Cops Turn Off Body Cams Before Killing Man, Then Plant Gun and Drugs on Him

Columbus, MS – On the night of October 16, Ricky Ball, 26, was shot and killed by officers of the Columbus Police Department (CPD). Beyond this fact, the official story is hotly disputed by family and community members, who say that one cop had it out for Ricky and maliciously ended his life that night.


There are several questionable circumstances surrounding the case, which is now in the hands of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) and the FBI. The Free Thought Project has been in contact with someone in the community who was close to Ricky, but has chosen to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation from police.

As the ‘official’ story goes, Ball was a passenger in a vehicle on Oct. 16 which was pulled over by the three cops for “careless driving, no light above the license plate and lack of insurance.” Ball fled the scene but was chased down and shot, and then collapsed about a block and a half away from the traffic stop. He died at the hospital from blood loss.

Canyon Boykin, the officer believed to be the shooter, stated in his report that Ricky pointed a gun at the officers. A CPD press release did not include that statement, only saying that “Officers attempted to arrest Ball which resulted in gunfire.”

The three cops involved—Canyon Boykin, Johnny Branch and Yolanda Young—violated department policy by not turning on their body cameras prior to engaging Ball. They also had an “unauthorized civilian” riding with them in the patrol car.

As a result of this, along with posting racial slurs on social media, Boykin was fired by the Columbus City Council. Branch and Young were suspended for 30 days without pay.

The Sunday after Boykin was fired, police chief Tony Carleton unexpectedly submitted his letter of resignation. The following Tuesday he handed off the internal investigation to the FBI, responding to doubts in the community that the city would carry out a fair investigation.

Then, on Nov. 12, assistant chief Tony McCoy submitted his paperwork for retirement, effective Jan. 16.

While the motives of the chief’s and assistant chief’s departure may remain a mystery, there is a great deal of suspicion about the gun allegedly found near Ricky Ball’s body.

Officers claimed that they found a 9mm handgun “within arm’s reach” and a bag of narcotics near Ricky’s body, which they dragged from underneath a house where he was hiding. The MBI is conducting forensics to determine if Ball ever possessed the gun or the narcotics.

People on the scene have already voiced what they witnessed. According to the website Justice for Ricky Ball:\

“Eyewitnesses have made it known in the community that a CPD officer was seen dropping the gun beside Ricky’s body after they pulled him from underneath an eyewitness’ home.”

According to our source, the officer who owned the gun was off-duty the night of Ricky’s death but was first on the scene after the shooting. It was also said that cops pointed their guns at witnesses and told them to go inside.

Days before Chief Carleton quit the department, The Dispatch reported that the gun was stolen from another CPD officer’s residence

Somehow, this same officer had guns stolen from his residence twice, three weeks apart.

All of these suspicious circumstances demand that a full investigation be completed into the death of Ricky Ball. It is well-known that cops plants drugs and guns on people, especially when the cops are in jeopardy of being accused of a crime or murder.

According to family and community members, officer Boykin (who made racial slurs online) killed Ricky because he had escaped chases before and laughed at the cops.

Following is the account from eyewitnesses posted on Justice for Ricky Ball:

(A) when Boykin and his gang pulled over the car that Ricky was a passenger in, Ricky jumped out and was running AWAY before Boykin and his gang could even get out of their unmarked car.

(B) Boykin jumped out of his car and fired at least two shots at Ricky WITHOUT ANY interaction between him and Ricky whatsoever. By the time Boykin began shooting, Ricky was yards away from him. Ricky was too far away for Boykin to try to tase or arrest Ricky.

(C) While chasing Ricky, Boykin fell into a ditch that Ricky jumped over, Boykin came up in the ditch shooting several more shots at Ricky. Ricky is running away from Boykin this whole time and at some point Ricky is hit from behind by some of Boykin’s bullets.

(D) As Ricky is running through his neighborhood screaming “y’all help me, they gonna kill me”, neighbors began coming outside their homes to see what all the shooting and yelling was about. One of Boykin’s bullets went into one of these neighbors’ door. Ricky eventually hid underneath the home of one neighbor, but Boykin and his gang found Ricky and pulled him from underneath the house and placed Ricky between that home and another one.

(E) Although officers on the scene were intimidating the people watching this incident by pointing guns in these people’s faces telling them to get in the house and to get out of their own windows, some people still managed to see officers tase Ricky while he was lyying there bleeding to death. Neighbors also managed to see an officers plant a gun near where they had laid Ricky after pulling him from underneath a home.

(F) The paramedics involved took entirely too long to move from their staging area up the street from where Ricky was laying to the actual place where Ricky was laying. The paramedics did not leave the scene to take Ricky to the hospital with any sirens on or with any interior lights on or any police escorts. The paramedics left the shooting scene in no hurry at all as if they were carrying a dead body, even though Ricky was alive when they put him inside the ambulance.”

Family members and residents of Columbus have been carrying out demonstrations at Columbus Municipal Complex, saying they will peacefully protest at every city council meeting until “justice has been served.”

There is no word on the progress of investigations by the MBI or FBI. If forensics cannot determine that Ricky Ball actually possessed the handgun, then criminal behavior on the part of the cops must be investigated. A good place to start would be to look at phone records and find out if Boykin or the other two cops contacted the off-duty owner of the gun that night.

Just one state over, in Alabama, multiple cops have just been exposed for planting guns and drugs on over 1,000 innocent young black men, some of whom are still in jail. Many police officers have also admitted to carrying ‘throw-away’ weapons to plant on suspects in case they are killed under questionable circumstances.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.