NAACP Sues Mississippi for Laws It Says Will Create ‘Unequal Policing’



  • The NAACP sued Mississippi over two new laws created to combat crime in the capital city of Jackson.
  • The civil rights organization said the laws signed by Gov. Reeves “represent a state takeover of Jackson.”
  • The House bill establishes a new court system while the Senate bill expands an enforcement area.

The NAACP on Friday filed a lawsuit against Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves after he signed into law two bills that would give state officials more control over law enforcement in Jackson, the state’s majority-Black capital city.

At the heart of the lawsuit is the legality of two laws — House Bill 1020 and Senate Bill 2343 — which were pieces of legislation that Reeves has supported as part of what he said were state efforts to fight crime in Jackson. The bills were passed in the GOP-dominated state legislature, with Democrats in each chamber opposed to the legislation.

The House bill would establish a new court system for the Capitol Complex Improvement District, a state-created district that surrounds the Capitol building in Jackson. The Senate bill would expand the state-controlled Capitol Police jurisdiction from its enforcement area near the seat of the state’s government and include a much larger part of the city.

Reeves insists that the legislation was designed to aid Jackson in battling violent crime, and in a Friday statement, said that the state was “working to address it.”

“And when we do, we’re met with overwhelming false cries of racism and mainstream media who falsely call our actions ‘Jim Crow,'” the governor continued.

“This legislation won’t solve the entire problem, but if we can stop one shooting, if we can respond to one more 911 call – then we’re one step closer to a better Jackson,” the governor added in a statement.

The civil rights organization said that the laws signed by Reeves “represent a state takeover of Jackson” and would prevent city residents from voting for its own leadership in government.

“Lawmakers and Jackson residents have opposed both bills throughout the legislative session, citing outside attempts to increase policing without adequate training, silence dissent from Jackson residents, and strip residents of their voting power to elect judges and district attorneys who serve their interests,” the organization said in a statement.

NAACP president and chief executive Derrick Johnson — who lives in Jackson — further blasted the move, stating that the city’s residents “have been silenced and have faced years of discriminatory disinvestment and neglect.”

“As our country continues to face the reality and consequences of our broken law enforcement and criminal justice systems, passing legislation to increase policing, install undemocratically appointed judges, and infringe on the constitutional right to protest is simultaneously irresponsible and dangerous,” he said in a statement.


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