A white Mississippi sheriff enraged over a local legislator’s opposition to the construction of a new jail said the pol was “worse than a black person,” according to a report.
Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson made the shocking statement in a text exchange with another local elected official that was recently obtained by the Daily Journal.
“He’s worse than a black person, your [sic] not going to please him,” Johnson wrote to Lee County District 1 Supervisor Phil Morgan in August 2017.
Johnson was referring to Hispanic Mississippi state Rep. Shane Aguirre, whom the sheriff was “aggravated” at for opposing a bill that would have green-lighted a new county jail outside Tupelo, the paper reported.
Addressing the texts in an interview with the Daily Journal, Johnson said, “I was aggravated at him.”
“There was probably no call for mentioning anything of race.”
The sheriff later told the paper he harbors no racists feelings.
“God made us all the same,” Johnson said. “I don’t treat anybody any different.”
Through a public records request, the paper dug up several other eye-raising texts that Johnson sent out using his county-issued cel phone.
In a September 2018 exchange, also with Morgan, Johnson complained about dealing with crime in a district represented by the county’s only black-majority supervisor, Tommie Lee Ivy.
“We had a fatal shooting last night with a Black Motorcycle group in Tommie Lee District. Looks like his district is promoting another group and you can bet there will be trouble. I’m the racist one. This s- – is ridiculous.
“This is what we deal with every day in that end of the county.”
Morgan sent the paper a prepared statement backing Ivy and indicating he doesn’t share the same views portrayed in the messages sent by Johnson.
“The sheriff sent me these messages unprompted, I presume, in an attempt to sway my view on these issues,” Morgan said.
“Though we come from different parties, Tommie Lee Ivy and I have worked on numerous issues over the years and I consider him a close friend. The entire county has benefited from his dedication to public service and I would never condone derogatory remarks directed at him.”