A Mississippi community is demanding answers after a visiting high school football team’s band put on a halftime show that appeared to depict police being shot – days after two cops in that town were shot and killed in the line of duty.
As The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports, on Friday night the football team and band from Forest Hill High School, in Jackson, came to Brookhaven to face off against Brookhaven High School. During the halftime show, Forest Hill’s band put on a show with a scene that appeared to depict students, dressed as doctors and nurses, holding toy guns and pointing them at two students, dressed as members of a SWAT team, on the ground. The students then pretended to shoot and kill the “SWAT team members.”
It’s not clear what the FHHS band was trying to convey with the halftime show – perhaps a commentary on police brutality? But whatever it was, the timing could not have been worse. That’s because just last week, two police officers were killed in the line of duty in Brookhaven.
As The Clarion-Ledger reported at the time, Patrolman James White, 35, and Cpl. Zach Moak, 31, responded to a shots-fired call, and paid for it with their lives. The suspect, who reportedly had a long rap sheet, opened fire on the two cops, killing both of them, according to Police Chief Kenneth Collins,
“Two heroes lost their lives today. They responded to the call and another was under fire, and that’s when the officer jumped in to help. They’re both heroes.”
Still reeling from the murders of two of its officers, the people of Brookhaven then got to watch the scene play out in the halftime show.
The performance did not go over well. Even Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant responded.
“This is unacceptable in a civilized society. Someone should be held accountable.”
A spokesperson for the Brookhaven Band Boosters asked community members not to direct their ire at the students doing the performance, but rather the school officials who orchestrated it.
“Please as humans, let us remember that while this has been a horrible situation, the students are the ones losing. They have worked hard on their show, unfortunately, their leadership chose the wrong form of show to perform. Please show the students compassion, and I personally pray that they will all learn something from this situation.”
So far, neither Jackson Public Schools nor anyone affiliated with Forest Hill High School has responded to requests for comment. Forest Hill’s band, meanwhile, has been uninvited from a statewide band competition scheduled for Saturday.