What do you think would happen to you if started throwing rocks, bricks and bottles at law enforcement officers? Chances are you would find yourself in handcuffs and heading to jail for assaulting a police officer.
But that’s exactly what Kenneth Stokes, city councilman for Jackson, Mississippi, is advocating.
Jackson is the largest city in Mississippi with a population of over 500,000. It’s also the state capital. Like many large cities, Jackson is surrounded by smaller cities and it’s the law enforcement agencies of those surrounding towns that has drawn the ire of Stokes.
Stokes is upset because every so often, neighboring police departments have entered Jackson city limits during a high speed pursuit, the latest occurring on Christmas Eve. Speaking to Mississippi News Now, Stokes said:
“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 in here.”
When questioned about his statement to Mississippi News Now, Stokes told The Clarion-Ledger:
“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. 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. 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.”
According to WAPT News, in referring to neighboring police departments, Stokes stated:
“These are just thugs with guns and badges. What do I think should be done? Bricks, rocks and bottles would stop this nonsense.”
“Race is a factor in the blatant disregard for the public safety. I was on the council with a white mayor and a white majority council and a white chief of police. You didn’t have any of these chases. I was on the council with a white mayor and a black majority council and a white chief, no chases. When you get a black mayor, a black majority council and a black chief of police, you get more of these chases.”
Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey responded to Stokes’ comment, saying:
“He said this is racism? Yeah, this is racism — against every officer, deputy, everybody else that bleeds blue. It just makes me sick to my stomach that he would incite hatred and violence against these officers.”
Bailey was quoted by The Washington Post as saying:
“In my opinion, Kenneth Stokes represents everything that’s wrong with Jackson and why it’s going downhill. His mentality — he said this is racism? Yeah, it is racism, against every officer, every deputy, anybody else that bleeds blue.”
Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker also commented, saying:
“I think he is setting his district back. I think he’s setting his race back by implicating a race issue, and I think it reflects poorly on the capital of our state.”
Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance said he agrees with Stokes’ concern about the danger of high speed chases entering his city, but also said he strongly disagreed with Stokes’ statement about throwing rocks, bricks and bottles at law enforcement officers.
Phil Bryant, Governor of Mississippi also condemned Stokes’ statements, saying:
“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.”
Tony Yarber, Mayor of Jackson reacted by tweeting:
“While there is a need to demand respect of jurisdictional boundaries, I could never condone violence against officers.”
Would you be surprised if I told you that not only is Stokes black, but he’s a liberal Democrat also? Instead of trying to address the problem the way most sane people would do, Stokes has over reacted and taken a violent approach that is sure to only escalate the problem. It will incite local black activists to physically attack any law enforcement officer they see, regardless if they are in a high speed pursuit or not. Escalated violence against law enforcement will lead officers to be more defensive and overreact against those throwing things at them.
If a private citizen were to publicly call for violence against law enforcement officers, they would be quickly charged with a crime and arrested. But since Stokes is a black public figure, it will time to investigate and most likely he’ll never face any charges because of who and what he is.