Mayor reviews city policy on criminal investigations after city councilor Pierre Beard is arrested for domestic violence

COLUMBUS, Mississippi (WCBI) – Mayor Keith Gaskin says he’s looking at how the Columbus Police Department and City Court handled the arrest of City Councilor Pierre Beard for domestic violence.

“Because he is an elected official and this is being managed within the city at the moment, we make sure that all policies and procedures are applied,” said Mayor Gaskin. “One of the things I discovered is that we don’t really have a lot of written policies. “

Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton said officers were called to the Beard’s Byrnes Circle home around 6 p.m. Thursday.

Police said Beard and his wife had an argument that night when a gunshot was fired in their backyard.

“There could be times when the city police department would arrive, secure the scene, and then the sheriff’s department could be called in to take over the case at that point,” the mayor said. “That is not what happened in this case.”

No one was injured, but Beard left the scene before law enforcement arrived.

He surrendered on Friday afternoon and City Court judge Rhonda Hayes Ellis ordered his detention until 10 p.m. at the adult detention center.

“I believe that the judge who held the hearing, originally in the municipal court, has already requested that the next hearing take place in the Court of Justice,” said Mayor Gaskin.

In the meantime, the mayor says he is in the process of collecting what rules are in place at the town hall and the police department regarding criminal investigations of elected municipal officials.

“I don’t know if there has ever been a policy that has dealt with this completely,” he says. “I was told that there used to be different policies within the police department.

He says his main concern is to ensure that there is no conflict of interest at any level regarding Beard’s arrest.

“When you are mayor or a member of the council, you have direct authority over the hiring, firing and fixing of the salaries of the police officers, the chief of police, judges, city attorneys, anything that comes under the competence of the mayor and City council. “

Beard has served on city council since 2019. He was released on bail Friday night with orders to stay away from his wife until a hearing can be held on the merits of the case.

“I can assure citizens that we are doing everything we can to make sure this has been dealt with and will be handled properly,” Gaskin said.

Mark M. Gagnon