“Mayor Lumumba Addresses Rt 55 Drag Racing Incident ” – City Council Wrap up Jan. 2021

Mayor Lumumba wasted no time addressing the recent incident which took place on  January 1st, 2020 that left many Jacksonions angered and frustrated. A  video went viral showing cars seemingly drag racing and performing donuts in a move that shut down RT 55 for nearly an hour.  According to Police Chief James Davis, the shutdown took place after 11:00pm on Friday evening and caused enough of a traffic buildup that Jackson Police department was unable to access the scene in a timely manner.

While the Mayor’s dismay at the incident was apparent, Lumumba took the time to address all members of the community in regards to what took place; “First And foremost I want to recognize for everyone the severity of this issue. For the young people they just saw it as a fun act that they wanted to be in the public eye for, they wanted to be seen… the importance of the highway it gets people to and from ..areas located near our hospitals. Fortunately no one suffered consequences of that .”

In response to questions surrounding the Jackson Police Department’s failure to initiate a high speed chase upon responding, the  mayor ultimately refused to put incarceration above community safety , stating that he stood by his police department’s decision to apply their “no chase” policy; “While it is certainly a regrettable incident .. I do believe in this circumstance that the decision to not chase was the right decision… in this circumstance. “ 

Citing several deadly outcomes in recent chases in neighboring counties, the Mayor was unwavering in his position that Jackson would not contribute to endangering its own citizens; “ We’ve seen several chases from outside agencies, some of which have become deadly in several years. One of the reasons for Jackson’s no chase policy is not only that overarching concern for protecting residents and protecting property, but the recognizing that for many years , our infrastructure…. Our roads are not conducive for high speed chases to take place, and it becomes very easy for vehicles to lose control “ The Mayor punctuated the point by bringing to the Council’s attention that “ JPD has already made one arrest in connection to Friday’s incident, with more arrests expected.” 

Councilman Foote blamed the incident on the city’s decision to extend local school closure policy in light of COVID 19. “i dont think it’s a coincidence that this outlandish behaviour by so many of the youth in Jackson occurred at a time when school has not been in session for the last eight  month.. Adding it’s critical that we reopen our school”

Mayor Lumumba expressed concern that the Council’s response not over-criminalize the youth of Jackson for practices that are commonplace elsewhere in the state; “ w“Anytime we see dangerous actions of young people, we need to not only correct them, we need to call them up to better things. We want to be clear we don’t racialize this . Issues with cars and kids drifting and racing not only happens in Jackson it happens in rural communities it happens all across our state and all across our nation , i just want to make certain we’re  clear on that as well.” Councilwoman LIndsey echoed the Mayors sentiment, “I am 63 years old and I can assure you this is something that’s been going on for ages”

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