In a week that can't get any better, not even an story on an endorsement can be lame.
The Jackson Police Officers Association announced yesterday their endorsement of mayoral candidate and former south Jackson business owner Jonathan Lee.
Lee was hailed by that group's president, Earnest Perry, as a "visionary" and "a strong leader with a willingness to work with local and state government."
Reached by phone on Monday, Perry backed up sentiment in the groups press release that the interview process was thorough, and that five candidates (Lee, Regina Quinn, Robert Amos, Chokwe Lumumba and Harvey Johnson, Jr.) were interviewed. He called Johnson's interview "intensive."
The problem is, Earnest Perry is not a police officer. He was a JPD detective until 2009, when then-chief Malcolm McMillan transferred him because he violated city policy regarding Fuelman, though no charges were ever filed against him.
In response to the JPOAs endorsement announcement Monday, the campaign to re-elect Harvey Johnson, Jr. released this statement minutes ago:
"Recently, our campaign, along with other candidates for mayor, was invited to meet with the Jackson Police Officer Association (JPOA). The meeting was presided over by a person who is no longer an active police officer and recently separated from the department. The tone of the meeting made me very uncomfortable, as it became clear that in order to receive an endorsement of my candidacy, I would have to specifically agree to change the command staff and management at JPD. It is not unreasonable to believe that the candidate for mayor that the group endorsed agreed to those demands. As Mayor and as a candidate for mayor I simply cannot permit the sound administration of JPD to become the product of a backroom political deal.
"JPOA is not the same organization I have known and recognized over the years. It is now comprised of less than 10% of JPD’s rank and file officers. A disproportionate number of the officers in this group, having been disciplined for various infractions, appear to be disgruntled with the more rigorous standards implemented by our command staff. The vast number of officers, however, are successfully meeting the challenges associated with a large paramilitary organization operating in an urban environment. This administration will continue to strive to make JPD the best law enforcement agency in the region by insuring that our officers are well trained, equipped, compensated, and likewise treated fairly in their work assignments."
On Monday, Perry described the group that did the interviews as "very diverse," and said it was made up of 10 panelists from various backgrounds, including a fire department union member, a city worker union member, a neighborhood watch president, and local businessmen and lawyers.
Lee did not immediately return phone calls Tuesday afternoon.