Civil rights organization calls for change in local law enforcement behavior

MCNAIRY CO., Tenn. —  “We’ve come this morning to call to your attention and to protest racist discriminatory remarks,” Tennessee State Conference President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Gloria Sweet-Love said.

She says that McNairy County deputy Mike Shipman allegedly liked a post that the organization considers to be racist.

“It should be addressed by this city and this county,” Sweet-Love said.

WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News spoke with McNairy County Mayor Larry Smith who said that he’s sorry that the community has to go through this, and that his goal is to make life better for everyone so that the entire community benefits.

Sweet-Love says this is not the first time the community has been disappointed in the actions of law enforcement officials in that area.

She says Selmer police officer Ronnie Pilkington also shared racially insensitive posts on social media, which Pilkington did apologize for.

“It is our belief that a written reprimand and a two-day suspension is simply a slap on the hand for an egregious statement,” Sweet-Love said.

Selmer Mayor John Smith and Selmer Police Chief Neil Burks were both out of the office today for a comment, but they did conduct a meeting with members of the NAACP when the post was first shared.

NAACP member Harold Carter says the organization knows that not all law enforcement engage in this type of activity.

“Law enforcement officers for the most part are good and honorable people, trying to do their best jobs to protect and serve their communities,” Carter said.

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