JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – “What do I think should be done? Bricks, rocks and bottles would stop this nonsense,” Ward 3 Jackson City Councilman Kenneth Stokes stands by his controversial comment in a press conference at Jackson City Hall, Sunday. Again, he suggests using those objects to stop law enforcement from chasing criminals into the city from other jurisdictions.
Councilman Stokes first made national headlines when he said the same comment December 31. Stokes claims the chases all come down to race. “Race is a factor in the blatant disregard for the public for the public safety of innocent children and elderly citizens in unlawful chases by outside jurisdictions,” says Stokes. That’s how Sunday’s news conference started, Stokes ended with, “now the first thing I’d say to the sheriff of Rankin County is that he’s a dumb bastard.”
“I guess I could stoop down to his level and have a response like him and say ‘yo mama’ or something like that, but I’m not. My job – the citizens of Rankin County elected me to keep them say and that’s what we’ll continue to do here,” says Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey in response.
This all started when Richland Police chased a shoplifting suspect into a Jackson neighborhood, Christmas week. This is the exchange between WJTV’s Malary Pullen and Councilman Stokes.
MALARY: DO YOU NOT REALIZE THOUGH THAT THEY ARE CHASING CRIMINALS?
STOKES: No, no. Don’t say criminals, don’t say criminals.
MALARY: NO BUT THEY ARE CRIMINALS.
STOKES: We’re talking about misdemeanors.
MALARY: BUT A MISDEMEANOR IS A CRIME.
STOKES: It’s a big difference between a misdemeanor and a felony.
“These people start driving crazy well then yea it’s going to automatically turn into a felony. So yea pretty much every case we have is a felony fleeing,” explains Sheriff Bailey.
Stokes says he’s trying to protect the children in Jackson neighborhoods; during what the councilman calls, unlawful pursuits. However, Sheriff Bryan Bailey says the law is on his side.
“When a crime is committed in Rankin County in whichever way it goes, the jurisdiction for Rankin County goes with that chase,” says Bailey.
This is a part of the Mississippi Code on police pursuits:
“I challenge him to cross that river, I’ll bring my own car, let him throw a rock at me, I’ll be having him pick up garbage for the next few years,” says Bailey. “Kenny Stokes is everything that’s wrong with Jackson. He’s the reason it’s going downhill.
Stokes says he’s calling on the Justice Department to investigate the number of police pursuits brought into the city of Jackson. Governor Phil Bryant plans to contact Attorney General Jim Hood about Stokes’s comment about throwing rocks, bottles and bricks at those officers on the chase.