Officer fired after post surrounding Vice President-elect Harris, chief says

BYHALIA, Miss. — A Mississippi police officer, who FOX13 confirmed has been fired, caught the attention of the NAACP after making a post about Vice President-elect Harris.

“Officer Pannell’s comments about the career ascendancy of Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris were racist and misogynistic and unbecoming of a public servant that works in a city that is 45% African American,” a statement from the NAACP said.

“The Marshall county NAACP and the Mississippi State Conference NAACP is committed to fighting systems of racial injustice and any other systems, actions, or language that does not represent or benefit all Mississippians.”

Byhalia Police Chief Ben Moore told FOX13 Pannell was terminated and they will make the formal announcement during the Board of Alderman meeting on Nov. 17.

The post insults Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, saying “She will be an inspiration to young girls by showing that if you sleep with the right powerfully connected men then you too can play second fiddle to a man with dementia. It’s basically a Cinderella story.”

“My first thoughts was conduct unbecoming of an officer,” Marshall County NAACP president Rodney Lowe told FOX13.

Lowe says the NAACP questioned the hiring process of Moore as chief, which has them nervous heading into it.

“We’re very pleased with that decision but we also are very cautious when it comes to Byhalia mayor and board,” he said.

Marshall County prosecutor Shirley Byers says someone texted her the post before sending it to Moore on Monday, who didn’t know about it until that point.

“I found it to be discriminatory in terms of sex, race and illnesses because he talks about all three,” she said.

Byers says she’s worked with Pannell before.

“If I needed anything in terms of a case that he may have been handling there was no problem,” she said. “So, I’ve never had any problems with him.”

When it comes to disciplinary actions, Byers says something had to be done.

“As a woman of color and the county prosecutor I have a problem with it.,” she said.

Lowe says the NAACP hopes a strong message will be made Tuesday for the citizens of Byhalia.

“I commute through Byhalia all the time patronizing some of their businesses there,” he says. “The last thing we need to be worried about is biases from the police department.”