TUPELO - Cindy Brown's controversial Tupelo ethics report will not be admitted at former police Capt. Cliff Hardy's trial against the city.

U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock termed the report "inadmissible hearsay" in response to the city's request to exclude the document.

"The report largely consists of allusions to rumors and complaints gleaned by the report's author from interviews with undisclosed persons," Aycock wrote Friday. "It contains no information to substantiate the allegations therein."

Through the report's two-year development, Brown was criticized because it lacked substantiation for statements critical of the city.

Hardy will take his case to trial July 20 in Aberdeen to prove he was pushed out of the Tupelo Police Department after he made a public speech in October 2006, defending his friend and colleague then-Deputy Chief Robert Hall.

Hardy, who is white, claimed Hall, who is black, was being "persecuted" because of his race. Hall was demoted after he sent a drunk-driver home from an accident, which injured a boy on a bicycle.

Aycock also ruled that details surrounding Hall's subsequent indictment and termination will be admitted, which Hardy had hoped to avoid.

Through its attorneys, the city claims Tupelo Police Department took action against Hardy because his remarks were reckless and false.

The city paid more than $85,000 for Brown's 133-page report commissioned after Hall's employment troubles became a controversy. Brown was to determine if racism existed in department hirings and promotions.

The report drove a wedge between council members, as well as between council and then-Mayor Ed Neelly.

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

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