Coming After Bad Numbers | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Coming After Bad Numbers

Mayor Frank Melton threatened to "come after" the ACLU of Mississippi Tuesday and threw out vastly inflated crime numbers to justify his methods, after the group accused him of racially profiling African Americans. ACLU Executive Director Nsombi Lambright did not deny that the mayor's "police" actions inspired the town-hall meeting later that day.

"Melton's being a little more conscious of it these days, but it was just last week that he was going to review the potential firing of police officers for beating that suspect because he said he doesn't want (those policemen) to ruin their lives over a thug. It's things like that which bring it right back," Lambright said.

"It puts a blanket label on a group of people so whenever you see a black man walking down Bailey Avenue they immediately become a suspect to you, instead of doing smart police work with the community to get the bad people out of it," she said.

Melton lashed back, telling the media: "We have 300,000 people killed across America, 81 people a day. The majority of them are African American. It's time to do something different. I want to know what the ACLU wants to do besides criticize. Besides that, to hell with them."

The most recent figures, in the FBI's 2004 Uniform Crime Reports, indicate that the nation saw 16,137 murders, a 2.4 percent drop from 2003—though still a 3.5 increase from the year 2000. That 2004 figure averages to about 44 murders a day—far fewer than Melton's tossed-off numbers.

The Clarion-Ledger quietly removed Melton's inaccurate quote from their Web site later that day, after JFP bloggers factchecked the numbers and criticized the media for not challenging them in articles.

Melton also warned the ACLU not to give people "false information, because if they do, then we'll … come after them."

Lambright said his warning does not intimidate her, adding that Melton contacted her hours later, "offering to begin a dialogue" with the ACLU regarding its complaints.

Previous Comments

ID
66696
Comment

Lambright said his warning does not intimidate her, adding that Melton contacted her hours later, “offering to begin a dialogue” with the ACLU regarding its complaints. Everything is an afterthought for him. If he would just think before he speaks...or moves...or breathes...

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-08-03T19:54:12-06:00
ID
66697
Comment

Something tells me he thought his threat would actually work. He obviously doesn't know Nsombi very well... Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-08-03T20:00:18-06:00
ID
66698
Comment

Or the ACLU. It's not like the group isn't used to threatening types. Doh.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-08-03T20:01:24-06:00
ID
66699
Comment

It's not like the rest of media across America picked up on this ACLU story because it was funny. People are going to get more concerned if this keeps up.

Author
pikersam
Date
2006-08-03T20:11:37-06:00
ID
66700
Comment

Damn I hate saying the ACLU is correct about anything, but right is right in this case.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2006-08-03T20:33:06-06:00
ID
66701
Comment

"Damn I hate saying the ACLU is correct about anything" not as much as you hate saying Frank is Mayor

Author
ANY-MEANS-NEC
Date
2006-08-05T10:44:52-06:00
ID
66702
Comment

The FBI site is pretty easy to search, once you get there. :D

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-08-05T11:04:34-06:00
ID
66703
Comment

"Damn I hate saying the ACLU is correct about anything" not as much as you hate saying Frank is Mayor sad but the truth.

Author
jan2006
Date
2006-08-10T16:08:35-06:00

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