This screen shot shows Capitol Police officer Steven Frederick, left, being arrested by an unidentified Covington County County deputy on a DUI charge on March 12, 2023, after crashing his vehicle and tested at almost twice the blood alcohol content limit.. Credit: Courtesy of Mississippi Highway Patrol

Two state officials confirmed to Mississippi Today that state and federal authorities are examining what role, if any, Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey played in the August acquittal of former Capitol Police officer Steven Frederick for DUI.

The sheriff is already under scrutiny with regard to the self-described “Goon Squad” inside his department. Five former deputies and a Richland police officer have already pleaded guilty to the Jan. 24 attack on two Black men, which included a warrantless forced entry, torturing and sexually abusing suspects, using “clean” thrown down weapons, planting evidence, beating suspects to coerce confessions, stealing property, conspiring to create cover stories and obstructing justice. Sentencing is set for federal court in January.

On March 12, Frederick, who has been dating Bailey’s daughter, was charged with driving under the influence after crashing a state-owned Mississippi Department of Public Safety vehicle. A diagram shows he ran over three road signs before stopping in a concrete ditch.

A diagram shows how now-ex Capitol Police officer Stephen Frederick ran over three road signs before stopping in a concrete ditch. Credit: Courtesy of Mississippi Highway Patrol

After a breathalyzer test, the trooper said over the radio that Frederick had a blood alcohol level of 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08, according to the Mississippi Highway Patrol video. The ticket listed the level as 0.12.

“Twelve years of my life gone over one stupid mistake,” Frederick told the trooper. “I just lost my f—ing career, man.”

He initially told the trooper he was “trying to clear my head” and had only two beers, but he later admitted he had been drinking liquor, according to Highway Patrol videos obtained by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting, now part of Mississippi Today.

Frederick arrived at the Covington County Jail at 11:49 p.m. Less than an hour later, Covington County Sheriff Darrell M. Perkins ordered Frederick released without bond.

“I released him to Bryan Bailey,” Perkins said. “He told me he carried him [Frederick] to the hospital. He was bruised up.”

At the scene, Frederick had refused medical treatment, according to the Highway Patrol video.

Authorities have learned that after the accident, Bailey contacted a prosecutor, asking what would happen if a trooper didn’t appear for a DUI hearing. The prosecutor replied that, if the trooper failed to appear, the case would be dismissed.

That’s exactly what happened on Aug. 9. Trooper Daniel Loftin failed to appear, and Covington County Justice Court Judge Bobby Wayne Mooney dismissed the case.

Loftin was one of four troopers scheduled for that day in justice court. He was the only one who didn’t appear.

Capitol Police officer Steven Frederick ran over two road signs before stopping in a concrete ditch. Credit: Courtesy of Mississippi Highway Patrol

Historically, courts subpoena witnesses so that they will appear to testify, but in more recent years, some courts use email to deliver these subpoenas.

On Aug. 3, Justice Court Clerk Cassidy Booker emailed Troop J Capt. Claude Smith of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, asking him to make sure Loftin and three other troopers appeared at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 9.

MCIR has obtained the email exchanges between Smith and the other troopers. The records show that Smith emailed Loftin about appearing in court and that Loftin received the email.

Neither Loftin nor Sheriff Bailey have responded to requests for comment.

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.