Leaked text messages just exposed a sheriff calling a lawmaker “worse than a black person”

Leaked racist text messages from a sheriff continue to expose the deep rifts of racism that run through America’s law enforcement and have put one Mississippi town in an uncomfortable position.

A public records request from The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal revealed that Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson had written to Lee County Supervisor Phil Morgan that state  Rep. Shane Aguirre was “worse than a black person” for opposing a bill that would have built a new jail outside the city of Tupelo.

All three men are Republicans, reports the Sacramento Bee.

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A screenshot of the exchange revealed that Johnson wrote: “He’s worse than a black person, your not going to please him.”

When reached for comment, Johnson argued that he was “aggravated” but probably shouldn’t have mentioned race. When asked if he believed black people were “hard to please,” he responded that “I think when you play the race card, yes, it’s difficult to please some people.”

Other text messages revealed Johnson praised a white Lee County supervisor after he criticized “the practice of black elected officials forming caucus organizations” and tried to block Lee County’s only black supervisor from attending a caucus at public expense.

“Don’t give in…I support you” wrote Johnson. He later said it was “sickening” when the supervisor apologized for his “rude remarks.”

Original reporting by the Associated Press.

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Natalie Dickinson

Natalie is a staff writer for the Washington Press. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been freelance blogging and writing for progressive outlets ever since.


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