Tuesday, March 8, 2016, 9:56 am
It may come as a shock to many, but a local Greenwood political activist has been jailed for what he posted on Facebook.
Greenwood political activist and businessman Jelani Barr was arrested Friday afternoon, but there is mystery surrounding that arrest. Barr was released on bail at around 6 pm Friday evening.
The warrant for his arrest was signed by Justice Court Judge Jim Campbell, but no actual criminal statute is cited as the basis for the arrest. The warrant simply states he is to be held for "non specific felony."
The arrest warrant may be seen here: Jelani Barr Arrest Warrant.
The jail docket, which records the arrests of all persons by the sheriff's department, contained a hand-written addition which stated that Barr was arrested
for a "computer crime."
An unidentified deputy clerk at the Justice Court Clerk's office this morning told The Taxpayers Channel that the court has no file and no paperwork on the Barr arrest. She stated that she had turned it all over to the investigator at the Sheriff's office.
The Taxpayers Channel spoke this morning with Undersheriff Ken Spencer, who declined to identify the complaining witness, or to provide a copy of the arrest warrant or the criminal affidavit.
Spencer did confirm that the charge was based upon a social media post on Facebook by Barr which was "perceived as a threat," but that the affidavit does not actually quote the supposed threat.
But Mr. Barr has confirmed to The Taxpayers Channel that the complaining witness is in fact Greenwood police officer Jamel Calhoun, whom Barr has criticized on Facebook in the past.
A detailed review of Mr. Barr's Facebook page did not turn up any statements by Barr about Mr. Calhoun that could be construed as a threat.
As of this morning, Mr. Barr had not yet been officially informed exactly what statute he is accused of violating. Since the crime is purportedly a felony, Barr can request a preliminary hearing, or he can wait to see whether the grand jury will hand down an indictment against him.
Barr was illegally arrested by Greenwood Police in April 2015, resulting ultimately in his acquittal, the firing of the principal police officer involved in the arrest, and the settlement of a civil rights lawsuit brought by Barr against the city for an undisclosed amount. See Greenwood Settles Jelani Barr Civil Rights Lawsuit and the embedded links for complete coverage of that affair.
The Taxpayers Channel will post the affidavit as soon as we obtain a copy.
John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel