JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Jackson Police Department (JPD) agreed to a settlement to change the way roadblocks are handled in the city.
The settlement, filed by the Mississippi Center of Justice and MacArthur Justice Center, accused the police department of targeting majority Black and low-income communities.
The plaintiffs said JPD agreed to change its ‘Ticket, Arrest, and Tow’ (TAT) policy after a class-action lawsuit was filed in February.
“This is a good day in the City of Jackson. This litigation, this outcome gives me hope,” said Cliff Johnson, director at the MacArthur Justice Center.
The lawsuit alleged that the incentive that was put in place to crack down on violent crime, violated people’s rights and was wasting police efforts.
“Draconian enforcement of misdemeanor driving related offenses through unnecessary arrest and vehicle in pounds at roadblocks for infraction like having an expired registration wastes precious police resources need for responding to violent crimes,” said Paloma Woo, with the Mississippi Center for Justice.
Timothy Holcomb, a south Jackson resident who experienced one of the roadblocks, said the initiative was unnecessary.
“What are they doing? Why are they doing this? We’re not criminals. We live in a poor neighborhood, that doesn’t make us criminals,” said Holcomb.
The settlement, which Jackson Police agreed upon, requires police to provide a report including why and where roadblocks are setup as well as provide information as to how many citations and arrest were made.
City Councilman Kenneth Stokes, Ward 3, said he saw success in his ward with the roadblocks, but he said the roadblocks must be done legally. When asked if he thought police were targeting majority Black and low-income neighborhoods, Stokes said he believes that’s where most of the city’s crime is happening.
“These dope boys running these neighborhoods, shooting guns all night long. You can’t rest because of the gun fights, running red lights and all this crazy driving,” said Stokes.
The Mississippi Center of Justice and MacArthur Justice Center will monitor JPD to make sure they are in compliance with the settlement. Both groups said they plan to take the police department to court if they are found in violation.
WJTV 12 News asked Jackson Police Chief James Davis about the settlement, he declined to comment.