Councilman says Jackson committee’s approach to city’s crime problems lacks accountability

Talks between committee and JPD police chief stall after mayor asks chief not to appear Monday

Councilman says Jackson committee’s approach to city’s crime problems lacks accountability

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson city leaders still haven’t gotten specifics from the police chief on how his new crime plan would actually lower violent crime, and, as a result, that plan remains stalled.

In a memo obtained by 3 On Your Side, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba asked for that Monday meeting to be rescheduled because JPD Chief James Davis needed more time to gather the specifics the council’s law enforcement ad hoc committee requested.

Lumumba also told them that neither the administration nor Davis would attend. The committee held its meeting Monday anyway, with many criticizing the chief for not showing up.

“It really should all be about making Jackson safe. It’s not safe right now. Because if you look at homicide rates, the violent crime, the shootings, like the one we had last Saturday night, and to say, well, we need to postpone the meeting, because we don’t have all the particular data that we’d like to or we’d like for only one to meet once a quarter is like whistling past the graveyard, literally whistling past the graveyard,” said Ward 1 Councilman Ashby Foote.

Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes believes committees are the wrong approach.

State law specifies that in the mayor-council form of government, only the mayor is over city employees, including the police department and police chief. The city council can’t compel Davis to do anything, like show up to their committee meetings.

Stokes said what the council should do is take their issues straight to Lumumba and put it on the agenda. That brings more accountability per statute than committee meetings.

“Some cities don’t have committee meetings. When you start having committees and committee meetings, you start thinking that you got more authority than you really have,” Stokes said. “Whenever you get council members trying to become the mayor, then you run into problems. We must follow state law.”

3 On Your Side reached out to Councilman Aaron Banks, Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay, Mayor Lumumba and Chief Davis for comment on this story.

Only Lindsay’s assistant got back to us, saying the councilwoman had a full schedule and could not accommodate an interview.

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