Former JPD Chief Vance Running Against Beleaguered Hinds County Sheriff

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Lee Vance, who retired as chief of the Jackson Police Department in December 2017 after 30 years on the force, has filed to run in the 2019 Hinds County sheriff's race. Local media report that Vance will deliver an official announcement this upcoming weekend.

Last month, before receiving an award from U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, Vance told the Jackson Free Press that retirement had been weird for him, suggesting he was getting antsy.

Vance joins a growing list of candidates for the position, including current Hinds County Sheriff Victor Mason, whose first term has been rocky.

In the last days of December 2015, Mason took over from Sheriff Tyrone Lewis, becoming the second African American to serve as the top law-enforcement officer for Mississippi's largest county.

Sexual Harassment Allegations

Two years into his term, Mason faced two federal sexual-harassment lawsuits.

Belendia Jones filed a complaint against Mason on Feb. 21, 2017, alleging sex discrimination, a sexually hostile work environment, sexual harassment and intentional emotional harm. Mason denies all allegations.

Jones served as a reserve deputy for the Hinds County Sheriff's Department and worked in the private sector. In a bizarre series of exchanges, Mason allegedly texted Jones questions posed as "Mrs. Wilson," a fictional character, and often asked her to repeat what he refers to as Wilson's "third question": "Mrs. Wilson wanted to know if I wanted to f*ck you!" In many texts included in the legal filing, Jones responds "no," calling the advances "yucky," or laughing them off. (Asterisk added.)

Jones' suit is ongoing, and a settlement conference is set for Jan. 8 at 9:30 a.m. before Magistrate Judge John C. Gargiulo.

In the other lawsuit, Cheryl Matory and Tomeca Barnes accuse Mason of a sexually hostile work environment, sex discrimination and race discrimination. Mason also denies these allegations.

Their joint complaint states that in 2015 Mason asked Matory

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