Thursday, August 03, 2006

ACLU accuses Mississippi mayor of racial profiling

Shelia Byrd:

The national American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday accused the city's black mayor of civil rights violations including racial profiling in his crusade to stem crime in Mississippi's capital city.

The accusations against Mayor Frank Melton and police are based on complaints from people who say they were pulled over on the basis of their race and searched without probable cause, the ACLU's national racial profiling coordinator, King Downing, said at a news conference.

"For me to leave my office and come into one of the states means that there is a very serious problem," said Downing, who is based in New York. "There are problems here that it's going to take the attention of the nation in order to solve."

Downing said the mayor's race should make him "more sensitive to the problems this is creating."

However, Melton said in an interview Tuesday that he wasn't interested in the ACLU's complaints against him or the police, and denied he had violated anyone's civil rights.

"We have 26 people that have been killed in Jackson this year. We have 300,000 people killed across America each year. The majority of them are African-American and it's time to do something different," Melton said. "I want to know what the ACLU wants to do besides criticize."

Melton took office last July after winning 88 percent of the vote on a tough-on-crime platform.

Melton declared a state of emergency last month to attack the city's escalating crime problem, basically adopting a stricter curfew for teenagers and homeless people. He also continued his practice of riding with police officers on patrol or at roadblocks.

The city's population of 184,256 is nearly 71 percent black, and 23.5 percent live below the poverty level.

Since his election, federal authorities have told him to quit packing his pistol on commercial airline flights, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood told him to stop wearing police gear, and Faye Peterson, the district attorney in Jackson, has said the mayor was breaking the law by impersonating a police officer.

Melton criticized the ACLU's plan to hold meetings in Jackson to inform residents of their rights if they're stopped by police.

"I hope they don't obstruct justice and give people false information because if they do, then we'll be focusing on them and we'll come after them," Melton said.

Attacks on elderly cited in crime summit plan


At 12:18 AM, Anonymous Nick T said...

Damn,but this country could use more Blacks like him-he calls a spade a spade-screw that Jewish AL Sharpton [Morris Dees]Keep on doing what you were elected to do;you'll get ALL of the White vote next time.BTW-how do you "racially profile"in a county 70+% Black?Looks like another headline grabber to further the ACLU fund-raising.

At 6:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We have 300,000 people killed across America each year."

This is a quote. If he's talking about murder/homicide, I think this number is ridiculous; could be it is a misquote or a typo.

According to this link, approx. 18,000 people were murdered in 1997. While no doubt the number has increased since then, it certainly does not approach 300K.

Perhaps 30K is more like it. Even that would be a 66% increase since 1997.

At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Nick T said...

I think the 300,000 number includes auto accidents,suicides,and all other "non-natural"causes.Somewhat misleading,given the subject,but probably accurate.

At 9:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An African American Mayor of a predominate African American city with an enormous vioence problem cannot be suspect of racial profiling his own people, it's concern. However, guilty people always seek and claim something to rid themselves of blame and seek to find a way out. But it's time for leaders to take the appropriate measures to rid society of the evils that threaten us all, whether it be black, white or anything else. It's time for leaders to do something practical, radical, direct and consist.

With regard to the mayor's role as a police officer. He is "the chief" this includes the chief of police. The mayor is first citizen, cheerleader, first example to modeling what is necessary to create a safe and respectful place for all to live.

Let's stop criticizing and join in the crusade of justice once for all.


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