Columbus councilmen voted Tuesday in executive session to terminate one police officer and suspend another for violating the Columbus Police Department’s standard operating procedures.
A city source with knowledge of the situation told The Dispatch the council, in a unanimous vote, terminated Eric Potts and suspended Roger Tate for 14 days without pay for their conduct during a Nov. 11 police chase involving a stolen car that began in Louisville and ended in Columbus.
The source said Mississippi Highway Patrol officers were supposed to be leading the chase, but the two CPD officers “took it over” once it entered Columbus. Potts was on duty at the time, the source said, but Tate — who was off-duty — joined the chase of his own volition using his take-home patrol unit.
Once officers apprehended the suspect and had him on the ground, the source said, Potts reportedly placed his service weapon against the suspect’s head.
With the termination, an officer resignation accepted by the council and the approval of seven new hires Tuesday — pending successful drug screenings and medical examinations — the CPD has 66 total officers ready for duty, Chief Fred Shelton confirmed.
Potts has been with CPD since September 2015, according to human resources records.