Sgt. Greg Capers of the Indianola Police Department. Credit: Photo courtesy of Carlos Moore

Nearly a month after an Indianola police officer was accused of shooting an 11-year-old boy in the chest, the officer will continue his suspension from the force without pay and faces additional legal action. 

On Monday, the Board of Aldermen voted 4-1 to suspend Greg Capers without pay, according to Nakala Murry, the boy’s mother, who attended the meeting. This comes about three weeks after Capers was placed on paid suspension following her son Aderrien’s shooting. 

“I felt like it was a step further to getting the right thing done,” Nakala Murry said about the decision. “At least for the board, it was a step for accountability.” 

She started a petition and collected signatures from about 350 residents who agreed that taxpayer money should not have been used to pay for Capers’ suspension. That petition was placed on the board’s agenda and members took action. 

Michael Carr, a Cleveland attorney representing Capers, said neither he nor Capers were given notice of the board’s meeting and an opportunity to be heard. Carr said they both learned about the meeting and vote through social media. 

“This is very disturbing to Officer Capers, and he should have been allowed due process by the city board,” Carr said. 

The attorney said the shooting was “a complete and total accident,” but the boy’s mother said it could have been avoided. 

“You can’t afford this kind of accident,” Murry said. “This accident almost cost me my son’s life.” 

The Murry family and supporters maintain that Capers should be fired and prosecuted. They do not think he should be able to work for another law enforcement agency again. 

On May 20, Indianola police arrived at the home of Murry and her two children because a former partner had been acting irate and she worried his behavior could escalate. 

Officers were in the doorway when Aderrien rounded the corner from his bedroom to enter the living room, which is when an officer identified as Capers shot the boy in the chest. Aderrien was taken to the intensive care unit in Jackson where he was treated for a collapsed lung, fractured ribs and a lacerated liver. 

Through his attorney, Capers said he is sorry about what happened to the boy. 

On May 30, Murry filed a federal lawsuit against Capers, Police Chief Ronald Sampson and the city of Indianola alleging “reckless indifference” by failing to fully assess the situation before shooting.

Attorneys representing the city, Sampson and Capers have not yet responded to the lawsuit complaint. 

Last week, Murray filed a criminal affidavit against Capers for aggravated assault, writing that Capers caused “bodily harm to my minor son, Aderrien Murry, by recklessly shooting him in the chest with a gun,” according to a copy of the affidavit. 

A probable cause hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 2 at 10 a.m. in the Sunflower Circuit Court in Indianola. At that hearing, a judge will decide whether evidence exists for Capers to be charged and arrested. 

Carr said the charge cited in the affidavit does not fully reflect the statute, which says someone would have needed to act purposely or recklessly showing “extreme indifference to the value of human life.” He said that is not how Capers acted. 

He also added that the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, which took over the case, is still investigating the shooting. Typically, once MBI is done, it shares its findings with the district attorney’s office, which would then present it to a grand jury, Carr said.  

The Murry family has asked for body camera footage from May 20 to be released. City officials have said that footage has been turned over to MBI. 

Carr, Capers’ attorney, is hopeful that once the video is released, it will clear him of any criminal allegations stemming from the shooting. 

Meanwhile, Aderrien has a long way to recovery. His mother plans for him to return to school in the fall, but for how she’s trying to give him and her younger daughter a good summer.  

Occasionally, the boy has problems when he coughs or sneezes. 

The biggest challenge has been the emotional toll of the shooting. Murry said the other night Aderrien had a nightmare and woke up crying. He asks her if the door is locked. She said they both feel uneasy. 

Murry said her family, friends and faith make her feel like she isn’t handling the situation alone. 

“I pray that the justice system doesn’t fail me,” Nakala Murry said. “I hope the right thing will be done and people will see this as a wake up call.”

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Mina, a California native, covers the criminal justice system. Before joining Mississippi Today, she was a reporter for the Clarion Ledger and newspapers in Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and USA Today.