for the city.
“There are a lot of regrets. Some tough decisions had to be made in this situation, but I’m looking forward to moving this department and city forward,” Favre said.
Freeman did not respond to a request for comment, but the community says it is confident the police department Freeman is leaving behind will emerge as strong as it was before.
“He came in here and did some wonderful things with the police department and I would assume that will not go away,” Moynan said.
The mayor says Detective Sgt. Matt Issman will be running the police department's day-to-day operations as acting chief.
In August 2016, long-time Police Chief Mike Denardo committed suicide in the station parking lot. It was later revealed that he was being investigated for weapons sales and payroll fraud.
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