Ernest Jells


On September 20, 1963, Ernest Jells, the 21-year-old African-American victim, was shot and killed by Clarksdale Police Department (CPD) Lieutenant Henry Petty and Patrolman B.F. Moore, Jr., the subjects. According to contemporaneous Clarksdale Press Register articles, shortly before the shooting, the victim attempted to steal bananas from a grocery store and the owner called CPD.  A witness in the store stated that he confronted the victim about the bananas and a scuffle ensued during which Mr. Jells reached back as if to grab a weapon. The witness put the victim in a “head-lock” and pushed him out of the store.

Incident Date: 
Friday, September 20, 1963
Case Name: 
Ernest Jells
Industry Code: 
Civil Rights Division
Updated May 4, 2017