Rankin Co. sheriff: Stokes' statements incite racism, violence a - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Rankin Co. sheriff: Stokes' statements incite racism, violence against officers

PEARL, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Days after Pearl police chased a suspect into a neighborhood in Jackson, Councilman Kenneth Stokes spoke to reporters, making what some call controversial statements.

Stokes, who was upset that officers from outside the city of Jackson's jurisdiction were chasing suspects into residential areas, urged residents to take drastic measures. 

Now at least one sheriff in the metro said those statements could incite violence if and when another chase comes through the Capital City.

"A wise man once told me, 'You can't fight jealousy or ignorance,' and the statements that Mr. Stokes has made are complete ignorance," Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey said.

Bailey called what Stokes told reporters Thursday "highly inappropriate."

Those statements came after Pearl police chased someone into a neighborhood in Stokes' ward.

"What I suggest, we get the black leadership together, and as these jurisdictions come into Jackson, we throw rocks, bricks and bottles at them. That will send a message we don't want you in here," Stokes said Thursday.

Reaction on social media happened almost immediately.

Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker said on Facebook that he would hold Stokes responsible if any Madison County law enforcement officer was attacked as a result of those statements.

On Friday, several law enforcement heads from Rankin and Madison counties met to discuss their displeasure with Stokes' words.

"If any other elected official in Rankin County or anywhere else would have made the statements that he made, and changed the colors that he used, I think that we'd be on national news right now. Actually, Councilman Stokes is the one inciting racism and violence against police officers," Bailey said.

Some even said they're concerned about the safety of their officers now.

"We're very disappointed in Mr. Stokes' statements, and we stand unified against that kind of activity," said Richland Police Chief Russel James.

"To me, he's inciting some innocent young person who's doesn't understand the law is gonna get hurt over it because of him, because I fully expect my deputies to defend themselves," Bailey said.

At the same time, Brandon Police Chief William Thompson said their residents will be courteous if high-speed chases come through his city.

"Jackson, Hinds County, Madison, Scott County: if you chase somebody into Rankin County, if you chase somebody into Brandon, we're gonna be there. Nobody's gonna throw bottles at you. Nobody's gonna throw sticks and stones at you. We're all law enforcement officers, no matter where you're from," he said.

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