Council discusses National Guard intervention to stop escalating violent crime in Jackson

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 8:47 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Escalating crime in the Capital City has council members looking to outside help to stop the violence.

Tuesday, city leaders discussed bringing in a military presence.

Councilman Kenneth Stokes presented a resolution to ask for help from the National Guard, but some fear the message a military presence would send.

The Ward 3 representative told his colleagues that Jackson needs help with the rising number of killings in the city and asked for support of a resolution for the emergency deployment of the Mississippi National Guard to address what he calls the crime epidemic in the city.

“We can’t just call them out,” said Ward 1 Councilman Ashby Foote. “We can certainly, but we need to go through the governor’s office to get the national guard if they’re gonna help us with this matter.”

“They’re dying in this city,” said Stokes. “They are dying in this city and if we can get the National Guard’s help, do it. If we have to ask the governor for help, do it.”

Some on the council are apprehensive about bringing in the military.

“What concerns me is treating the optics that we’re living in a military state,” said Ward 4 Councilman Brian Grizzell. “The council should be more concerned with trying to give JPD what it needs to be successful versus bringing in a higher authority.”

Here’s what some residents had to say.

“I’m opposed to any kind continued incarceration of people,” said Lucy Kaplan. “I just don’t think that further militarization of our community is necessary. I don’t think it’s gonna do anything good for anybody.”

“I think they should. It’s too ridiculous,” said Darice Jackson. “Parents are burying their kids young. Yeah, we need it. The police need some help whether they want to admit it or not. We need some help.”

“I think that could lead to more problems than fix them and, at the same time, I think isn’t that the job of our police department?” said Cat Johnson. “Don’t we have police officers for the purpose of that.”

Only the governor can activate the National Guard.

After a second for the resolution was withdrawn, the resolution was placed in committee for further study. There were concerns about the resolution giving the appearance of a police state in the city.

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