A Winona man had his case continued after Judge Alan D. Lancaster said he wanted to deliberate on whether a school resource officer was acting in his official capacity or as a private citizen during an altercation at Pilot Truck Stop.
Douglas Purnell has been charged with simple assault on a law enforcement officer after he allegedly closed his truck window on School Resource Officer Mack Burrell’s arm and then dragged half a foot until he was able to free himself.
Burrell said the incident began while he was at Pilot getting gas. He said when he went inside, he heard store manager Steven Allman yelling at a customer. Burrell said he asked what was going on, and he was told the customer was accused of stealing cigarettes and a cup of coffee. Burrell testified that Purnell was the customer.
Burnell said he was told the police had been called to the scene.
Burrell said Allman followed Purnell out the store, and he followed behind them. He said he showed Purnell his badge and told him he was a law enforcement officer, and he was detaining him until Winona Police Department came.
“He got in his truck, and he was cursing and yelling. He then started his truck, put it in drive. I reached my hand inside the truck, put the gearshift in park and turned off the vehicle,” Burrell said. He said he explained again to Purnell he was being detained.
He said Purnell again started the truck, put it in gear and Burrell said he again reached inside and as he was putting the gear in park, Purnell rolled up the window on his arm. He said Purnell traveled about a foot before Allman was able to get in the car, put it in park, and release Burrell’s arm.
Lancaster questioned if it was actually simple assault on a law enforcement officer because Burrell’s jurisdiction stops at the Winona-Montgomery Consolidate School District, and while he was at Pilot, he was a private citizen.
Burrell said that when he took the oath to serve, he took the same oath as he did when he was a deputy with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department.
“I took an oath to serve my community, my county and this state,” he said. “My badge does say ‘State of Mississippi’ on it.”
Lancaster said he will look into it to see if it falls under the law for simple assault on a law enforcement officer. The second half of the case will continue this morning at 9 a.m.