An organization representing chiefs of police from across the state of Mississippi are outraged at a Jackson-area high school band for putting on a show depicting police being held at gunpoint.
On Saturday, September 29, two officers with the Brookhaven (Mississippi) Police Department were killed in the line of duty during a shootout. Just six days later, on Friday night, October 5, the Forest Hill High School band depicted students dressed as doctors and nurses pointing toy guns at other students, dressed as SWAT team members, prone on the ground during halftime of the game at Brookhaven (pictured).
Natchez Mississippi Police Chief Walter Armstrong, who is president of the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police, expressed his outrage on the Fox News Channel.
"We are baffled at why someone would think that it's okay to allow children to be armed with AR-15s – although they were fake weapons – to hold law enforcement at bay," he shared. "We are very outraged, and that was a very distasteful performance that played out on the football field."
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant condemned the band's depiction, tweeting that it was "unacceptable in a civilized society" and that "someone should be held accountable." And an official with Forest Hill High school offered "deep and sincere apologies" for the halftime performance – for which Armstrong is appreciative.
"I think it's very important that the Jackson Public School District swiftly and aggressively took a stand; and my understanding is that the band director is on leave," stated Armstrong. "But again, for the life of me I don't know how this even ever happened. I don't know how the band director and perhaps others thought it was okay."
Armstrong hopes that this will be a teachable moment for those involved.