A white Mississippi sheriff was caught sending a racist text message to another white elected official, complaining that a Latino state legislator was “worse than a Black person.”
The text messages were uncovered after the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal used a public records request to obtain Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson’s August 2017 messages Phil Morgan, who serves as supervisor to the county’s District 1. The messages, made on county-owned phones, were about building a new jail and both Johnson and Morgan complained about the level of involvement of state Rep. Shane Aquirre.
“He’s worse than a Black person, you’re not going to please him,” Johnson said in the text message about Aquirre, according to the Daily Journal.
When reporters with The Daily Journal inquired about the message, Johnson reportedly told them he was “aggravated” at the time.
“I was aggravated at (Aquirre),” Johnson said. “There was probably no call for mentioning anything of race.”
When the paper probed further, asking Johnson “if he believes the racist idea that Black people are difficult to please,” Johnson reportedly responded, “I think when you play the race card, yes, it’s difficult to please some people.”
But Johnson said he is not a racist. He told The Daily Journal that “God made us all the same. I don’t treat anybody any different.”
In a more recent exchange of text messages, obtained by The Daily Journal also through a public records request, Johnson gave kudos to another white Lee County supervisor, Republican Mike Smith, after he criticized Black elected leaders for starting caucus organizations. Smith also attempted to block Lee County’s only Black supervisor from attending at public expense.
Earlier this year, Johnson praised Smith’s efforts.
“Don’t give in,” Johnson wrote, according to The Daily Journal. “I support you.”
“Whatever you do, please don’t let them back you down. You owe them nothing,” Johnson added, according to The Daily Journal.
The “them” that Johnson is suspected to have been referring to are the Black legislators. Lee County is 30 percent Black, according to the latest census data.
Johnson, a Republican, was elected sheriff in 2004, and has served ever since. This November, he faces a Democratic challenger, Jermandy Jackson, in the general election.
Hopefully Jackson can garner up enough votes to beat Johnson. Judging by the racist texts, and his stereotypical beliefs, his time is up.