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Mississippi Sheriff Who Called Local Politician ‘Worse Than A Black Person’ Claims He’s Not Actually Racist

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After making comments about as blatantly racist as one could imagine, a white Sheriff in Mississippi is now claiming he is NOT racist—he was simply frustrated.

The book Hands Up, Don’t Shoot: Why the Protests in Ferguson and Baltimore Matter, and How They Changed America, available here, addresses the issues of institutional racism in law enforcement as shown through national statistics. The truth is, when people of color and Whites do the same things, POC–especially BIPOC–receive harsher responses and judgments.

This Mississippi sheriff helps explain why.

Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson was facing political opposition to the construction of a new jail from Hispanic Mississippi state Rep. Shane Aguirre. Angry, he texted Lee County District 1 Supervisor Phil Morgan in August 2017:

“He’s worse than a black person, your [sic] not going to please him.” 

In an interview with the Daily Journal, Johnson said his texts were not inspired by racism:

“I was aggravated at him. There was probably no call for mentioning anything of race.”

Johnson noted several times that he is NOT a racist:

“God made us all the same. I don’t treat anybody any different.”

Unfortunately, the Daily Journal made a public records request that revealed several other questionable texts Johnson sent from his government-issued cell phone.

In another text, Johnson complained to Morgan about crime in a black-majority district represented by supervisor Tommie Lee Ivy:

“We had a fatal shooting last night with a Black Motorcycle group in Tommie Lee District. Looks like his district is promoting another group and you can bet there will be trouble. I’m the racist one. This s- – is ridiculous. This is what we deal with every day in that end of the county.”

Morgan was quick to issue a statement distancing himself from Johnson and supporting supervisor Ivy:

“The sheriff sent me these messages unprompted, I presume, in an attempt to sway my view on these issues.”

“Though we come from different parties, Tommie Lee Ivy and I have worked on numerous issues over the years and I consider him a close friend. The entire county has benefited from his dedication to public service and I would never condone derogatory remarks directed at him.”

Twitter was pretty harsh in their assessment of Johnson’s words:

The Lee County NAACP is now asking for an apology from Johnson over his remarks. Time will tell whether he’s willing to offer one.

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Written by Collin Gossel

Collin Gossel is a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn, New York, but there are nights when he looks up at the stars and wistfully thinks to himself “there’s got to be more out there…” You can catch Collin improvising new musicals every Tuesday night at the Magnet Theater’s Musical Megawatt, or follow his unfiltered thoughts on Twitter and Instagram @CollinGossel.--