JACKSON, MS (WJTV) — People everywhere are firing back at a statement by Jackson Councilman Kenneth Stokes. In a recent interview, the Ward 3 leader suggested that citizens throw things at police from other jurisdictions during chases into Jackson.
“Let’s get rocks, let’s get bricks and let’s get bottles and start throwing them and then they won’t come in here anymore,” Stokes said.
Stokes is known for his bold and often controversial statements, but this one has created major fallout. Some say his suggestion for fixing the problem of high speed chasing through Jackson has them appalled.
“I was disgusted with it. Right now with everything that’s going on, we need to have the positive out there instead of the negative,” said Sherie Cooper of Mississippi’s Wives Behind the Badge. “Everything pertaining to what he said is what fuels this negativity.”
In 2015, there were several chases originating in other cities and ending in Jackson. The most recent chase, that got this reaction from Councilman Stokes, involved 49-year-old Eric Singleton. He’s accused of shoplifting at the Walmart in Richland where, police say, he assaulted two people in the parking lot before he dragged them across four parking spaces. Richland Police followed him up Highway 49. They were joined by officers in Pearl and Flowood.
In a tweet, Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber addressed the issue saying “While there is a need to demand respect of jurisdictional boundaries, I could never condone violence against officers.”
Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker also used social media to address the issue. On his Facbeook page he said “Stokes. I’m your huckleberry! Law Enforcement will not be intimidated by you. Any Madison county law enforcement that is attacked because of your ignorant statements, I will hold you responsible. I fully intend to contact the MS Attorney General and inquire if your statements constitute assaults on officers by threat.”
We were unable to get in contact the of the Ward 3 leader, who is now at the center of controversy. During the interview, Stokes offered another suggestion to those officers involved in chases.
“They could easily break off the chase, get the tag number. We will pay for whatever they stole. We want the same respect that they give to their neighborhoods given to Jackson neighborhoods,” Stokes said.
Sherrie Cooper, whose husband is Chief of Police in Columbia, MS, says she understands the danger of high speed chases but could never agree with what the councilman is suggesting.
“Someone in his position doesn’t need to hold that title,” Cooper said. “They’re the ones that are supposed to have their back and support law enforcement; it’s very disappointing. Every day they put their lives on the line. We don’t know if they’re coming back or not. Just to protect everybody else and the communities that they serve. When someone like this happens, it just fuels more anger and hate.”