Jackson pastor weighs in on police shootings and violence in Dal - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson pastor weighs in on police shootings and violence in Dallas

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Many religious leaders across the nation are standing with the law enforcement family after the brutal killings of five Dallas police officers, all while denouncing the recent officer-involved shootings of blacks in this country.

One local pastor is finding ways to prevent violence and police brutality.

“I know we are targets,” said Jackson's Keith Simmons.

Simmons said he's been harassed by police several times.

“I was sitting in my car getting ready to go inside the building and two Caucasian male police officers - I was by myself and I got tattoos on my arms and I may look like a certain place and stereotypical - they walked up to me and asked me where was I going,” Simmons said.

Simmons said he immediately thought about the advice he was given by New Jerusalem's pastor, Dwayne Pickett, on how to behave when it comes to police.

“If your life is not  in danger, you have to be compliant," said Pastor Pickett. "They are disrespecting you and you are disrespecting them, that is going to do no good. They have the badge, they have the gun, you can't react there.”

Pickett pastors 6,000 members at his churches in Jackson, many are young black males. He said he was saddened after viewing the cell phone footage of police shooting two black men in different parts of the country.

“It really just ripped my heart out,” said Pickett.

The Jackson pastor was also upset that the anger over the shootings led to Dallas police officers being killed.

“I can't imagine that level of anger and rage," Pickett added.

Pickett said police brutality is a major problem in the black community that is unfair and has to stop.

“It's important that the officers, Caucasian officers, the same way you don't want us to categorize all of you in the same light, don't categorize all African-American males in the same light.”

Pastor Pickett and Simmons also want to point out that fighting violence with violence will never solve a problem.

“We have a number of police officers in our church. I've already made contact with the Chief of Police here in Jackson, and I'm going to talk with the Sheriff here in Hinds County. And really starting talking about what can we do together to make sure we don't have that type of environment here." said Pickett. "It is really about education on both sides.”

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