Grand jury clears Mississippi officers in shooting deaths

AP News
Posted: Aug 03, 2016 12:26 PM

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi grand jury has cleared a police officer in the death of a man killed at the end of a June 11 chase — during which the man made a live video saying he'd killed a cab driver.

District Attorney John Weddle says Officer Jason Whitenton shot 27-year-old Lyndarious Cortez Witherspoon after Witherspoon pointed a semi-automatic pistol at him.

Witherspoon also shot himself in the head, Weddle told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal ( and WCBI-TV reported (

Witherspoon was accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend earlier that day.

While being chased by Tupelo police, Witherspoon made a Facebook Live video in which he flashed the semi-automatic pistol and took responsibility for killing Tupelo cab driver Charlie Williams on May 13.

Whitenton was one of two Tupelo police officers whom the Lee County grand jury declined to charge Monday.

The other was Officer Tyler Cook.

Cook killed Antwun "Ronnie" Shumpert following a traffic stop on June 18.

The Shumpert family's lawyer has called for a federal investigation.

David Jacobs, a Justice Department spokesman, said Tuesday that officials with the Justice Department would review the state's investigation into Shumpert's death.

"We will assess all available materials and determine what actions are appropriate, given the strict burdens and requirements imposed by applicable federal civil rights laws," Jacobs said.