The angry, grieving mother of a Greenwood homicide victim and the leader of a human rights organization are asking that a Greenwood police officer blamed for the 2017 mistrial of the alleged killer of the mother’s daughter be fired after learning the officer was recently reinstated to lieutenant.
“Justice has not been served. Right now I’m very upset with how this situation was handled,” said Gerald Emerson Rose, leader of the Atlanta-based New Order National Human Rights Organization.
Rose, along with Trevia Foreman, the mother of Lakeyla Broom, held a press conference Tuesday on the front steps of the Leflore County Courthouse. Some members of the Nation of Islam also were present.
They were there to protest the city’s decision to reinstate Jeri Bankston to the rank of lieutenant in the police department.
Broom, a hospice nurse and mother of three, was fatally stabbed in September 2014 in her West President Avenue residence. She was 29. Her husband, Edward Broom, was charged with murder.
Bankston, at the time an acting lieutenant within the police department’s detective division, was the chief investigator on the case as well as the prosecution’s lead witness during the fall 2017 first-degree murder trial.
Two days after testimony from the prosecution’s witnesses, Circuit Judge Carol White-Richard declared a mistrial after she discovered that Bankston, during a break in her testimony but still on the witness stand, had been texting then Assistant District Attorney Trish Rodgers. Rodgers had also texted Bankston back.
White-Richard ultimately threw out Broom’s murder indictment, adding that he couldn’t be tried again since that would violate the constitutional ban on double jeopardy.
Broom, who spent two years in the Leflore County Jail, was released in February 2018.
Following the mistrial, Mayor Carolyn McAdams had Bankston demoted from acting lieutenant in the detective division to a sergeant in the patrol division.
Rodgers left the District Attorney’s office in April 2018.
In early November of this year, Foreman told the Commonwealth she had spoken with Ray Moore, who was then the chief of police. Foreman said she was told that Bankston could possibly be reinstated as a detective but would not handle murder cases.
Moore declined to comment on this, but the mayor confirmed it.
On Tuesday, the mayor said Bankston was reinstated last month as a lieutenant but still within the patrol division. According to McAdams, Bankston wrote Moore a letter saying she wanted to stay in that division, and he granted her request.
That news did not sit well with Foreman. Bankston “just doesn’t need her job, period,” Foreman said. “I can’t get my daughter back.”
“No justice has been done.”
Following the press conference, Rose, Foreman and the members of the Nation of Islam approached McAdams at her office in City Hall, where they expressed their displeasure with Bankston’s reinstatement.
McAdams said she understood Foreman’s frustration and explained that Foreman would have to contact her attorney to consider an appeal.
“I am not the law. I am only the mayor,” McAdams said.
The mayor also acknowledged the mistake Bankston made while on the witness stand but also emphasized that several other people also had made mistakes. McAdams then offered to call Dewayne Richardson, the district attorney, on Foreman’s behalf regarding an appeal.
After the meeting, Rose said of the mayor that “we are going to hold her to her responsibility.”
Foreman said she was displeased with the mayor’s statements and again said Bankston “doesn’t need a job with the city anymore.”
Foreman, a Leflore County native, now lives in Memphis. She and Rose said they plan to come back to Greenwood soon to continue to protest the city’s actions until Bankston is off the police force. “We’re going to come down here once a month to have protests and rallies,” Rose said.
•Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.