Article Comment 

Rumble in West Point: Mayor Scott Ross returns; man arrested

 

Harold Lathon lays on the floor of the West Point Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday night after refusing to leave the meeting and scuffling with law enforcement officers. Lathon eventually was wrestled into handcuffs and led from the room.

Harold Lathon lays on the floor of the West Point Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday night after refusing to leave the meeting and scuffling with law enforcement officers. Lathon eventually was wrestled into handcuffs and led from the room. Photo by: Tim Pratt

 

West Point Police Department Interim Chief Bobby Lane, left, and Sgt. Mark Stafford, center, attempt to escort Harold Lathon from the West Point Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday night after Lathon interrupted the meeting because he couldn’t get on the agenda.

West Point Police Department Interim Chief Bobby Lane, left, and Sgt. Mark Stafford, center, attempt to escort Harold Lathon from the West Point Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday night after Lathon interrupted the meeting because he couldn’t get on the agenda.
Photo by: Tim Pratt

 

 

Tim Pratt

 

WEST POINT -- A former mayoral candidate in West Point was arrested Tuesday night during the city''s Board of Selectmen meeting after he refused to obey commands to remain silent and then resisted law enforcement officers who attempted to remove him from the premises.  

 

Harold Lathon was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in front of a nearly packed meeting room at West Point City Hall. Lathon said he was upset because he requested a spot on the Board of Selectmen agenda to discuss economic development, but the request was not granted. 

 

City attorney Orlando Richmond said Lathon''s request for a spot on the agenda "was not sufficiently detailed in order to determine whether or not the information he wants to provide is appropriate for public consumption." 

 

Lathon, however, said selectmen have the authority to add him to the agenda, then criticized Mayor Scott Ross for making a statement at the beginning of the meeting regarding his leave of absence. Ross'' statement wasn''t on the agenda, so Lathon told the mayor he was "out of order" by addressing the public. 

 

Interim West Point Police Chief Bobby Lane warned Lathon to be quiet and then told the man to leave the room. Lathon refused to leave, however, and warned Lane and Sgt. Mark Stafford, who had arrived to escort Lathon from the premises, "Do not touch me." 

 

"Do not touch me," Lathon said, his voice rising. "I''m telling you now, I am not going outside. I am a voting citizen in the city of West Point." 

 

Lane told Lathon he was under arrest for disorderly conduct, but Lathon continued to warn the law enforcement officials not to touch him. When Lathon and Stafford attempted to place Lathon under arrest, a scuffle ensued and the police officers wrestled Lathon to the ground. He crashed into the front row of chairs and left citizens shaking their heads in disbelief. 

 

"Drag me out," he repeated. "Arrest me and drag me out." 

 

Lathon grabbed a chair, but police pried it from his fingers and turned him face-down. Police then placed Lathon''s hands behind his back and into handcuffs. He shouted in pain as he laid on his stomach and eventually was led from the room after the five-minute ordeal. 

 

Lathon had made his presence known before the meeting began, when Ross, who has been on leave since late October, arrived and walked onto the stage. Lathon raised his voice and cried out "A mockery" several times. Lathon also shouted several times that Ross'' statement wasn''t on the agenda.  

 

In the statement, Ross said his leave of absence was the result of "health concerns," but did not elaborate. 

 

"My physician has advised me to take personal time to address health concerns," Ross said. "I''m taking that advice and will return to my duties as appropriate." 

 

Ross criticized a recent story about his whereabouts in The Columbus Packet as "irresponsible reporting" and "speculation," and said he looks forward to returning to City Hall full-time as mayor. When that will be is still in question.  

 

"I''ll be back in to work as appropriate," Ross said after the meeting. "I''m back, but I''m not going to work full time right now."

 

 

 

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Reader Comments

Article Comment indian commented at 11/10/2010 1:53:00 PM:

geez i thought this was a columbus city council meeting??? any of them want to move over into our district would be right at home! what a disgrace!!!

 

Article Comment lorenza102053 commented at 11/10/2010 2:16:00 PM:

I agree with you "indian".....We have some of the most childish politicians in this area...they are an imbarrassing to watch and have people from other areas see how they behave....GROW UP

 

Article Comment preachermanjr commented at 11/10/2010 2:54:00 PM:

Okay a rumble in West Point Government, what else is new. Once you start telling lies and disrepecting the people who put you in office you can see once the smoke clear whose who. West Point don't feel bad it happening all around, and it has happen in West Point before, but this time it's a black man involved, but it wasn't published back then, because it was white on white.

 

Article Comment zenreaper commented at 11/10/2010 7:25:00 PM:

Okay, I am new to Mississippi politics, but I have a few observations. I do not know the backround story, but first of all, if you are elected to do a job, and your health dictates that you can no longer do that job appropriately for an undetermined amount of time, you step down. Also, if you are going to state that a CITIZEN may not speak at a meeting because they are not on the agenda, then you do not allow ANYONE to speak at the meeting that is not on the agenda. As for the reason why the gentleman (I use the term loosely, and will address that later) was not allowed on the agenda, you provide an EXACT reason, and a method of correcting the error or clarifying the request.

As for the guy who was arrested, he is not innocent either. When you are not permitted to be on the agenda, you request WHAT they need you to change, and you make the changes. And if it continues and they refuse you again, you go to the media with it, they LOVE that kind of stuff. If you DO show up at the meeting, while you may not respect the PEOPLE, you respect the PROCESS and the POSITION. If you DO choose to speak, you take the responsibility that comes with such outbursts, and when you are asked to leave, you LEAVE.

 

Article Comment preachermanjr commented at 11/11/2010 6:10:00 AM:

Politic is a dirty game, and if you're not in the click please stay out of it. Rules are rules and they are there for a reason. West Point be careful because this can come back to bite you. As far as Scott Ross the voters deserved the true explaination to where, what and when of the situation, that's been going on with there Mayor. Are you still there Mayor or not?
Harold Lathon be advised you have committed politic suicide, so my advice to you is leave it alone and moved on. You might never be allow to speak again, as of right now you have been black-ball {ostracize} by the people {white/black} in the city that you was raised in. It's not the members of the city board, but it's the voters who don't want a change. Many of the board members were not there when we were going through what we went through in the 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's, so many has got what they wanted, so you are fighting a losing battle, let it go.

 

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