A Mississippi lawmaker has stirred up controversy by telling citizens to throw rocks, bricks, and bottles at police officers who go after misdemeanor suspects.
Councilman Kenneth Stokes, from Jackson, said in a news conference on December 31 that police were putting children’s lives at risk by chasing petty criminals into Jackson from neighboring jurisdictions.
“What I suggest is that we get the black leadership together and that as these jurisdictions come into Jackson we throw rocks and bricks and bottles at them,” Stokes said at the conference. “That will send a message that we don't want you in here.”
Stokes later told The Clarion-Ledger that the message he is trying to send with his call for police violence is for police to “stop endangering out children.”
“We have to draw a line between officers who put human beings safety in jeopardy versus using common sense,” Stokes told The Clarion-Ledger. “I don’t consider these police officers. I consider them thugs.”
Stokes said that he believes if a chase is over a misdemeanor, police “shouldn’t be putting children and the elderly in danger,” but added that if “you are talking about a murderer or a bank robbery, then this is person who may be a little more dangerous to the community.”
Stokes’ comments have stirred up controversy locally, with some people saying that he should be jailed for inciting violence towards law enforcement.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant called Stokes’ comments “reprehensible.”
Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker also commented on Stokes’ statement, saying that police are not intimidated by him.