Jackson mayor hints at possible future solutions from multi-agency crime summit

Lumumba: Public, press not invited to avoid ‘finger-pointing’ at agencies
Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 9:27 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Efforts to find solutions to the Capital City’s crime crisis kicked off Friday with leaders from every facet of government attending a lowkey crime summit organized by the mayor, an event closed to the press and public.

“We were able to have a conversation that wasn’t geared towards pointing fingers; it wasn’t geared towards grandstanding,” said Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba.

Lumumba said the hastily-called meeting involved more than 40 people from the city, county, state, and federal government, all with fruitful discussions about how to approach Jackson’s crime problem.

“We were able to come in the room and identify where we saw eye to eye, and what our common ends and objectives were, placed on the floor [for] debate surrounding the various ways we saw getting to that destination. And I believe that we left the room with a greater sense of unity than we arrived in.”

Though Lumumba didn’t specifically name who attended, Capitol Police and Jackson Public Schools vehicles could be seen parked outside the event.

Two council members also attended — Council President Virgi Lindsay and Vice-President Angelique Lee.

The rest were not invited, the mayor said, for several reasons.

“We chose to limit the number of people who were in attendance in part to make certain that we didn’t have so many people present that we could not have a productive meeting,” Lumumba said. “We have state rules that we have to abide by. If you add too many council persons, then it becomes a public meeting that has to be advertised.”

Ward 6 Councilman Aaron Banks and Ward 1 Councilman Ashby Foote declined to comment on being shut out of the crime summit.

“I hope that the meeting results in something substantial for actual results,” said Ward 5 Councilman Vernon Hartley.

Lumumba believes it did, telling reporters afterward that they identified workable short-term and long-term solutions.

“I won’t, I won’t go into detail right now about those, but there will become a time where that will be appropriate,” Lumumba said.

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