Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant issued a statement Saturday denouncing remarks a local elected official made about throwing rocks, bricks and bottles at police officers.
Bryant also called for an investigation to determine if Jackson Councilman Kenneth Stokes’ remarks “represent criminal threats against law enforcement officers.”
Stokes told reporters Thursday that officers from surrounding jurisdictions put Jackson children in danger when they pursue suspects wanted for minor crimes into his neighborhood, Fox 40 News reported.
“What I suggest is we get the black leadership together, and as these jurisdictions come into Jackson we throw rocks and brick and bottles at them,” Stokes said.
He said that will send a stern message to officers who want to track down young men who steal bubble gum, the station reported.
Bryant took to Facebook to criticize Stokes’ comments.
“Mr. Stokes’ remarks are reprehensible, particularly with the attack we have seen against our men and women in law enforcement,” the governor said. “I condemn any such remarks in the strongest possible manner. This is not short of an outright assault upon all who wear the badge.
He said he will be asking Attorney General Jim Hood to investigate.
Stokes defended his comments Friday.
“My position is this: 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,” he told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
The sheriff of Madison County north of Jackson warned Stokes on Facebook that law enforcement would not be intimidated by his comments.
“Any Madison County law enforcement that is attacked because of your ignorant statements, I will hold you responsible,” the sheriff Randy Tucker said.
Jackson mayor Tony Yarber tweeted that while there is a need to demand respect of jurisdictional boundaries, he could never condone violence against officers, according to the Clarion-Ledger.