(Clarksdale, MS) There’s a crime emergency in Clarksdale and more people than ever fear it’s out of control.
The Mississippi Delta town is trying to make a name for itself as a tourism destination, but a violent week is making it a hard sell.
With two deadly shootings and more that have left ten others wounded, city leaders called for an emergency meeting over the weekend.
And everyone agrees something needs to be done and soon.
“We got citizens to protect.”
The Clarksdale Board of Mayor and Commissioners meet in emergency session Saturday morning.
The “open” board meeting was called in response to a string of violent crimes that’s turned parts of Clarksdale into a war zone.
Mayor Henry Espy,
“And we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that the welfare and safety of the citizens is primary here in Clarksdale.”
The Memorial Day weekend started with an officer involved shooting friday night at the intersection of Riley and Sycamore Street during a traffic stop.
Four passengers in the vehicle jumped out. One of them was armed with an automatic weapon that had a 30-round magazine.
Clarksdale Police Chief Whit Read told the Mayor and Commissioners the officer fired in self-defense,
“During that time the officer defended his self, drew his weapon and the guy was shot in the lower leg or buttocks area.”
The violence continued during this holiday weekend.
A few hours later a man was shot to death in front of CW’s Lounge on Tallahatchie street and a young man and two women were wounded.
The motive behind the shooting is unknown, but Clarksdale Commissioners Buster Moton believes most of the city’s crime is connected to gang activity…something that’s been hard to police against,
“These gangbangers, they’re watching people who they want to put a hit out on. And if they’re watching you and they decide, ‘okay, this is the right time to hit you,’ there’s nothing that anybody could do.”
And people like Stanley Patterson says it does not a city hall meeting to know there’s a big crime problem in Clarksdale,
“You know, there’s just too much killing. Especially with the young people and the gangs and stuff like that. You know, all this stuff got to stop.”
During Saturday’s emergency meeting, Clarksdale’s Police Chief said his officers don’t feel like they’re getting adequate support from the Mayor and Commissioners.
But Mayor Henry Espy said officers have the city’s full support.