Since my post about the Racist Sheriff of St. Tammany Parish, the NAACP have taken an active interest in his words and actions. Annie Spell followed up with a Press Conference today which ABC and NBC covered it. Here's what she said.
My name is Annie Spell and I am a proud member of the Greater Covington Branch of the NAACP. It is my privilege and honor to serve as the President of that branch and in light of Sheriff Jack Strain’s comments; I am compelled, by the duties of my office and my obligations to the membership to respond to the shameful policies of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Because of Sheriff Strain’s comments, we the citizens of St. Tammany Parish are now burdened with a national symbol of intolerance and abuse of power in the person of our chief law enforcement officer.
Sheriff Jack Strain is openly and publicly engaging in racial profiling in a crass illustration of political grandstanding. In his appeal to the lowest common denominator, the Sheriff has admitted to targeting people of color on the basis of his misguided suggestion that people of color are more likely to be engaged in criminal activity in St. Tammany Parish than are his white constituency.
His use of the terms “dread locks” and “chee wee” hairstyles, which is so revealing of Sheriff Strain’s character, is directly aimed at young members of our community of African descent. This hate speak is derogatory and deliberately intended to incite unwarranted fear and enhance racial tensions to Sheriff Strain’s own personal political advantage. He is fear mongering; a most despicable political ploy.
He has implied that everyone, to his way of thinking, who has ever lived in subsidized housing or a trailer, is trash and is therefore unworthy of full protection under the law.
In this regard, he has shirked his duty as the chief law enforcement officer of this parish. His statements evidence a policy that encourages racial discrimination by armed officers that amount to civil rights violations and a flagrant contempt for the Bill of Rights.
Let me be clear on this point, Sheriff Strain has announced a policy at the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office which directs armed deputies to roust citizens who fail to comply with his own personal dress code in blatant disregard of the Constitution of the United States of America.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is no provision in our Constitution for the establishment of an American Fashion Gestapo.
In recent days, following a barrage of well placed criticism of the sheriff’s comments, Jack Strain would have the citizens of St. Tammany Parish and the American public believe that he did not mean what he said. But the NAACP knows that he said what he means.
Sheriff Strain has failed to explain how his harsh generalization regarding people who lost their homes in housing projects relates to a particular crime, specifically the tragic multiple killings that occurred in Slidell several weeks ago. We note that the crime in question remains unsolved and Sheriff Strain cannot tell us who the perpetrators are or where they are from. The NAACP submits that his statements are what they are and that any subsequent elaboration has been deliberately misleading.
The sheriff has suggested that after the defense attorneys are run out of town on a rail, the District Attorney will prosecute and the judges will convict in accordance with the sheriff’s will. He is wrong. The NAACP has full confidence that the District Attorney and our district judges will protect and defend the rights of every citizen regardless of gender, race, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, national origin, economic status, or hair style preference.
The Sheriff stands alone.
We call on all concerned citizens to join with the NAACP to assist us in resolving the crisis which has been initiated by Sheriff Jack Strain in our community. The public is invited to this evening’s regular branch meeting which will be held at 7:00 PM at Bethel Reform Methodist Church on 28th and Tyler in Covington.
My name is Annie Spell. I am the President of the Greater Covington NAACP and tonight we begin.