NAACP president: Cops target May Day event

Published 1:24 am Tuesday, May 20, 2014

An Opp event originally coordinated to celebrate African Americans’ freedom from slavery is itself being infringed upon, according to a spokesman for the local chapter of the NAACP.

Aaron Bogan, president of the Covington County NAACP, was present at Monday’s Opp City Council meeting where he told council members police were “targeting” the crowd at the event, which was held over the Mother’s Day weekend at the baseball fields on Hardin Street.

“It’s not the Opp Police Department,” Bogan said. “They did what they said they would do, which is not bother people, but come if we needed them for something. It’s everybody else, from DTF, to ABC to the sheriff’s department just harassing the people there.”

Bogan said he didn’t understand why the “hundreds of extra police” converge on the May Day event, and not others like it around the county.

“I could understand it if they did it for all the big stuff in the county, but they don’t,” he said. “We believe we’ve been discriminated and we believe we are a target. The NAACP is fed up and we are looking into this.”

Bogan also questioned how various law enforcement agencies paid for the “overtime” hours for officers to work the event. Opp Mayor John Bartholomew said the city had no ties to any agencies that were present, with the exception of the OPD.

In other business, the council:

• approved the renewal of a $300,000 line of credit at Southern Independent Bank as an unsecured loan, with an interest rate for one year set with a floor of 4.00 percent, and the city to pay a $250 processing/closing fee; and

• approved the declaration of a Massey Ferguson 283 model tractor as surplus.