TUPELO,(MISS)-- A member of the Tupelo Police Advisory Board says the situation with Wesley Wells at the Barnes Crossing Mall in Tupelo last Tuesday should have been handled differently.
Pastor Ron Richardson is a retired hospital chaplain at the North Mississippi Medical Center.
He has been on the Tupelo Police Advisory Board for the past three years he says. He had some very interesting things to say about the incident at the Barnes Crossing Mall last Tuesday involving Wesley Wells and the Tupelo Police.
"Whatever the good intentions were , whatever procedure they had been taught to take with this, it flew in the face of Wesley Wells." Richardson said.
Tupelo businessman Wesley Wells was handcuffed and planced in the back seat of a Tupelo police patrol car when he was mistaken for a wanted shoplifter.
Pastor Richardson said there are still some unanswered questions but he offered his view of what happened. "He is a black man and he was stopped by the police most likely put him on the defensive. And that defensiveness spelled fear to me. How he was going to be treated and how it was going to be like for him to have this interview with white police officers." he said.
As for Wells himself,Richardson wished he had responded differently as well. "I think what added insult to injury for Wesley, was that he refused to give his name . I wish that he had given his name in the very beginning." Richardson continued. "I wish that he had considered the fact that he was being stopped for a reason That he was not just being stopped to check him out." he continued.
Richardson said the incident is a sad one involving an innocent man.
He said police did not know him(Wells) and he did have on a white t-shirt and hat which fit the description of the shoplifter.
He said it shows there is still work for the police advisory board and others to do in light of the situation. "I just think that given the relationship between the black community and white community and the police department , we need to do more than just sit back and sweep this under the rug and hope it will be forgotten about." Richardson said.
Richardson also said that he would like to see Wesley Wells involved in furture community relations efforts with police.