How “Mayor Frank” got away with tearing down an innocent person’s home, a completely unauthorized act of vigilantism, and other repeat violations of the law, all in the name of the “war on drugs.”
The duplex demolition, however, got Melton in more trouble than usual. The rental property Melton sent his army of young drug warriors to destroy was owned by a single mother who rented it to a young schizophrenic man with no history of drug-dealing. The district attorney charged-and a grand jury indicted-Melton and his two police bodyguards of multiple felonies, ranging from burglary to directing a minor to commit a felony. At the same time, the state attorney general charged Melton with violations of various gun safety laws as well , including wearing a weapon in church and carrying a concealed weapon on a university campus; Melton pled down to misdemeanors on those charges. Still, a notable achievement for one of the founders of “Mayors Against Illegal Guns.”
Melton and his defense team-led by a conservative former mayor of Jackson who is also suing the city in an annexation battle, and the attorney who defended Byron de la Beckwith (the man who murdered civil rights leader Medgar Evers)-ratcheted up the mayor’s paternalistic populist appeal by pushing the meme that the duplex destruction was part of the mayor’s passionate war on crime. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Melton’s people painted the place as a ‘crackhouse,’ and his antics little more than a creative effort at getting another drug dealer off the street.