Kenneth Stokes, the Jackson, Mississippi, council member who urged residents to attack police pursuing suspects in their community, defended his comments over the weekend, which he said were in response to racism-fueled vehicle pursuits that put lives at risk.
“Race is a factor, and the blatant disregard for the public safety of innocent children and elderly citizens in unlawful chases by outside jurisdictions, in the inner city of Jackson neighborhoods,” Stokes told the Clarion-Ledger.
Stokes sparked a national controversy with his comments about a high-speed chase through his largely-black Jackson community on Christmas Eve, in which law enforcement agencies from several neighboring jurisdictions joined forces to apprehend a suspect.
“Let’s get rocks, let’s get bricks, and let’s get bottles,” Stokes told a CNN affiliate. “And we’ll start throwing them, and then they won’t come in here anymore.”
told a CNN affiliate. “And we’ll start throwing them, and then they won’t come in here anymore.”
Stokes, who described the contingent of police officers who participated in the chase as “thugs with badges,” said he intends to ask the Department of Justice to investigate the number of police pursuits in his ward, noting that the surrounding jurisdictions are largely white and pursuits of residents through the streets of Jackson seem racially-fueled.
The comments enraged the law enforcement community, with members of the Jackson City Council and local authorities repudiating Stokes.
“As president of the City Council, I can say unequivocally that Councilman Stokes’ comments are indefensible and do not represent the Jackson City Council or the city of Jackson,” Ward 2 Councilman Melvin Priester said in a statement.