Jackson Ward 3 City Councilman Kenneth Stokes issued a statement on his earlier incitements to Jackson residents to commit acts of violence against the police from other jurisdictions who chase suspects into Jackson. The Clarion-Ledger interviewed Mr. Stokes yesterday. He said:
My position is this: When you have these police officers coming from other jurisdictions and they will not respect human life, then I said we should use rocks, bricks or bottles to try to get the message over: stop endangering our children," Stokes said. "Now I have supported police officers in police departments all over this state from when I was a (Hinds County) supervisor when we voted for new cars and equipment for police officer. I opened and closed the last council meeting an honor of an officer who had died. I have named streets after officers in this city. (KF Note: He also cut the Sheriff's budget by $3.5 million and protested when supervisors returned a million dollars to his budget.) Article.
There is no question of my love and respect for police officers; my first degree was in criminal justice," Stokes said. "I almost became a police officer, but somewhere down the line, we have to draw a line between officers who put human beings safety in jeopardy versus using common sense. I don't consider these police officers. I consider them thugs."
These kind of chases put children in danger," Stokes said. "They said parents were trying to get their children out of harms way. Now, it is our position that if it is a misdemeanor, you shouldn't be putting children and the elderly in danger."
"Now, if you are talking about a murderer or a bank robbery, then this is person who may be a little more dangerous to the community, but not a misdemeanor," Stokes said. "We have had this discussion over and over again, but it looks like these jurisdictions have taken the position they don't care. And that is the wrong position to take. What are you going to do — wait until someone is killed?" (KF note: How is a regular person supposed to know at the time of the chase if the police are chasing a felony or misdemeanor suspect?)
"The City Council must take steps to address this recurring problem," Stokes said. "Outside jurisdictions chasing suspects around Jackson neighborhoods must not be allowed.
Governor Phil Bryant minced no words in criticizing Mr. Stokes:
Mr. Stokes’ remarks are reprehensible, particularly with the attacks we have seen against our men and women in law enforcement. I condemn any such remarks in the strongest possible manner. This is nothing short of an outright assault upon all who wear the badge. I will be asking Attorney General Jim Hood to investigate whether Mr. Stokes’ remarks represent criminal threats against law enforcement officers.
Meanwhile Attorney General Jim Hood issued this statement:
"Comments or actions that put our law enforcement officers in harm's way cannot be tolerated. Frustration or dissatisfaction with police policies or procedures does not give any person, especially an elected official, the right to jeopardize the safety of officers. We should instead be focused on cooperation and mutual respect between citizens and law enforcement. Certainly, the Office of Attorney General will investigate any complaint received in this or any other matter."
Jackson Ward 1 Councilman Ashby Foote sold out to da man and issued this statement as well:
I think such flippant comments are unworthy of the high office of city councilman. It’s demeaning to the difficult duties that our law enforcement officers have to carry out on a daily basis.