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Rankin County Undersheriff Paul Holley resigns amid controversy

Photo courtesy of Paul Holley/Twitter

Rankin County Undersheriff Paul Holley has resigned from his position within the department, sources have confirmed to SuperTalk Mississippi News.

Holley released a statement in an email on Tuesday, saying that Monday, October 2 was his last official day in the role after holding the position for four months.

“It has been the highest honor of my professional career to serve my community as counsel to the sheriff’s office, and more recently as the undersheriff,” Holley said. “During my four months as undersheriff, I have implemented a number of changes that I believed were the best way to help the sheriff’s office improve its credibility with the community and to improve the ways in which we carry out our mission.”

While reasons are unclear as to why Holley stepped down, it comes in the aftermath of startling revelations regarding the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office.

In August, five Rankin County deputies pled guilty to abusing two Black men during a warrantless raid. The five deputies were sentenced to jail time for torturing and sexually assaulting Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker in January while trying to frame them for crimes they did not commit.

Then, last week, it was revealed through a joint effort by The New York Times and Mississippi Today that Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey had repeatedly used his position to obtain phone records from his then-married girlfriend through grand jury subpoenas in 2014.

Bailey allegedly requested a total of eight subpoenas over the course of the year, claiming that he was conducting a “confidential internal investigation” involving a school district employee. Further documentation showed that Bailey used the power of a grand jury to spy on the employee and his girlfriend, who he believed was being “unfaithful.”

His girlfriend was Kristi Pennington Shanks, who was working as an administrative assistant in the sheriff’s office. Shanks was married to State Rep. Fred Shanks at the time, with their divorce being finalized one year later.

Bailey has been harshly criticized by the public in recent months as he continues to argue that he did not know of the police brutality going on within the department and was blindsided by what was discovered during an investigation. Even though many are calling for his resignation, Bailey has previously said that he will not be stepping down.

“I’m going to stay here. I’m not going to resign,” Bailey said on August 3. “I’m going to fix these problems and try to leave this [department] in better shape than I found it.”

Bailey, who is currently seeking a fourth term as sheriff, is running unopposed in this year’s elections.

“Sheriff Bailey deserves an Undersheriff that will continue that mission and shares his beliefs on how best to accomplish that,” Holley added in his statement. “I will continue to remain an unabashed supporter of Rankin County law enforcement, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Rankin County.”

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