A Mississippi police officer who had his home raked with gunfire Wednesday is now being called the victim of a “hate crime.”
An unknown suspect fired more than 30 rounds into Officer Alfred Jenkins’ home while both he and his wife were home. Neither was injured, but the home suffered extensive damage to furniture and walls, WAPT News reported Thursday. Undersheriff Raymond Duke blasted the “coward” that committed the “hate crime,” in a Thursday post on the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
“Hiding in the dark, some cowardly punks targeted Officer Jenkins for his career choice. It is by the grace of God the Jenkins were not injured. The attack against Officer Jenkins has forced him to move out of Jackson for his own safety,” the post read.
Violence against police has been thrust center stage in the county after a local city councilman called for residents to throw objects at police to stop them from chasing criminals in 2016.
“These are just thugs with guns and badges,” Councilman Kenneth Stokes said. “What do I think should be done? Bricks, rocks and bottles would stop this nonsense.”
Duke blamed Wednesday’s shooting on Stokes’ words.
“If the thugs weren’t encouraged to throw rocks, bottles and sticks, maybe they would not have felt so comfortable in attempting to assassinate an officer simply because of the job he does,” he said.
The incident cannot be prosecuted as a hate crime, however, as police officers are not considered a protected class in Mississippi. The state legislature attempted to pass a “Blue Lives Matter” bill this spring, but it died in the House after passing the Senate.
SB-2469 would have classified police officers as a protected class like racial minorities, religious groups, and LGBT communities, but the House folded to pressure from the ACLU and others to kill the bill. (RELATED: ACLU Doubling Down Against State And Federal ‘Blue Lives Matter’ Bills)
“Law enforcement are already the most protected class under law,” ACLU Legislative Counsel Kanya Bennett told TheDCNF. “There is no need to further criminalize actions against them or increase cops’ legal protection.”
Duke finished the post by calling for donation to Jenkins and his wife to replace their destroyed property.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God,” Duke said.
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