Local law enforcement officials, justice advocates, clergy members and Jackson residents came together last night to discuss solutions on tackling crime in Jackson.
Local chapters of the NAACP, ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center organized the community forum last night at the M.W. Stinger Grand Lodge on J.R. Lynch Street. Law enforcement officials attending the event included Jackson Police Department Chief Rebecca Coleman, Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, Hinds County Sheriff-Elect Tyrone Lewis and F.B.I Special Agent Daniel McMullen.
Several residents shared concerns about police misconduct and offered solutions such as mentorships and more community involvement from law enforcement officials to counter recidivism.
Jackson State University NAACP Chapter President Micheal Teasely questioned the district attorney's role in charging all teenagers involved with the June 26 killing of James Craig Anderson, an alleged hate crime. Several Rankin County teenagers were apparently involved in the crime, but the Hinds County district attorney's office has only charged two: Deryl Dedmon with capital murder and John Aaron Rice with simple assault.
"Our office never likes to rush an investigation," Smith said. "I understand your frustration but it really has not been a long time. ... Given the magnitude of this case, given the number of investigators on the ground, my opinion is that it coming together very well, and you will be pleased with the results very soon."