Mississippi councilman advocates for throwing bottles, rocks at police
JACKSON, Miss — A city councilman fed up with police from other counties racing after small-time crooks in his Jackson, Mississippi, neighborhood has called for residents to throw things at officers in pursuit.
Councilman Kenneth Stokes has a reputation of saying what he thinks and stirring controversy.
“Let’s get rocks; let’s get bricks, and let’s get bottles,” Stokes told CNN affiliate WJTV. “And we’ll start throwing them, and then they won’t come in here anymore.”
It was no one-off quip. Stokes repeated the suggestion to other local news outlets.
“When you have these police officers coming from other jurisdictions and they will not respect human life, then I said we should use rocks, bricks or bottles to try to get the message over: stop endangering our children,” Stokes told Jackson’s The Clarion-Ledger newspaper.
Outrage poured out on social media culminating in vows by a sheriff and the governor to seek an investigation against Stokes.
“So why hasn’t he been arrested. I believe inciting a riot is against the law,” a user posted to Twitter.
“Sad that an elected official in the City of Jackson would try to incite violence against law enforcement. Resign now #kennethstokes,” another commented.
Gov. Phil Bryant issued the following statement, via WJTV:
“Mr. Stokes’ remarks are reprehensible, particularly with the attacks we have seen against our men and women in law enforcement. I condemn any such remarks in the strongest possible manner. This is nothing short of an outright assault upon all who wear the badge. I will be asking Attorney General Jim Hood to investigate whether Mr. Stokes’ remarks represent criminal threats against law enforcement officers.”
Stokes told local media that his comments were not a call to riots.
He said that he supports police and that police from surrounding jurisdictions pursuing dangerous criminals like armed robbers through Jackson is justified. But risking lives to chase people suspected of misdemeanors is not.
A recent chase appears to have brought Stokes to a boiling point that led to the rocks, bottles and bricks comment.
Officers from three towns chased a man who had shoplifted at a Walmart and assaulted people in the parking lot.
Multiple police cars raced after the suspect through Jackson.
“It was a misdemeanor. They could easily break off the chase, get the tag number,” Stokes said. “We’ll pay for whatever they stole to make sure that our babies are not harmed. We want the same respect that they give to their neighborhoods given to Jackson neighborhoods.”