Months later, Southaven refuses to identify officers who shot wrong man

Months later, Southaven refuses to identify officers who shot wrong man

SOUTHAVEN, MS (WMC) - Attorneys for the man killed by Southaven police officers released the names of the two officers they say fired the fatal shots.

In the months following his killing, Southaven Police Department has still not released the names of the officers involved. In fact, the department has not even said whether the officers are being charged with any crimes.

Attorneys for the Lopez family said they submitted Freedom of Information Act requests for information on the officers involved. In response, the police department gave the attorneys a list of all the officers who were on the clock at the time of the killing.

"We have a reliable source in Southaven that's identified these officers but we can't confirm it though," said Attorney Aaron Neglia.

He said Southaven police will only say the two officers the source named were on duty the night Ismael Lopez was shot and killed in late July.

"We have never had issues like this identifying officers or parties involved in a homicide," Neglia said.

Southaven police even removed a large photo that used to hang in the lobby that had photos of all of their officers, including canine officers. No one at the station explained why.

WMC Action News 5 has also requested the names of the officers repeatedly, but Southaven will not release them to us either.

Southaven police did issue a statement saying they will not comment until the Mississippi Bureau of investigation is finished with its investigation.

"As I stated at the outset of this tragic event, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the Desoto County District Attorney's Office were immediately contacted to conduct an investigation of this matter. At this juncture, the investigation is ongoing as they are awaiting the full autopsy report from the State Medical Examiner's Office. Until I receive the report from the District Attorney's Office, I will not have all the facts for this incident and will not be able to make comments. I, just as you, am ready for the investigation to be completed, but in the meantime, as noted, I am waiting on complete information before commenting."

Southaven Police Department refused to confirm whether the names Lopez's attorneys released were those of the officers involved.

"Everything that we believe is there's no laws preventing [the release of the officers' names]," Neglia said. "What they are doing here is being uncooperative in not identifying the officers. Our question is if they are standing behind the actions of their officers. What do they have to hide? Why won't they release the names?"

WMC Action News 5 is not naming the officers at this time, because it has not been confirmed if those are the officers who killed Lopez.

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