Black Minister incites a riot, gets arrested, and pulls the race card
A near-riot at Clarke County Jail last Thursday resulted in a minister being jailed after claiming to have a nationally known but deceased attorney on his cell phone.
Events that led to the demonstration began earlier Thursday. Deputy Hubert Finch arrested Sharon Denise Jemison, 36, of Jackson on a show-cause warrant, issued by Judge Bill Kimbrough. Jemison is secretary of the Miracle of Prayer Church in Grove Hill and after learning of her arrest, the minister, Prophet Ron Williams went to the jail and demanded her release.
The MOP, by the way, is the church that burned a few weeks ago.
Chief Deputy Donnie Arnold explained, “I got a call from jail personnel that he [Williams] was in the jail visitation lobby, telling them to release her, that she was unlawfully arrested and he wasn’t leaving until we released her. I told Deputy Finch to find out what was going on. When Finch questioned him, Prophet Williams became irate and threatened to call the NAACP and Jesse Jackson if we didn’t release his secretary.”
Finch apparently tried to explain the reason for Jemison’s arrest and why she could not be released to Williams, who then began cursing the deputy, lawmen said. Chief Deputy Arnold then instructed Finch to call for back-up.
“Then Prophet Williams started calling all the members of his congregation,” Arnold said.
As Deputies Ron Baggett, Robert Hyde and Richard Parnell and Grove Hill Police Officer Royce Kelly arrived at the jail the parking lot was filling with members of the MOP Church. Finch then called Arnold again and told him about the crowd.
“I told him to try and get Prophet Williams inside and talk to him but he told Finch ‘I’m not going no d—- where.’ I told Finch to let me talk to Williams on his Linc. I told Williams that this wasn’t a major issue, that she [Jemison] would have to see the judge, according to his orders, and then it would be over and we were just doing our job. I told him we could work it out the next day and she would probably be released,” Arnold explained.
“I asked him to leave and stop assembling and I warned him that if he tried to incite a riot he would be arrested. He totally ignored me.”
Further requests from officers to leave were ignored. As lawmen told him once again to leave or be arrested Williams held up his cell phone and told Deputy Baggett, “I got Johnny Cochran on the phone right now.”
As Williams was being arrested, the crowd began advancing on the officers, yelling and threatening them, with Williams’ encouragement. An officer finally sprayed mace into the air and the crowd dispersed.
Williams was charged with inciting to riot and resisting arrest. His bond was set at $3,000.
The following morning, Arnold said congregation members were waiting in his office and were also present when Williams went before the judge.
Television crews from WKRG Channel 5 News and Fox News 10 were at the jail when they brought Williams back. “They interviewed some of the congregation members, and then me, and then the prophet when he was released. I guess the congregation tried to say it’s a racial matter, but that’s not the case. We served a warrant on a woman, who just happened to be black,” said Arnold.
“We serve warrants every day and we have hundreds backlogged. This was an old warrant, but it’s no different than any old warrant we have ever served. I admit sometimes we get a call, reminding us that we have not served a warrant we were supposed to, and we get on it.
“We are doing our best to serve these warrants, period. We don’t have time to go through and figure out whose black or white or purple or gold. In many cases, such as this one, we don’t know the circumstances behind the warrant. All we know is we have a warrant to serve and we have to do our job, no matter who it is.
“The deputy, Finch, who arrested Miss Jemison is black. She just happened to be a black woman. The Chief Deputy, me, who ordered that Williams be arrested is black. Where do they get that it’s racial,” Arnold asked.