Mississippi police officer Greg Capers has been placed on administrative leave after he shot and wounded 11-year-old Aderrien Murry in Indianola last Saturday, authorities say.
The shooting of an unarmed boy in his home after he had called 911 to report a domestic disturbance has triggered calls from family and the wider community for Mr Capers to be fired, and for a thorough Department of Justice investigation into the Indianola Police Department.
Aderrien’s mother Nakala Murry told a news conference she had asked her son to call 911 after her former partner showed up “irate” at the family’s home on BB King Road at around 4am on 20 May.
Ms Murry said that two officers arrived at around 6am and ordered everyone inside to come out.
Aderrien was following his mother out of the house when he was shot in the chest by a police officer in the living room. The police department later confirmed to CNN that Mr Capers had discharged his weapon.
Aderrien was airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries including a collapsed lung, fractured ribs and lacerated liver. Aderrien has since been released from hospital.
Family attorney Carlos Moore told The Independent that the city was stonewalling their requests for bodycam footage to be released, and had not offered an apology or an explanation.
Who is Greg Capers?
Greg Capers is a sergeant with the Indianola Police Department.
According to a social media account, Mr Capers is from West Monroe, Louisiana, where he formerly worked as a police officer, and lives in Indianola.
In 2016, he married LaShundra Fletcher-Capers. He has several children.
Mr Capers regularly posts on social media about his family, his religious faith, and has shared several photos showing his skills as a police marksman.
“The new no trespassing sign!” he wrote in 2021 next to a bullet-riddled shooting target.
A phone number listed under Mr Capers went unanswered on Friday. He did not respond to several messages.
On Mr Caper’s Facebook page, his brother Linton Capers said in a comment that the police officer was “hurting”.
“I don't know what happened and my heart goes out to this baby. But I know we were raised to do the right things in life. I'm sure my brother is hurting and more than sorry for what he did,” the brother wrote.
In May 2021, he was named Policeman of the Year by the police force, according to an article in Indianola’s local newspaper the Enterprise-Tocsin.
‘They shot first and asked questions second’
The Policeman of the Year award has been seized on by Aderrien’s family and representatives as a sign of institutional problems within the department.
At a news conference on Monday, Ms Murry held a sign that read “Your ‘best’ cop shot my baby” as she described trying to staunch the flow of blood from her son’s wounds.
On Thursday, Ms Murry and Mr Moore joined a small group of protesters outside of the city hall buildings calling for Mr Capers to be fired.
Mr Capers was placed on administrative leave at a meeting of the town’s Board of Alderman on Tuesday.
Mr Moore told The Independent he was pressing police and city officials for answers.
“We’re asking ‘what did you see and why did you shoot’?” Mr Moore said in an interview on Friday.
“I think they shot first and asked questions second. He doesn’t appear to be a man or anything, he’s a 4’10” little boy.
“There’s no way a trained officer should have feared for his life when an 11-year-old boy approaches with no weapon in his hands.”
Mayor Ken Featherstone has failed to respond to several requests by The Independent for comment.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has launched a probe into the shooting to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.