Mississippi official: Black people ‘dependent’ since slavery
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A white elected official in Mississippi says African Americans “became dependent” during slavery and have remained that way. Lowndes County supervisor Harry Sanders made the comment to the Commercial Dispatch newspaper on Monday. It has prompted calls for his resignation. He spoke after supervisors voted along racial lines not to move a Confederate monument that stands by the courthouse in Columbus. Elsewhere in Mississippi, officials in the state’s second-largest city voted Tuesday to stop flying the state flag on city property because it includes the Confederate battle emblem that critics say is racist. Gulfport quickly removed the banner from City Hall. Confederate symbols are under widespread debate amid protests against racism.
Testing offered at Mississippi Capitol amid COVID-19 concern
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Free coronavirus testing has happened at the Mississippi Capitol after lawmakers were told that an employee in the building had tested positive for COVID-19. The Legislature remains in session. Some lawmakers, lobbyists and others in the Capitol have been wearing masks, but some have not. The state Health Department said Tuesday that Mississippi has topped 20,000 confirmed cases of the virus and more than 900 deaths from it.
Panel backs ex-Louisiana warden to lead Mississippi prisons
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi Senate committee has unanimously endorsed a former warden of Louisiana’s Angola prison to be the new commissioner of the Mississippi prison system. Burl Cain faced ethics questions in Louisiana but Mississippi senators said Tuesday that a background report cleared up any concerns they had about him. Mississippi’s prison system came under federal investigation early this year after inmates died during outbursts of violence. Lawsuits filed on behalf of inmates say the State Penitentiary at Parchman is dangerous and infested by vermin. Cain says he will fix Parchman. The full Senate is expected to vote on Cain’s confirmation this week.
Columbus Republican Chism will resign from Mississippi House
COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — A Republican from north Mississippi says he is resigning from the state House to take care of his wife as she faces health issues. Rep. Gary Chism of Columbus says June 30 will be his last day in the Legislature. He took office in January 2000 and is currently chairman of the House Insurance Committee. Chism is the second lawmaker in recent weeks to announce plans to step down. Republican Sen. Gary Jackson of French Camp is also resigning June 30 because of his own health concerns. Jackson has served since 2004. Gov. Tate Reeves will set special elections.
MISSISSIPPI POLICE SHOOTING
Mississippi DA releases case files in fatal police shooting
COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi district attorney has released evidence files in the case of a white officer who fatally shot a black man during a 2015 traffic stop. Lowndes County District Attorney Scott Colom wrote a letter to Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch requesting that files be made public on the death of Ricky Ball, who was fatally shot by Columbus Police Officer Canyon Boykin. Fitch sent the files to Colom, who uploaded them to his website Saturday. The files include police depositions and portions of the body camera footage. Fitch dropped the manslaughter charge against Boykin, stating that evidence showed Boykin shot Ball in self-defense.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-CASINO LAYOFFS
Ameristar Casino to lay off 150 workers in Mississippi
VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — Officials for a riverfront casino in Mississippi have announced plans to permanently lay off 150 workers as the industry faces challenges amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Vicksburg Post reports that Ameristar Casino officials notified the city of the layoffs last week. Officials said the casino will remain open, but staff will be reduced beginning in August. Casinos were allowed to reopen in late May after being closed for two months to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. The casino’s general manager said business volumes have declined as a result of the both the shutdown and new social distancing guidelines that reduce capacity.
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