Methinks this just might be against the law.
Councilman Kenneth Stokes, a councilman in Jackson, Mississippi is a bit mad.
Apparently he’s fed up with police from other counties racing after small-time crooks in his neighborhood and has called for residents to throw things at officers in pursuit.
And because inciting violence against police is most likely not a good thing, the governor and a county sheriff are threatening to have prosecutors investigate him over the suggestion.
As CNN reports, the Councilman has a reputation of saying what he thinks and stirring controversy. “Let’s get rocks; let’s get bricks, and let’s get bottles,” Stokes told CNN affiliate WJTV. “And we’ll start throwing them, and then they won’t come in here anymore.”
Side note: from the councilman’s web page, “He is a man who puts God first. He is also a devoted husband and father. As City Councilman, he has been a leader in drafting laws for the betterment of the citizens of the City of Jackson. As always, Councilman Kenneth I. Stokes will continue to fight for the citizens of Ward Three and represent them as their voice on the Jackson City Council.” Apparently the laws he drafts aren’t meant for the police force.
“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 told Jackson’s The Clarion-Ledger newspaper.
Outrage poured out on social media culminating in vows by a sheriff and the governor to seek an investigation against Stokes. “So why hasn’t he been arrested. I believe inciting a riot is against the law,” a user posted to Twitter. “Sad that an elected official in the City of Jackson would try to incite violence against law enforcement. Resign now #kennethstokes,” another commented.
Gov. Phil Bryant issued a statement on Facebook. “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,” he said.
The Jackson Mayor, Tony Yarber, distanced himself from Stokes’ suggestion. “While there is a need to demand respect of jurisdictional boundaries, I could never condone violence against officers,” he said.
And in typical back pedaling fashion, Stokes told local media that his comments were not a call to riots. He said that he supports police, and that police from surrounding jurisdictions pursuing dangerous criminals such as armed robbers through Jackson is justified. But risking lives to chase people suspected of misdemeanors is not.
And what drove Stokes to make such a comment? A recent chase where officers from three towns chased a man who had shoplifted at a Walmart and assaulted people in the parking lot. Multiple police cars raced after the suspect through Jackson. “It was a misdemeanor. They could easily break off the chase, get the tag number,” Stokes said. “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.”
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