Jackson, Mississippi councilman Kenneth Stokes has come up with one unconventional way to address the overpolicing of his city—physically retaliating against the cops.
“What I suggest is we get the black leadership together and as these jurisdictions come into Jackson, we throw rocks and bricks and bottles at them. That will send a message we don’t want you here,” he told local news affiliate WLBT-3 late last week.
Yeah, he went there.
Stokes is referring to a growing trend of police officers from other districts following suspects into his city’s lines for misdemeanor crimes. His “boiling point” may have been the recent police chase of an alleged shoplifter in a neighboring Walmart, who assaulted shoppers in the parking lot and was caught in a hot pursuit that three police cars and the assailant into Jackson, CNN wrote.
“It was a misdemeanor. They could easily break off the chase, get the tag number. We’ll pay for whatever they stole to make sure that our babies are not harmed. We want the same respect that they give to their neighborhoods given to Jackson neighborhoods,” he pleaded.
Stokes also emphasized that in no way was he calling for a race riot, nor does he lack respect for the police.
“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 officers, “ he told the Jackson Clarion-Leger.
Stokes added, “I opened and closed the last council meeting in honor of an officer who had died. I have named streets after officers in this city.”
Obviously, his remarks have received a lot of backlash from local police and residents, including his comrades in the city council. In a recent statement, the president of the council Melvin Priester Jr. wrote:
Even Phil Bryant, the state’s governor, weighed in condemning Stokes’ remarks, calling them “reprehensible” and “nothing short of an outright assault upon all who wear the badge.”
What do you think? Does Stokes have a valid point or should violence never be the answer?