Convicted on Friday, Police Chief at Work Following Week - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Diaz, AR--Brett Garrett Reports

Convicted on Friday, Police Chief at Work Following Week

December 27, 2006--Posted at 7:00 p.m. CST

DIAZ, AR--Friday, Diaz Police Chief Derrick Person received a sentence of 365 days in jail, suspended on condition of good behavior, and a $500 fine for his involvement in a July 17 fight.

Allegedly Person encouraged his grandsons to fight, accompanied them to the fight and later threw the victim to ground causing injuries. Despite being convicted on Friday of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and 3rd degree battery, Person was at work on Wednesday.

"I think he needs to be accounting for what he did and not just a 365 day suspended sentence and a $500 fine," said Jean Songer.

The fight involving Person's grandsons happened in mid July, several weeks before he was appointed Police Chief of Diaz. In fact, the victim didn't even file charges against person until several weeks after he had become police chief.

Because the crime happened before he was chief and didn't occur in Diaz, Chief Person believes things are overblown. While he declined an on camera interview he did release this statement.

"This incident in question had nothing to do with me being police chief and does not have anything to do with Diaz or its police department"

However, some people don't believe that lets him off the hook.

"I think it should still hold because before he was a police officer he was working with the drug task force," said Songer.

Despite this conviction, the Diaz mayor and city council felt it was o.k. for Person to continue as chief. It's a decision that doesn't sit well with some.

"He should not be chief of police with this, and I hate to say that with him losing his job, but if it was my son, my whatever, it wouldn't be any different," said Songer.

Chief Person went on to say in his statement that he feels there are some misconceptions concerning this incident. He didn't want to elaborate and for some residents we spoke with, they are fine with him remaining chief.

To avoid bias the case was seen in district court by Judge Phil Shoffner of White County.

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