Ken Hodges Wants To Talk About Attorney General’s Race; NAACP Wants To Talk About Kenneth Walker’s Death

I don’t claim to be an expert on Democratic primaries. But when you decide to hold your campaign kickoff, and the NAACP shows up in force to remind voters of a past incident unfavorable to your campaign, I’m guessing that’s not a good thing.

Hodges was the special prosecutor in a case where unarmed Kenneth Walker was shot and killed by a Muscogee County Deputy, and a grand jury in the case failed to indict. The incident and following legal (in)action inflamed racial tensions in the area, and many in the african american community blamed Hodges for failing to secure an indictment.

The Columbus Ledger Inquirer picks up the story:

Hodges held his news conference in plaza of the Government Center, the same building he presented his case to the grand jury. As Hodges talked, about 20 supporters listened. In the back of the room were Georgia NAACP President Edward DuBose and other local civil rights leaders, who took the podium before Hodges reached the elevator.

DuBose said Hodges had “returned to the scene of the crime.”

The NAACP plans to be present “every single time,” Hodges holds a public event in Columbus.

“That’s fine,” Hodges said. “This is a democracy.”

DuBose made it clear what he thinks of Hodges.

“We see Ken Hodges as one of those people with the blood of Kenneth Walker on his hands,” DuBose said.

We’ve covered here, here, and here the ethical problems in Hodges past. But we’ve seen many candidates this election cycle who believe their ethics problems don’t matter. He seems no different.

However, I’m not aware of any Democrat facing a primary that has the NAACP vowing to show up at all of his events, either. This one deserves some attention. If Hodges has any chance of prevailing in this primary, he has to hope that this stays a local issue.

10 comments

  1. I don’t see a Democrat winning Attorney General with the NAACP working against them. I know the position is heavily influenced by what the legal community thinks, but if the NAACP is actively working against a Democrat candidate I just can’t see them clenching the nomination or the election. Well, without them running against someone significantly worse as opposition – none of Hodges opposition strikes me as that bad.

  2. Melb says:

    I wouldn’t call 1 guy from Columbus and his wife and 2 kids the NAACP of GA.

    Hodges has lots of support from the African American community in Albany, Atlanta, DeKalb, Macon, and Clayton.

      • Melb says:

        Like Sheriff Thomas Brown from DeKalb who endorsed Hodges and who worked with Ken to prosecute the former corrupt DeKalb Sheriff?

        The people who have worked with Ken and know him know he is a good man.

        • Jeff says:

          I mean guys like his former Chief Investigator, know knows Ken better than perhaps anyone, since he was Ken’s right hand man for over a decade.

        • Jeff says:

          Melb:

          *I* worked for Ken at one point, and I’m one of the ones claiming that he is at LEAST as corrupt as Oxendine.

    • Icarus says:

      “In the back of the room were Georgia NAACP President Edward DuBose and other local civil rights leaders,…”

      The President of the NAACP = 1 guy from Columbus and his wife and kids?

      Nice try.

  3. hannah says:

    There’s an issue that’s ripe for judicial determination. It came up before the Supreme Court of the U.S. in Pottawattamie v. McGhee and the oral arguments are here and here and here. As fortune would have it, because it looked like the SCOTUS would address the legally unsupported claim that prosecutors have absolute immunity from prosecution for any action they take in the course of carrying out their duties, the case was settled before the SCOTUS ruled, so the immunity claim of prosecutors remains unchallenged.
    I’m not a lawyer, but the theory seems to be that because prosecutors only act on the basis of information that’s provided by law enforcement agencies (i.e. they have no personal interest) and any judgment is rendered by an independent jury or court, defendants cannot bring suit to hold them to account. (In the mentioned case, the prosecutor had conducted his own investigation and manipulated evidence so two innocent men were convicted and sent to prison for 27 years for a crime they had no part in and the DoJ lawyer, appearing as a friend of the Court, argued that there is “no right not to be framed”).
    The “no personal interest” perspective is also what provides police with “qualified immunity” — i.e. protects them from being held to account when they kill someone while performing their official duties. That is, if (the qualification) they are following orders and behaving as they were trained, then a mishap such as killing an innocent person is not to be held against them. That a police force might have a personal interest in logging a certain number of arrests or targeting a certain population for he purpose of enhancing department status or even increasing individual earnings seems not to be provided for in the law. Neither is a prosecutor’s personal ambition to be elected to higher office. “Personal interest” seems to be defined as immediate material gratification — i.e. if an agent of government takes a bribe to influence his/her behavior, that would qualify as criminal.
    Absent obvious criminal behavior, it would seem the only recourse citizens have is to insure that ethically suspect behavior is publicized and not rewarded with election to higher office.

  4. bucky says:

    Whatever your opinions about Ken Hodges, you’d be barking up the absolutely wrong tree if you’re jumping on the NAACP-Kenneth Walker bandwagon. Is Ed Dubose also following Thurbert Baker around and claiming Thurbert has blood on his hands? After all, Baker appointed Hodges as the special prosecutor in the case. The grand jury refused to indict. That’s their call. This matter has more to do with Dubose’s efforts to be relevant in Columbus, GA than anything else, and nothing keeps one relevant like waving the bloody rag.

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