I am quite certain the United States Department of Justice is more overburdened than ever before. In 65 of 69 of America’s largest cities violent crime has increased over 25 percent from a year ago. We have riots and rumbles somewhere in the United States at least once a week and “mass murders” occur more than that. The fact is, America has turned mean-spirited and ever since the drug-addled George Floyd was killed last May, a disproportionate number of rabble rousers have seized the “race card” to add to the chaos.
You’re mighty right it’s ridiculous. Case in point: A group of pastors proclaiming to be Chattanooga Clergy for Justice has been after Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond for several years, alleging a disturbing pattern of misconduct.
Understand, in no way do these preachers represent the whole of Hamilton County, much less the total clergy of Hamilton County. To allege otherwise is a despicable reflection on our community’s Christian foundation.
Better, every true Christian, aghast at our nation’s seemingly turn-away from our Lord and Savior, realizes Jim Hammond’s relentless effort is the toughest, most thankless job in the county, just as it is in each of Chattanooga’s surrounding counties in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. A county sheriff doesn’t meet many practicing believers in the Sermon on the Mount.
Since the Floyd death, law enforcement has been beleaguered with claims of racial injustice when, in fact, a casual view of Chattanooga’s jail will show the daily population has just as many white prisoners as those of color. What is puzzling is that FBI statistics show there are more blacks involved in violent crime than whites.
But the ministers can’t be bothered with the fact every person in jail believes they are innocent. Law enforcement in Chattanooga is colorblind but Chattanooga’s record number of shootings, for instance, are overwhelming black-on-black. The crime matrix in Hamilton County is complicated but those in distressed neighborhoods, public housing and reputed drug areas are clamoring for more police patrols, no matter what these money-driven preachers want the Department of Justice to take as bait.
People in Hamilton County have a far more favorable view of the Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney General Neal Pinkston, and our splendid courts system. It is not perfect, nor is the Chattanooga Police Department or the Highway Patrol, but Sheriff Jim Hammond is a marvelous example of fixing problems as they appear, and the overwhelming sentiment is that Hamilton County is a ‘bless-ed’ place for all citizens to live.
The preachers point to alleged inappropriate arrests, deputies who make mistakes under duress, and other errors they perceive with their microscopic prejudice but what of the overwhelming percentages of deputies, city police officers and first responders who make this a county where there is little, if any, fear? Our community is phenomenally blessed to have Sheriff Hammond, chief deputy Austin Garrett, the sadly departing David Roddy and the “satellite” police forces within the county like Collegedale, East Ridge, Lookout Mountain, and Rossville.
This bunch of cockamamie is ridiculous and unwarranted, and if Hammond hadn’t already announced his retirement, with Chief Garrett already groomed to take his spot, he would get re-elected in a landslide. Anyone who investigates the Sheriff’s Office from the DOJ will get a fine vacation and leave the county with an empty notebook. What a pile of bunk!
Conversely, if the DOJ’s head of the civil rights division wants to study reverse discrimination, get the investigators to bring a crowd from the IRS to look into the accusers. Let some agents spend time with Chattanooga mayor Tim Kelly to talk about the pre-election fiasco that he and fellow candidate Kim White spent with these same “men of the cloth” one memorable Saturday morning just before the election.
Word has it the pre-election crowd demanded that Mayor Kelly admit he was white and don’t be fooled by the search for Chief Roddy’s successor – your next police chief is going to be a black female from the CPD according to some who attended the inquisition where Kelly secured the pastors’ “support.” Please … ‘Justice’ officials will love delving into that grilling but those who signed the complaint for Hammond’s inquiry most certainly will not enjoy … shall we say? … the ripple effect of their bias.
No names accompanied the complaint, but the signatory included Chattanooga Clergy for Justice and a group called ‘CALEB’ which stands for “Chattanoogans in Action For Love, Equity, and Benevolence”. The letter was also signed by Chattanooga Democratic Socialists of America (most assuredly a DOJ favorite), the Tennessee Poor People’s Campaign, and Tennessee United (not to be confused with the soccer club by the name in Hendersonville).
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TO VOICE SUPPORT for the coalition, via the Chattanooga Clergy for Justice or Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond, please address your letters to Merrick Garland, United States Attorney General, Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20530-0001. You may also write to Kristen Clark, Assistant District Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, at the same address.
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SHERIFF HAMMOND has announced he will retire from office following the 2022 election and the DOJ request has nothing to do with his decision after 14 years in office.