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The NAACP is suing Mississippi over an expanded role for state-run police in Jackson

A state-run police department will return to Mississippi's majority-Black capital with "separate and unequal policing," according to the NAACP, which is suing the governor and other officials.

According to Republican Gov. Tate Reeves, Jackson's violent crime has necessitated expanding the Capitol Police's patrol area and authorizing some appointed judges instead of elected ones.

The NAACP, however, announced it filed a lawsuit late Friday alleging these actions violate self-government because they remove the power of residents over some police and courts.

"In certain areas of Jackson, a citizen can be arrested by a police department led by a State-appointed official, be charged by a State-appointed prosecutor, be tried before a State-appointed judge, and be sentenced to imprisonment in a State penitentiary regardless of the severity of the act," the lawsuit says.

Derrick Johnson is the NAACP's national president and a resident of Jackson. In a community meeting earlier this month, he stated that the policing law would treat Black people as "second-class citizens."

The legislation was passed by a Republican-controlled state House and Senate with a majority of white members. Almost 83% of Jackson's residents are Black, the highest percentage of any major U.S. city.

This week, Governor Kasich said he believes the state-run Capitol Police can provide stability in place of the Jackson Police Department. During the past three years, more than 100 homicides have taken place in this city of 150,000 residents.

"We're working to address it," Reeves said in a statement Friday. "And when we do, we're met with overwhelming false cries of racism and mainstream media who falsely call our actions 'Jim Crow.'"

The NAACP's lawsuit against Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves for revoking the autonomy of the city of Jackson, which has a Black-majority population, rightfully calls out this effort to enforce paternalistic white supremacy.

Source: NPR


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