Council showdown reported by local paper - - Jackson, MS

Council showdown reported by local paper

Posted: Updated:

Roslyn Anderson - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -  A local newspaper reports a heated altercation between two Jackson City Council members that had to stopped by the mayor.

All involved deny the Clarion Ledger account of events of Tuesday night's council meeting and call the version over exaggerated.

"Bring it on let's do it whatever it is. Roll it, let the blood come on," said Jackson resident Enoch Sanders.

A statement by Sanders during council meeting public comment, alleging harassment of black residents by Clinton police, sparked what that the Clarion Ledger described as a heated exchange between Ward Three Councilman Kenneth Stokes and Council President Frank Bluntson.

"You're out of order," said Bluntson.

"I have a right to speak," answered Stokes.

"But you're not recognized," declared Bluntson.

Sanders was escorted from chambers by police.

Stokes agreed with Sanders and wanted to allow him to continue, but the council president wanted an end to what he called threatening comments.

He then called a five-minute recess as Stokes pressed the issue.

When the meeting resumed Bluntson continued with the consent agenda.

During its reading, Stokes petitioned the president to revisit the issue.

While stokes was leaned toward Bluntson speaking, Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson, Jr. rose, walked to the Ward Three councilman and tapped him on the shoulder.

The two then quietly left council chambers.

The newspaper article stated that the mayor had to separate Bluntson and Stokes.

All three deny the claim.

"I read the article this morning, and I thought I was dreaming. Had I missed something? The mayor did not separate us, but as long as I'm president of the council we're not going to have people threatening, talking about blood is going to run in the streets and all that kind of stuff," said Bluntson one day after the exchange.

"We didn't stand up. We weren't face to face. We sit next to each other. Just so happen the microphone caught it because I thought I had my head down talking to him. But it wasn't anything where we were fixing to tussle and everything like that," said Stokes.

"I don't consider it breaking up a fight and if those people watched the meeting through its entirety will see that at the end of the meeting everybody on the council was joking and laughing with each other, and I don't think there were any hard feelings," said Mayor Johnson.

As the meeting proceeded, Stokes and the mayor spoke privately then returned to the meeting.

The council colleagues said they can disagree and maintain good working relationships.

The mayor agreed to have the police department issue a letter to area law enforcement agencies requesting that they not stop Jackson residents without valid cause.

The council meeting aired Wednesday evening on the Public Access channel.

@2010 WLBT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Powered by WorldNow