Mississippi is pushing for more state policing in the predominantly black city

JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — The Mississippi Legislature-majority white and Republican-led is taking final steps to expand the territory of a state-run police agency within the state Capital Jacksonwhich is majority black and governed by Democrats.

Critics say the proposal would trample on local self-government and create unequal justice systems in different parts of Jackson, which has the highest percentage of black residents of any major US city.

Supporters say they are trying to reduce crime in a city of about 150,000 that has had more than 100 homicides in each of the past three years.

Senators on Thursday passed the final version of a bill that Democratic Senator John Horhn von Jackson called “toxic,” with 31 Republicans voting yes and 15 Democrats voting no.

The House of Representatives is expected to pass the bill Friday and send it to Republican Gov. Tate Reeves. He hasn’t said if he’ll sign it, but he’s said many times that Jackson has a crime problem.

Most Republicans walked out of the Senate chamber during Thursday’s debate, leaving Democrats to deliver speeches to a chamber full of empty chairs.

Democratic Senator Barbara Blackmon of Canton, who is black, compared the proposal to legislation racist whites enacted to oppress blacks after Reconstruction.

“It’s essentially creating a police state here in the city of Jackson,” Blackmon said.

Republican Sen. Brice Wiggins of Pascagoula, who is white, said shortly thereafter that Blackmon was good at making headline-grabbing statements that wrongly portrayed Mississippi as hostile.

“This isn’t about race,” Wiggins said. “This was really about helping the people of Jackson in times of need.”

The state control proposal has angered Jackson residents who don’t want their vote in local government reduced, and it’s the latest example of longstanding tensions between the Republican-led state government and the Democrat-led capital .

The plan would create a temporary courthouse within a Capitol Complex Improvement District in part of Jackson. The judge would not have to live in Jackson and would be appointed by the Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court. The current chief justice is a conservative white man. The court would have the same powers as the magistrates’ courts, which handle cases of misdemeanors, traffic violations, and first appearances for some criminal charges.

Most municipal judges are appointed by city officials. Jackson has a black mayor and a mostly black city council. An earlier version of the bill would have created a court with broader powers, similar to courts with elected judges.

Source : news.yahoo.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *