January 1, 1997
January 27, 2018
Age at Death:
Ms. Barnes was a hard working mother of two small children and an honors student at Jackson State University. She had recently gotten a second job, a new car and new apartment. Per her cousin Chris Hamilton, "She was smart and was a great mother and a great friend. She helped people any time they needed it. She was really close to her friends, and all her friends really loved her." Source:
Ms. Barnes was killed in a police-involved shooting after she was pulled over by Jackson, Mississippi police officer responding to a call of a vehicle running another car off the road. According to police reports, she drove away after the unit called for assistance and then allegedly began driving backward toward an officer who had gotten out of the car. The officer fired shots, but was able to get out of the way before Barnes' car hit a patrol car. According to police, Ms. Barnes then began driving forward again, toward the first officer, who also fired shots. Her car came to rest against a utility pole just off the road. She was dead at the scene. Autopsy showed Ms. Barnes was struck 3 times in the back of the head, in the back of the neck and in the back.
Was justice served?
No. Ms. Barnes was unarmed. The family of Ms. Barnes filed a $10 million civil action lawsuit for excessive and unreasonable force in the traffic stop. The Jackson police department refused to release the names of the officers involved in the stop, and it was a legal motion to release their names that was filed by Ms. Barnes family representatives that revealed the two officers. The legal filing also requested all electronic files be made public, something that the Jackson police department would not respond with. According to the media, there were no body camera or dash camera videos. As of February 2019, the media published a report that the pursuing officer violated department policies in pursuing Ms. Barnes (only pursue suspected vehicles when the related offense is a violent felony and when the benefit of apprehension outweighs the risk of injury or death. In all incidents that involve high speed driving, the safety of officers and the public must be the primary consideration). The officer also did not radio the department of the intention to pursue.