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January 29, 2005

Outrage As Cop-Killer Honored

My brother is a cop. But even if he weren't, I would find this to be reprehensible.
He was convicted in the death of a Jackson police officer nearly 25 years ago. Next week he will speak inside city hall. Imari Obadele was invited by Councilman Kenneth Stokes to speak at a black history program Tuesday, and his appearance is causing quite a stir.

The scene was chaotic on Lewis Street in August of 1971 hours after Jackson police officer William Louis Skinner was gunned down during a house raid on Lewis Street .

? heard the shooting. I was there when skinner got shot," said former JPD chief Jim Black.

The 32-year veteran of the Jackson Police Department was in the hospital when Skinner died.

"It was very emotional for all the police officer that were there," Black said.

Police and FBI agents were serving an arrest warrant. Inside were members of the Republic of New Afrika , a separatist militant group. Twenty-six-year JPD vet Jimmy King was nearby.

"It was quiet all of a sudden; sounded like a small war going on," said King.

"You just didn't lose an officer like that. It was very traumatic," Black stated.

In 1972, RNA president Imari Obadele along with several others was found guilty in the killing of Skinner. He served nearly six years. On February 1, 2005, Obadele will stand inside Jackson City Hall in front of an audience to talk about the RNA eleven.

"I think it's an abomination a slam on the good black people of Jackson and the good white people of Jackson," expressed Black.

The speech is part of a black history program. His host is city Councilman Kenneth Stokes.

"To me this would be like promoting Byron De La Beckwith. It's just a travesty," stated King.

This is not a man -- this is a sub-human animal. That he has seen one day outside a prison -- in fact, that he was not executed -- is an outrage. That he would be invited to participate in a program offered by an elected official in city that Officer Skinner died protect is even worse. Councilman Kenneth Stokes is clearly as lacking in moral decency as Obadele

Officer Skinner's family still lives in the Jackson area.

WLBT received a statement from Skinner's son justice court judge Bill Skinner. He says quote: "For more than 33 years my family and I suffered the loss of my father. This is not a black and white issue; it is a right and wrong issue. The fact that the city would celebrate a convicted felon who murdered my father tells me this is not the best of the new south."

It is my hope that every law enforcement officer in the region will refuse any order to protect this event, and that the good people of Jackson will turn out to protest this offense against law enforcement officers. I encourage the people of Jackson to take every step to remove Councilman Stokes from office.





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