“As the mayor of this city, I know that you have some type of people that feel that they have some problems in the city, like being drug dealers, being gang members, or just can’t control themselves. They may be in the wrong environment. So what I’m saying as the mayor today, I will put money on the line to assist those type of people to move out of the city,” said Mayor Chuck Espy of Clarksdale during a press conference posted to Facebook by Local Memphis on May 20.
The mayor said he is calling on three groups of people to leave: drug dealers, gang members, and wannabe criminals.
“And it’s not to say that you just want one criminal to move from one city to the next, they just may not have the good opportunities that they need in this city, and we will help them to move forward, and we will hope that they will find a better life in another city,” added the mayor.
The mayor said that he isn’t turning his back on criminals, but offering them an ultimatum.
“And then if you are saying that you want to turn your life around, Reverend Givens will assist you with that part of the program. So once you conclude that program, we will give you job opportunities,” said the mayor.
Reverend Givens spoke about the program he has for criminals who want to stay in the city but change their ways.
“As the chaplain of the city of Clarksdale, we encourage them to stay in our city and become great citizens of our city. We also will be putting in place an etiquette class for these people, because we are encouraging them to stay in our city. Also we have skill sets to prepare them for jobs that will be coming to the city of Clarksdale,” Givens said during the conference.
Espy said that there has already been a reduction of crime in Clarksdale, and that he is seeking to take those gains further, and that is why he is making this proposal.
Clarksdale Advises Would-Be Criminals to Leave or Work with the City to Get Rehabilitated to be a Productive Citizen: pic.twitter.com/LH1rDwMrTC
— Chuck Espy (@chuck_espy) May 20, 2019
“We do not want to see a child dead in the streets. We do not want to see an innocent bystander getting shot. We want to make sure that where we are today, we want to raise the bar, and we want to keep the citizens safe in our city,” said Espy.
Espy said that he is putting forth $10,000 of his personal funds to get criminals to relocate. He said that businesses and private philanthropists could also contribute funds towards the effort.
— Shay Arthur (@ShayA_WREG3) May 20, 2019
“What we’re trying to do is to make sure that prevention, everyone always, they have done this over and over in the mid-south, regionally, everyone has a knee-jerk reaction after something occurs. We’re making sure that we’re ahead of the curve, and we’re making an all-out effort to make sure that the citizens are safe in this community,” said Espy.
Clarksdale mayor Chuck Espy said at a press conference that he is willing to relocate those who commit crimes with an initial offer of $10,000. https://t.co/uRupWMGiyf
— Richard A. Alexander, Esq. (@ralexanderlaw) May 22, 2019