Last Thursday, Greenville Police Chief Delando Wilson filed a motion for preliminary injunction against the City of Greenville in the Circuit Court of Washington County.
The introduction of Wilson’s motion for preliminary injunction states, “On Feb. 3, 2021, the attorney for the City of Greenville was contemplating contacting the Sheriff Department to physically remove Chief Wilson from the premises of the police department based on the city council’s acceptance of a non-existent resignation.”
Also detailed in the motion, is counsel (Renetha Frieson) for Chief Wilson’s assertion that she informed the city attorney that while “they do not concede to any alleged order of the city council accepting Chief Wilson’s alleged resignation,” she will instruct Wilson not to physically enter into the police department.
The motion alleges that the city council, at the behest of councilwoman Tasha Banks, has collectively engaged in unlawful conduct to force the resignation of Wilson and assistant chief Michael Merchant.
“The campaign to force the Chief and Assistant Chief Merchant gained traction after Chief Wilson refused the inappropriate advances of Councilwoman Banks and refused to allow councilmen to run the day-to-day activities of the police department,” the motion introduction concludes.
Outlined in the “factual background” section of the filing, are three overarching allegations by Wilson — Councilwoman Banks’ harassment and retaliation, councilmen’s attempt to interfere with day-to-day operations and city council’s invalid order of resignation.
At a Jan. 5 regular meeting, the city council voted unanimously to accept a letter of resignation from police chief Delando Wilson with an effective date that was to be determined and to authorize the mayor to develop a timeline and transition plan with the chief for the department.
Two weeks later, the city council voted unanimously to uphold the acceptance of resignation by Wilson and set the effective date at Jan. 31, 2021.
On Feb. 2, the city council entered order #21-024 which stated, “A letter of resignation was submitted and rather accepting notice of resignation from police chief Delando Wilson with an effective date to be determined and authorizing the mayor to develop a timeline and transition plan with the chief for the department.”
Following the order, the city council unanimously appointed Captain Dannie Graise as interim chief until such time as a permanent chief is named and selected by the council.
Wilson’s motion for preliminary injunction is seeking for the court to assume jurisdiction over the causes listed, in addition to granting relief from city council prohibiting Chief Wilson’s ability to execute his lawful duties as chief of police, attempting to enforce an invalid order of resignation and from engaging in unlawful behavior which violates the separation of powers doctrine under Section 21-21-1 and Article I Sections 1 and 2 of the Mississippi Constitution.
Wilson is also seeking for the court to award a judgment for petitioners’ costs, including reasonable attorney’s fees, incurred in connection with this matter and award petitioners all such other and further relief as the court deems just and proper.
Hon. Margaret Carey-McCray presided over a hearing for Wilson’s petition for a preliminary injunction on Wednesday at the Washington County Convention Center.
According to city attorney Andy Alexander, Carey-McCray ruled that she did not have jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s claims and accordingly, dismissed the case on that basis.
This is a developing story. We will provide further information as we learn more.