JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is condemning a high school band for a football halftime performance that he said was “unacceptable in a civilized society.” The governor is not alone. Many are joining him in condemning the actions.

People are saying the performance Friday night by the band from Forest Hill High School depicted students dressed as doctors and nurses pointing toy guns at SWAT team members prone on the ground, WLBT-TV reported.

Bryant issued his condemnation Saturday in a tweet.

The performance was held at the high school in Brookhaven where two police officers were killed in the line of duty Sept. 29 responding to a call of shots fired, the station reported.

Corporal Zachary Moak and Patrolman James White lost their life that day, so the actions of the band are more than irresponsible; they are vicious.

two Mississippi police officers

Brookhaven police Corporal Zack Moak and Patrolman James White were killed while responding to a call of shots fired. (MBI)

Moreover, this comes 16 months after former Brookhaven officer turned Lincoln County Deputy William Durr was killed in a shooting rampage that left seven others dead as well.


Brookhaven’s mayor said the band director was placed on administrative leave, the station reported.

Reports said the performance was based loosely on the movie “John Q,” in which a father played by Denzel Washington takes patients at a hospital hostage in order to secure treatment for his son.

Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Errick L. Greene released a statement on Saturday:

On behalf of the Jackson Public School (JPS) District, I want to offer my deep and sincere apologies for the performance by the Forest Hill High School band during Friday’s football half-time show in Brookhaven. Based loosely on the movie, “John Q,” the band’s performance depicted a hostage scene that included toy guns.

JPS has a great deal of respect and appreciation for our law enforcement partners. The band’s performance does not depict the values and people in our community, and was incredibly insensitive to the students, families, law enforcement officials and the entire Brookhaven community. For this we sincerely apologize to all, and we pledge to do better in the future.

We have taken some initial actions in response to this matter, and you have my commitment that we will investigate it fully and take additional appropriate action with respect to procedures and personnel.

Commissioner Marshall Fisher of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety released a statement citing their disappointment:

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety is extremely disturbed by Forest Hill’s leadership approving and allowing their band to display a reenactment of violence against law enforcement at a high school football game in Brookhaven, MS. This is highly inappropriate considering the recent loss of two Brookhaven Police officers to senseless violence. 

This only exacerbates the war against law enforcement in our nation. Mimicking acts of violence against law enforcement, or members of the public should never be condoned at a high school football game or any function whatsoever. The Governor’s School Safety Task Force is currently working to reduce school violence which is at an all-time high. I have to question whoever made this decision in regards to what message they are sending to our children.

The mayor of Jackson, Chokwe Lumumba, also released a statement:

I offer my sincerest regrets to the Brookhaven community for the insensitivity that portrayed during the Friday evening halftime show. There is an active investigation into the circumstances that led to this performance,” said Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. “While I do not believe that there was a malice intent on behalf of the students that participated in this halftime show, I understand that we are ultimately not defined by the things that we set out to do, but rather how we respond to the things that actually do take place. It is the responsibility of adults to offer guidance to youth. Our students should have been instructed that this was neither the time or place for that performance.

Jackson City Councilman Aaron Banks, a Forest Hill graduate, released this statement:

As a councilman and graduate of Forest Hill High School, I deeply regret the performance of the Forest Hill High School Band this past Friday. It is very distasteful for us as a community of educators and leaders to not be aware, nor sensitive to the current negative portrayal and display of disrespect toward our Law Enforcement Community. We have to be very careful with what we allow, understanding that it was a presentation from the movie John Q, does not excuse the use of toy or play guns. Especially when so many students, teachers and first responders have lost their lives surrounding the same visual. It is my prayer, that we as a community we will continue to educate and foster an atmosphere conducive of a community who embraces and appreciates its law enforcement community and that we cast down anything that portrays the opposite. As leaders, we must evaluate the content of what we do, say and act out and what message it sends.

A statement from the Brookhaven School District was released on Facebook.