June 15, 2024

Editor’s note: This story originally included a reference to Downtown Daquiri and Pizza. That business was not raided Wednesday.

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Officials in Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens’ office say they’re cooperating fully with federal authorities, following a raid on the county offices Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the DA’s Office at the Hinds County Courthouse downtown, as well as the Downtown Cigar Company, a business managed by Owens at the corner of East Pearl Street.

“We are fully cooperating with their efforts. The Hinds County District Attorney’s Office is fully functioning and continues its work on behalf of the citizens of Hinds County,” DA Chief of Staff Samatha Grant said. “That has been and will continue to be our primary focus. Currently, we have no further statements.”

The statement was posted on Grant’s social media pages, as well as a social media page for Owens.

DA Jody Owens' office releases statement following raid on his business, county offices on...
DA Jody Owens’ office releases statement following raid on his business, county offices on Wednesday.(Special to WLBT)

FBI officials confirmed in a statement earlier in the day that they were conducting searches at several locations, including the cigar shop and the DA’s offices.

“The affidavit in support [of] the search warrants has been sealed by the court, and so I am prohibited from commenting further,” said FBI spokeswoman Marshay Lawson in a statement. “There is no threat to public safety.”

The FBI has received a federal warrant to search a business associated with District Attorney Jody Owens.

An official was posted outside the elevators leading to the DA’s office when we arrived on the scene and would not allow our cameras to go up.

Meanwhile, a source in the city said FBI agents also visited Jackson City Hall, where they spoke to Mayor Lumumba’s chief of staff, Dr. Safiya Omari.

According to that source, the conversation was held in the mayor’s ceremonial office.

It’s unclear what sparked the raids, and it is not known what Omari and the agents discussed. Jackson Director of Communications Melissa Faith Payne declined to comment.

Residents react to the FBI raids on DA Jody Owens’ office and business.

Owens took office in 2020, after being elected in 2019. He was re-elected in 2023 and began his second term in January. Before becoming DA, he served as chief policy counsel and managing attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mississippi Office, according to the Hinds County website.

Omari has been Mayor Lumumba’s chief of staff since he took office in 2017.

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