Bill that would expand CCID, create court system sparks protest outside Capitol

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 7:09 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - There’s no bill that’s been introduced this legislative session that has gotten the pushback that House Bill 1020 has.

Just one day after Jackson’s mayor compared the legislation to apartheid, hundreds made their voices heard outside the State Capitol Tuesday.

The protest was held on the very same steps that Governor Tate Reeves touted Mississippi’s successes in his state of the state address the day before.

According to those protesting HB 1020 Tuesday, the legislation would be among Mississippi’s greatest failures if signed into law.

Among other things, the bill would more than triple Capitol Police’s current jurisdiction and create a court system with judges who are appointed – not elected.

Those who spoke Tuesday included leaders on the state level...

“This is my 41st year on these steps and not much has changed from the first year to now,” Rep. Edward Blackmon Jr. said.

... the county level...

“Don’t expect others to do for you what you can do for yourself. This is a clear example that we don’t need to take the same position that they are trying to throw on us,” said Vern Gavin, president of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors.

... the city level…

“If you want to enjoy this black wealth, then you need to support this black city,” Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said.

... and leaders of local Churches.

“Here we are in 2023 fighting battles of 1823,” said Pastor Hosea Hines of Christ Tabernacle Church. “Black people are the only people I know that have to re-win their freedom every day.”

All of the speakers had the same message for similar reasons: “kill HB 1020.”

“If you want to know what’s going on here, all you have to do is look at the map. The [proposed] CCID district captures every last white soul in the city of Jackson. There is a sea of black folks outside of the CCID,” said Cliff Johnson, director of the Macarthur Justice Center. “We know what this is about. It’s about what it’s always been about. It’s about race.”

Supporters say the expansion would allow Jackson police to focus on high-crime areas outside the district, allowing Capitol Police to patrol smaller crimes within the district.

Some people like Ward 1 Jackson City Councilman Ashby Foote have welcomed the idea of increased police presence in the Capital City.

“I think most people I’ve heard from have been very positive about having additional police presence in the city. It’s really that’s what I think is the main value add is more police presence, the more law enforcement that better for the city of Jackson,” he said last week.

Foote said Tuesday that he still feels that way but didn’t know enough about the arguments in opposition of the bill to say whether he agrees or disagrees.

However, those at Tuesday’s protest feel the argument that HB 1020 would reduce crime is simply a distraction from what the bill would really do.

“Nobody else in this state is being asked to sacrifice their votes and their dollars to prop up a government within a government,” Blackmon Jr. said. “I call this CCID district, ‘New Jack City.’”

I tried reaching out to Rep. Trey Lamar of Senatobia who authored this bill for more on how he feels about it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t hear back from his office until an hour ago and couldn’t get a comment for tonight’s story.

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