A Mississippi high school band director has been suspended after a halftime performance that appeared to depict the killing of police officers, WJTV (Jackson) is reporting.
According to Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba, the director has been suspended indefinitely. However, he provided no further information, including the length of the director’s suspension, whether or not there will be an investigation, or even the band director’s name.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, on Friday night the Forest Hill High School football team and band came from Jackson to the town of Brookhaven to square off against Brookhaven High School on the gridiron. 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.”
At first, it wasn’t clear what sort of message the FHHS band was trying to convey with the performance, although thanks to some digging from The Jackson Free Press, the performance is now in more context (more on that in a few paragraphs). However, regardless of the context, the apparent depiction of police officers being killed couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Just a few days before Forest Hill’s performance, two police officers in Brookhaven – Patrolman James White, 35, and Cpl. Zach Moak, 31 – were killed in the line of duty. Responding to a shots-fired call, the men were gunned down by a criminal with a lengthy rap sheet.
The performance outraged just about everybody who saw it or heard about it, including Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant.
“This is unacceptable in a civilized society. Someone should be held accountable.”
As it turns out, the FHHS band was apparently referencing a scene in the movie John Q. In the 2002 movie, Denzel Washington portrays a father who loses his health insurance and is unable to afford life-saving treatment for his sick son. in the movie, Washington’s character takes a SWAT team hostage but ultimately lets them go.
Jackson resident Melishia Brooks says that anyone familiar with the movie would have immediately recognized its context and known that it’s not about killing cops.
“It wasn’t a fake shooting. No one is showing the whole show. Find the whole show and watch it. It’s a message of ‘put down the guns and pray.'”