/Fire chief faces scrutiny after calling Legislative Black Caucus ‘a racist symbol’

Fire chief faces scrutiny after calling Legislative Black Caucus ‘a racist symbol’

“Time to remove another racist symbol from the state. On June 29, Coahoma County Fire Chief Jerry Mills posted the MS Black Legislative Caucus on Facebook. Mills, who is facing calls to be fired over this comment, runs the Coahoma County Fire Department. It serves all of the county, except Clarksdale. He said that he has been working in the fire service for more than 20 years. The Clarksdale Press Register shared a post by Orlando Paden (D-Clarksdale) on Facebook, which stated: “We are working to the progress and improve the image of Mississippi. #RetiretheMSFlag #TakeItDown Let’s move ahead. #LegislativeSession2020” Mills wrote his comment under the newspaper’s shared post. Mills’ post was widely condemned by Coahoma County residents and black citizens, who expressed their desire to see him removed from the position of leadership. Will Smith, a native of Coahoma County and an educator wrote this post: Coahoma County fire chief Jerry Mills – This is unacceptable. Please, take responsibility! I had a conversation from Clarksdale with a man. I didn’t know his name until today. The Fire Chief should be fired by the Coahoma County Board of Supervisors. I pray that the Coahoma County Supervisors will not allow this to happen. He should not be paid another dollar by the taxpayers in Coahoma County. You are a public servant as fire chief. Hate is not permitted in Coahoma County. We expect elected officials to stand for the citizens of Coahoma county. Vote of no confidence to fire the fire chief. Derrell Washington Paul Pearson Johnny Newson. What are you going do? We know this is false. Please don’t tell us you can’t do any of these things. If the board attorney says you can’t do anything, he should be fired. #LeadershipMatters Mills doubled-down, commenting later under Smith’s post “What’s so scandalous?” There is an exclusive black group of state legislatures that doesn’t allow white legislators. They claim a flag to be racist. …. I would love to hear what the White Caucus thinks on this though.” Mills stated that organizations such as the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus further divide the state by calling the state’s flag “racist” or a hate icon. “If you are elected by taxpayers you should represent your area, your district or whatever — you should represent all of your area,” Mills said. Mills stated that there shouldn’t be a caucus for any one group. The Coahoma County Board of Supervisors was unable to reach several members for comment. Since the Minnesota police officer who killed George Floyd, a Black man, the conversations about racial justice in the state and racism by the government have intensified. Sports leaders, religious groups and top business executives have been pressuring state legislators to take down the state flag over the last three weeks. If they don’t, their support and business could be at risk. After many weeks of discussion, both chambers decided to suspend the rules in order to allow for the creation of the state flag legislation. Governor The bill was signed into law by Tate Reeves. It isn’t the first instance of Clarksdale officials using social media to voice their offensive views. A nurse who wrote a long Facebook post calling protesters “wild animal” and encouraging them kill their family members, to burn their homes, and to think about what they did was fired last month. Editor’s Note: Mills was terminated by the Coahoma County Board of Supervisors on July 8.