Jackson, Mississippi Councilman Kenneth Stokes has unleashed a firestorm of controversy over his call for citizens to throw bricks and bottles at police who are trying to make arrests. Stokes declared “Let’s get rocks; let’s get bricks, and let’s get bottles. And we’ll start throwing them, and then they won’t come in here anymore.” (Notably, the Jackson sheriff agreed with the Stokes in opposing car chases in the city while Stokes himself remains entirely unapologetic for calling for violence against police.)
It was a reprehensible statement for Stokes, who has a history of outrageous comments. He tried dress up his violent advocacy later in an interview with Jackson’s Clarion-Ledger: “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.”
The most immediate threat evident in the area is Stokes himself. While I have both sued and represented law enforcement officers, I have never stopped being grateful to police officers for what they do on a daily basis. Among other things, they protect people like Stokes who is now advocating that people assault them.
Having said this, I do not agree with calls for Stokes’ prosecution for engaging in free speech. The response to Stokes shows that we do not have to criminalize speech to counteract such hateful messages.
Stokes was specifically referring to police pursuing people on misdemeanor offenses. Yet, that hardly justifies a call to assault police. Stokes insists that he was responding to a recent chase of police of a man who had shoplifted at a Walmart and assaulted people in the parking lot. Various jurisdictions chased the man and Stokes object that “[i]t 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.”
It is a rather poor example given the assault element to the shoplifting allegation. Moreover, this man had clearly threatened the community if he confronted people in the parking lot. More importantly, while one can make reasoned arguments against police chases for minor cases, there is no logic that leads you to supporting an assault on police officers as a solution.
What is distressing is that the city council only managed to issue a statement distancing themselves from Stokes’ comments rather than voting on a censure of a city council member calling for violence.
What is also distressing is that Stokes is a lawyer with Juris Doctorate degree in law from Thurgood Marshall School of law at Texan Southern University in Houston, Texas.
What do you think?
30 thoughts on “Stoking the Flames: Jackson Mississippi Councilman Calls For Citizens To Assault Police With Bricks and Bottles”
Stokes is asking for LA riots of 1992. Rocks, bricks, bottles and mayhem. Hit the school buses and drag women out of cars and brick them. Burn the place down.
The riots left more than 50 dead, over 4,000 were injured and cost $1 billion in property damage.
Fer shizzle, my dizzle!!
Not, fer sizzle!!
Although, I kinda like fer sizzle, too!
Great remark and observation, Tin.
You’d think that with all of the money that this guy has probably boosted from the depleted town’s coffers that he could, at least, afford to buy a suit that fits better than this one. A gangsta’s life ain’t easy. That’s fer sizzle, my dizzle.
What jumped out at me is where Stokes places the blame: Not with the shoplifter who assaulted people who tried to apprehend him and then led police on a high-speed chase, but on the police who were trying to catch him. Surely the criminal could have stopped his car and surrendered, rather than endanger the “babies” in his own neighborhood, but Stokes doesn’t acknowledge that this grown-man and community member has any responsibility for his own actions and the impact of his actions on others. But as a politician, Stokes understands that the community he represents doesn’t demand personal accountability from themselves or others, which is why they are living in poverty and which is why they elect fools like Stokes to represent them.
Tin – you will notice from the photo of Stokes that he has not missed many meals lately.
Let’s say that this councilman, for example, instructed his community to, instead, throw rocks, bottles, bricks and stones at. . .let’s say. . .law professors. Yeah. Law professors. If his community members feel threatened by the police, as they enter their communities, why not take things up a notch? Law professors instruct students, who will soon graduate to be lawyers, so, after all, aren’t they really the ones responsible for all of the repressive laws? The injustice? The oppression? The root and source of the problem? Those responsible for training and educating the lawyers who will actually write and draft the unjust laws? What then, JT? Still only hateful speech or something more? Thank God that imbecilic buffoons, like this councilman, are not very deep thinkers and just manage to lash out at the men in blue. You just gotta know that it won’t be pretty if they ever managed to sprout any brains.
And we’ll start throwing them, and then they won’t come in here anymore.
Today he doesn’t want cops, but after he and his constituents drive them out they’ll claim cops stay away due to racism.
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