Mississippi councilman Kenneth Stokes staunchly defended his controversial comments claiming that law enforcement chases taking place in his neighborhood were racist, according to a report from the Jackson, Mississippi newspaper The Clarion-Ledger Monday. He previously told residents they should take up rocks, bricks and bottles to show police how they feel about officers from other jurisdictions carrying out chases in Jackson.
He did not elaborate on what the citizens should do with the rocks, bricks and bottles. Stokes did not walk back his comments in a press conference Monday, following local officials distancing themselves from the councilman's remarks.
"Race. 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 said, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
Stokes was angered by a high-speed chase on Christmas Eve during which officers from up to three other jurisdictions sped through his ward. He called the officers from neighboring areas "thugs with badges" and said he planned to ask the Department of Justice to look into a number of pursuits that took place in his ward. "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 previously said to The Clarion-Ledger. He suggested race was a factor because his ward is largely black and the surrounding jurisdictions are predominantly white.
Miss. law enforcement condemns Jackson politician's suggestion to throw rocks at cops chasing suspects into his ward https://t.co/0vvrVMxq0q
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 2, 2016
Other local officials have condemned the comments from Stokes. Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker said he was investigating possible criminal charges for Stokes, while Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said he would ask the state attorney general to look into legal measures. Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey said that Stokes' comments were "racist" against "everyone that bleeds blue," according to WAPT in Jackson.