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Donelson was acquitted of all charges in 2006 after District Attorney Faye Peterson ruled that Melton had tampered with state’s evidence. Melton’s key witness in the trial, Christopher Walker, was a former Wood Street member that he arrested along with 10 others in 2001. Melton provided Walker with money and a place to stay, but both have told the media that it didn’t coerce him into giving false testimony. “We don’t have a witness protection program in Jackson,” says Melton, who let Walker stay in his mansion. “We didn’t have a place to send him. I wasn’t going to leave him out there to die.” Walker was not and probably will not be the last wayward youth to live with Melton. A millionaire many times over, Melton owns a lavish three-story, seven bed and bath mansion with an indoor Olympic size swimming pool. He’s had everyone from the Mississippi State football team to singer/porn star/Brandy’s brother/Mississippi native Ray J sleep over. But those aren’t the guests that are making headlines; it’s the convicted felons and known troublemakers in the house that causes a stir. While Melton sees it as his way of keeping kids out of the street, many see it as him surrounding himself with his own goon squad. In 2006 Melton and his group of unofficial adopted children, whom he often brings along with him to patrol the city in a police RV, made the news when they reportedly entered a suspected drug house and demolished the place with sledgehammers. Melton has defended his actions in saying that the house was a hub for crime that other city officials turned a blind eye to. That same night Melton, police officers and the youths barged in on popular Jackson nightclub Upper Level (DJ Drama was the featured guest that night) with Melton reportedly ordering management to “shut this muthafucka down!” According to eyewitnesses, Upper Level manager Tonari Moore pulled out a video camera to record the intrusion. Officers demanded he stop filming, but he did not. At that point witnesses say the officers handcuffed Moore, dragged him outside and with help from Melton’s youths, beat him unconscious. Melton admits that he did go into the club with two plainclothes officers and intented to shut the place down. According to Melton, when Moore began taking pictures, officers ordered him to stop, but Moore replied “muthafuck you” and took off running with officers pursuing. “He does this all the time,” says Melton. “What actually happens is that the club security staff were trying to interfere with a legal arrest. The kids with me came and pulled the security off my officers. Then [Moore] goes out in the street and goes into convulsion. I even rode in the ambulance with him because I was concerned, only to find out he does that every time he’s under arrest.” Moore, who filed a lawsuit over the incident, couldn’t be reached for comment. “Upper Level is very hood. You can get killed, get your ass whupped, it’s been some gunplay up there,” says graduating Jackson State University senior “Straw.” “It was cool to go if you wasn’t beefing with nobody. But it did get violent, so if that’s a stance Frank wants to take, I can understand. There was a time you could lose your life going to Upper Level.” Melton is a frequent visitor to the nightclub. “I’ve shut it down three different times,” admits Melton. “My problem with that club is that it was bought with drug money and the guy, Starsky Red, who bought it, shot at federal agents when they attempted to arrest him. They caught him with an 18-wheeler full

of drugs. We never found the money, but all of a sudden, the club opens up. The club is a haven for the distribution and consumption of drugs. My intentions are to shut it down. I’ve gone to [Moore] and told him I want him to have a good business, but no dope. He just blows it off.” Melton’s hands-on brand of justice and community activism includes a laundry list of questionable actions such as keeping a weapon on him at all times. His actions have not come without punishment and scrutiny. Even though he is a member of New York Mayor Michael Bloomburg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, Melton carried one on the campus of the Mississippi College School of Law in 2006. As a result, the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi was placed on probation. Yes, the mayor is on probation. His school bus incident, on the other hand, only fueled the persistent rumors of Melton being a child molestor. “In the early 80s when I started working with the gang kids, [people] couldn’t understand why I was so close to the kids,” says Melton, who insists that many Jackson youth are loyal to him now because he taught them how to swim when they were younger (he owned the local YMCA). Regardless, his close relationships with the youth made him a target in an early 90s rape and molestation scandal at the Hinds County Juvenile Detention Center. Former Police Chief Jimmy Wilson accused Melton of molesting boys who were placed in his custody. “Have you seen the kids I’ve taken in?” he charges. “What damn gang member is gonna let somebody abuse them?” Even with the barrage of rumors and actual truths that don’t weigh in Melton’s favor, he claims he still has the backing of most people on Jackson’s streets. “It’s not the police who are watching my back, it’s the guys on the street,” says Melton. “I’ve been through a lot with them. They’ve done some things I disagree with, but at the same time they deserve second chances and I have a lot of them working for the city right now. If they’re 27 now, you can’t punish them forever for mistakes they made at [age] 17. I don’t give a damn about politics. I was born in the 5th Ward and was one of the guys that was not supposed to make it, but because of my father I was able to make it, and able to become very wealthy. I feel guilty about that and I want to spend the rest of my life giving it back to generation behind me. I don’t need it.” “I’m not here to defend Frank, let that be known,” blasts Kamikaze, who with some string-pulling by Melton, was appointed Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Farish Street Historic Foundation. He’s spearheading efforts to revitalize the area. “I’m here talking solely about the fact that this is the first politician in Jackson that has ever given a damn about what goes on in the hood. I am a Hip Hop artist and activist that sees him as innovative and something we need to key into in the city of Jackson. He does shit that I don’t agree with, but the difference is that I can call him and tell him when he’s done something wrong. You can’t just do that with other politicians. Frank speaks like a real nigga and you can’t do that if you’re a politician, so people call him crazy.” He adds, “Once, I told [Melton], ‘People gonna think you’re crazy.’ He said, ‘I am crazy.’ So I left it alone. I haven’t been around him doing anything criminal. When I meet with him we’re on the third floor of City Hall getting shit done. If you wanna change what’s in the city, you gotta be involved in what’s going on and Frank is letting me and the rest of the Hip Hop community do just that.”

“I was accused of bringing guns out of Texas and giving them to the gangs. I’ve been accused of being the biggest drug dealer in Mississippi…As many dealers I’ve put in jail over the last 27 years? If I was dealing drugs and standing up publicly calling out dealers, you’d see me floating up in the river.” - MAYOR Frank Melton OZONE MAG // 65

Ozone Mag #65 - Mar 2008  

Ozone Mag #65 - Mar 2008

Ozone Mag #65 - Mar 2008  

Ozone Mag #65 - Mar 2008

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