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Low Quality Bulletproof Vests Leads To Bankruptcy Settlement.

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 11 Jun 2012 05:05pm | comments

Mississippi law enforcement agencies and consumers have less than two weeks to claim part of a legal settlement with a company that sold a defective bulletproof vest. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that Second Chance Body Armor sold a vest made with a material called Zylon that did not stop bullets as well as the company claimed.

This sound could be the difference between life and death for a Mississippi police officer.

It’s the loud rip of Velcro, as Mark Clay demonstrates one of the strongest protective vests his Jackson-based equipment distribution company sells.

"As the bullet hits it, it mushrooms it an turns it inside out. It is going to feel like someone hit you with a bat. Basically, laymen's term, if I poke you with my finger that is going to hurt. If I hit you flat with my fist that is not going to hurt as bad because it spread that force out over an area," Clay said.

The Second Chance Body Armor vests failed the critical test of stopping the bullet.

As part of their bankruptcy settlement, second chance paying 750-dollars for each vest sold to a police department or private consumer in Mississippi.

Attorney General Jim Hood says the company misled consumers about the strength of the vest.

"Some company sells something like that and says that it works and then it doesn't, they ought to have to pay that money back. Especially putting officer’s lives in danger. That is pretty bad," Hood said.

Hood says several police departments in the state have contacted him, but it is not clear how many agencies bought the vests.

Charlie Sims with the Mississippi law Enforcement Officers Association says officers need to be able to trust that their vest will work.

"No matter what you do something can go wrong and shot can be fired in your direction. And although you cannot cover the whole body, you can cover the vital organs with a vest. So we depend on that to help an officer survive a deadly force situation," Sims said.

Information about filing a claim in the settlement is on the Attorney General's website.

The deadline to file is June 25th.

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