Stoking the Flames: Jackson Mississippi Councilman Calls For Citizens To Assault Police With Bricks and Bottles

Kenneth_I._StokesJackson, 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”

  1. If all that is necessary to get away with a crime is to leave in a vehicle, then it’s a free for all anarchy. I agree with the trend of using helicopters, and I assume drones, to follow a vehicle, dropping back when they get to a high density areas. And using spike strips and other means to slow them down. But you have to balance using common sense in police chases with catching criminals.

    “We’ll just pay for whatever they stole” to keep the babies safe? Well, cool, then those “babies” will just go loot Walmart and Best Buy and the local liquor store. Why not? It’s free! The city will pay for it, and any cop who pursues them will be reprimanded.

  2. OK. Fine. Police, don’t go into those neighborhoods run by Stokes. Put up a big sign that reads, “Mississippi Burning, brought to you by Councilman Stokes.” Because he really cares so much more than most people about his community.

    If people are going to throw rocks and bricks at their local cops making arrests, then they don’t get policing. Let the anarchists and the gangs have it.

    It was my understanding that the narrow requirements for inciting a riot included instructions to do actual harm or violence. Does this not qualify? Or does he need to be standing at the head of a crowd, rather than social media?

    Can one of the lawyers here answer that question – when does Free Speech become accessory to murder? Or putting out a contract for murder? I firmly support Free Speech, even when it’s ugly or reprehensible. I am curious, however, where that line is drawn between accessory to murder (or whatever the relevant charge would be). For instance, if a girlfriend tells her boyfriend to go kill her rival, she would be charged with a crime. Isn’t this similar?

    1. Karen – he may have some legislative immunity for this speech, if not I say arrest him for inciting a riot.

  3. Your police need to carry rocks and bottles. And bottle rockets for that matter.

  4. I wholeheartedly agree with Olly, and, God help me, I agree with isaac.

    This does not, in my opinion, garner the protection of free speech. Given that this buffoon is most probably instructing his mostly poor, uneducated and unemployed constituents, who actually feel and believe that he speaks with some degree of authority due to his position on the council, to throw rocks, bottles and bricks at the police when they enter into their community, I am baffled as to how JT can classify that as merely “hateful” speech, unworthy of prosecution? He is not being prosecuted for a reason, and it’s not because no crime has been committed. It’s because this backwater town, down in Mississippi, doesn’t want to pursue charges against him. Why? Because he’s black and because the thugs and criminals that adore him would unleash their anger on the town, as we’ve seen before, if he were to be charged with the applicable crime. That’s much different than alleging that no crime has been committed.

    I wonder if JT would ever be involved in a case where a police officer was killed directly because a certain person or group of people threw rocks, bricks, bottles and stones at an officer as a result of the encouragement and statements from this councilman? What then, JT? Would you defend the assailants, claiming that they were only following what they assumed to be their right and privilege, as expressed by the councilman? Would you argue that they believed that they were acting under color of law, due to the councilman’s statements? If so, that flies in the face of also calling it merely hateful speech. Which is it?

  5. Maybe Walmarts should just start running a tab for the Councilman and once a month he can pay for everything that has been shoplifted.

  6. If he were a white dude, he would be called a domestic terrorist.

    The people of Baltimore and Ferguson who destroyed their cities are domestic terrorists but labeled as protesters.

    The people in Oregon are protestors but because their white, their domestic terrorists.

    Why doesn’t the mayor of that city give those Bundy ranch protesters room to “destroy”, as Baltimore’s mayor did.

  7. Here we have a ‘leader’, someone who represents either directly or indirectly law and order, the administration. We also have a constituency inhabited by sufficient numbers of easily convinced people. He advises/directs his followers to do harm to the police. JT, where does ‘free speech’ turn into incitement to riot. Is this closer to yelling fire in a crowded theatre than the ideals of our society.

    If the constituents won’t vote him out then the reliance on freedoms of speech and other safeguards don’t seem to work. What we have here is a gang and a gang leader that is advising the members of the gang to riot. I suppose we have to wait for the damage to be done and the links to be made before making a visit to the Honorable Councilman’s office.

  8. This public “official” has now given a green light to assault the police from other jurisdictions. How in the world is anyone not monitoring a scanner going to know whether the police are there for a minor offense or something else altogether? Will cops make bad choices, absolutely. But they save lives as well. They deserve more trust than the progressive politicians left to run amok.

    1. Dave I was flying with a F/O who graduated from Liberty U of Falwell fame. He mentioned to me that he voted for Bush because he thought getting a blow job in the Oval Office was outrageous. I told him that I did not know Gore got one too. There was silence after that. THAT is with a four year degree and the fool couldn’t think his way out of a paper bag.

      I can assure you that there would be NO high speed police chase going through an upscale neighborhood, and if it did happen,there would be consequences. While this guys statement was over the top,I CAN understand his concerns. He should have said that the city would pursue legal action against the out of control cops from other jurisdictions. I doubt that he is stockpiling rock and bottle piles for use, and he was deliberately being provocative to get attention. He succeeded, but he might want to cover his butt in case some fools DO take up the call literally.

  9. One concern is that so many police today were trained for military combat. The path from Military combat to a local police force is a common one for young men with learning disorders, lacking the aptitude for other work. Couple that with learning disordered and mentally ill civilian underclass populations and it is a recipe for widespread carnage and destruction.

    Police forces need to be composed of better educated folks with a better sense of appropriate behavior. A primary goal of government needs to be to address our huge learning disordered population and do everything possible to encourage birth control among learning disordered folks.

  10. Stokes is an incredibly stupid person, but a brilliant politician that is elected by a poverty stricken all black ghetto district. He’s preaching to his choir. He has a law degree, but could never pass the bar exam. While his constituents think he is a hero, he is, in fact, cementing them into their rotting community.

  11. He is merely voicing the views of Black Lives Matter. I welcome people saying what they think and not being held to the confines of political correctness. There are MANY more politicians who think like him but don’t speak their true thoughts.

  12. He’s ahead of the curve…if his boy gets his way tuesday all his kin will have is rocks to throw. I knew rock piles would have value someday. Meanwhile….in oregon…..

  13. Not sure the difference here between yelling fire in a theater and his statement on its “merits.”
    If yelling fire is part of a production and misconstrued,..tragic. IRT Stokes, what was the actual Sitz im Leben?

  14. The point is that there was NO good reason to chase this crook through residential neighborhoods at high speeds. Also, I would like to know HOW a cop from another town or county can legally make an arrest outside their jurisdiction. The cops showed no respect or concern for the resident there, so I can understand why the people shouldn’t respect those cops who spit on the law.

  15. His comments were reprehensible. I would hope that his constituents will turf him out out the next election.

    I wonder if he would feel the same way if he or a member of his family had been assaulted!

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