DeKalb Commissioner Cites Threats Made by Anti-Police Violence Group

DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester told the media on Wednesday that her and her children’s lives have been threatened by a group opposed to police violence.

According to my story yesterday on Dunwoody Patch, Jester said the self-leader of the DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability is Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela.

The AJC says Jester is not pressing charges against the group, but police are nonetheless taking precautions.

Leaders of the coalition said the commissioner is trying to undermine their cause, and they merely want Jester to show some compassion for recent victims of police shootings.

“You know, I really hope NOTHING ever happens to your sons @nancy_jester because I’d HATE for you to feel the pain of Anthony Hill’s mother,” said a tweet posted Sunday by coalition member Nia Sade’ Walker.

The following is Jester’s full statement:

At the next DeKalb County Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting, I will begin the process to introduce legislation to provide a pay increase to our rank and file police officers, fire fighters, and 9-11 operators.

Additionally, I will work within the framework of the DeKalb BOC County Operations and Public Safety Committee (COPS), to initiate a process to provide additional funding for the DeKalb County police so that they have every type of (and the necessary amount of) equipment to both protect themselves and the civilian population.

I also will initiate a discussion with the BOC and the DeKalb County Department of Public Safety to examine what types of specialized training needs to be considered for our police officers.

Both our officers and the civilian population will benefit from an effort to determine if our officers should receive training in matters such as, dealing with deaf and blind citizens, veterans, and issues such as, PTSD.

I will also ask the BOC to start the process of supporting the establishment of Veteran’s Courts in DeKalb County.

I strongly feel DeKalb County will be a better and safer place if we move forward and expand our training – to both offer protection to our officers and civilians.

DeKalb County is united in our support for our public safety heroes which include our firefighters, emergency management team, paramedics, 911 operators, and our police officers.

Across every demographic, people of good will in DeKalb, the ones who pay the taxes and obey the law, agree it is the men and women of the DeKalb County Police Department who protect us from those who would do us and our families harm.

Recently, I had the privilege to meet with some family members of DeKalb county residents who have been involved in incidents with the DeKalb County Police.

I, like all Christians, mourn the loss of a life – I know all lives matter.

Regrettably, a small group of political activists have come into DeKalb County – not seeking to unite people, but, rather, to divide our county – and the good people of DeKalb County will not allow any outside group of political activists to divide or define us.

The “so called” DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability has attempted to hijack the dialogue and exploit grieving families in DeKalb County to advance their extreme, anti- police, anti- taxpayer agenda.

They have tried and they have failed.

It is irresponsible and unforgivable that this small group of political activists have exploited grieving families.

It is counterproductive that this small group of political activists have issued a list of demands aimed at degrading the ability of the DeKalb County Police to serve and protect the taxpayers of DeKalb County.

Their agenda is so out of touch with reality as to be dangerous to the safety and well-being of both police and civilians.

The leader of this small group of political activists must be held accountable for the actions of his organization.

The self–identified leader of DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability is Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela.

On Tuesday, September 15, members of Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela’s organization announced via social media their plans to disrupt my Town Hall meeting in Tucker and to demand I attend a meeting the following day.

Their desire to disrupt and hijack the meeting failed to gain traction as I announced I had previously committed to attend the meeting in question.

The following day, Wednesday, September 16 members of DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability did hijack what was supposed to be a private meeting between DeKalb County officials and members of a small number of DeKalb County families.

Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela dominated this meeting and self-identified as the leader of the DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability.

At some point in this meeting, after Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela had already allowed his members to use language which included profanity, threats, and outright hostility towards a number of people from DeKalb County government, Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela’s took no action when one of his members threatened my life. He, likewise, failed to immediately disavow both the person and her threat – he allowed it to stand.

Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela, as the self-identified leader and self-appointed chair of this meeting, failed to address one of his members calling me a BITCH and condoned hate speech.

It is unclear if Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela was on taxpayer time when this occurred.

It is imperative Georgia State University send an immediate and direct message that they do not tolerate hate speech and a “War on Women” from their taxpayer funded employees.

Unfortunately, it gets worse and more dangerous.

On Sunday, September 20, a member of Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela’s organization sent a series of tweets threatening the lives of my minor children.

There is no circumstance, no scenario, where threats against children are acceptable.

None.

These threats, by a member of Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela’s organization, have not been denounced by Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela.

Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela has not reached out to me to apologize.

In fact, Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela has shown no compassion to the reality that one of his members threatened the lives of two children.

Georgia State University must address the reality that they have chosen to give taxpayer dollars to a man who leads an organization whose members threaten the lives of minor children on social media.

Does Georgia State University condone this type of action?

Sadly, there is still more.

I am a Christian. However, I posted a number of statements and photos in support of the DeKalb County Jewish community as they began their holy celebration of Rosh Hannah and Yom Kipper.

I am in possession of posts to my Facebook page where members of the DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability have used numerous anti-Semitic slurs interwoven with insults to women and one which states I am an operator of Satan.

There can be no place in DeKalb County, Metro Atlanta or Georgia State University, for a man who leads an organization which tolerates anti-Semitic posts on social media.

I look forward to Georgia State University reviewing the activities of Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela.

I want to thank all the members of law enforcement at the federal, state, and local level who have enacted protocols regarding the safety of my minor children.

I ask for prayers of safety for both my children and those who are working to protect them during this scary time.

I want to conclude by saying there is difference between the families of DeKalb County, who are grieving the loss of life of a loved one, and the members of the DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability, who are exploiting these families to advance their political agenda.

It is important to note a large number of the members of the DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability do not live in DeKalb County – the good people of DeKalb County – White, Black, Asian, and Hispanic will not allow this small outside political organization to divide us or define us.

I have listened to the DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability and they responded with death threats against my minor children. Moving forward, no one of good faith in DeKalb County should show this organization any legitimacy – because when your members threaten to kill kids and use anti Sematic slurs, we don’t welcome that hate in DeKalb County.

9 comments

  1. mjhicks says:

    “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

    Her post is weird. Her facts are odd. Her tone is strange. Her dog-whistle words are conveniently inserted just right. Her objections are just a bit too much for this “Christian” “taxpayer.”

  2. HueyMahl says:

    How out of touch can Jester be? Almost Nixonian in the way she calls out her enemy list and converts political statements into “threats” against her and her family. She likely is not a “B*TCH” (her words, not mine), but that is also nothing more than (extreme) political speech against a real problem of police violence against the citizens they are supposed to protect.

  3. jbgotcha says:

    Nancy Jester has become increasingly divisive in her time as Commissioner. I was on board when she was calling for fiscal accountability and voting against the Atlanta United deal. She has taken a hard right with this latest stunt. On top of that, ironically, she is an advocate for LaVista Hills cityhood, which is a divisive issue to the county. This is a case of someone with very thin skin overreacting to the demands and tactics of the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s clear from the tweets she referenced that there was no credible threat against her children. The person was clearly trying to elicit empathy from an unresponsive member of the DeKalb Commission. I’m incredibly disappointed in Mrs. Jester.

  4. George Chidi says:

    There are solid, reasonable arguments to be made for reforming law enforcement practices. I’ve made them often. They do not require vilifying ideological opponents or personal threats.

    I wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened first hand. We are left to infer what happened based on our personal biases toward one party or another because, I am told by Makunga Akinyele of the DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability, that he insisted that the meeting between commission members and the families of people killed by police not be recorded.

    Normally, if there’s a Jester in the room, someone’s got a camera going. Usually Stan. Not this time. Which is why this whole thing sucks.

    I spoke for the first time today with Akinyele. The group has proposed reforms to police practices in DeKalb that aren’t especially unrealistic: a citizen review board, timely public notification of police shootings, transparent investigations, public notice of changes to policy and an independent external review of DeKalb’s use-of-force practices.

    But they’re also working with Mawuli Davis — the attorney representing those families in court. So it shouldn’t be especially surprising for a public official to remain a bit tight lipped, since an expression of compassion, as Akinyele insists is all the attendees wanted, might be misinterpreted as an admission of civil or criminal responsibility.

    More to the point: if the commission decides it needs to sustain the firing of one or more cops involved in these shootings, a public statement of support for the families could, ironically, be used in court by those cops to claim that their termination was unfair and that their competence had been unfairly maligned in public by their employer, leading to litigation.

    I’m a Black Lives Matter guy. But as a city councilman, I’ve learned some hard lessons about how to communicate in public about something that might end up in court. A deft — or indifferent — speaker could try to thread that needle. I think she probably should have tried.

    I don’t think any meaningful threat was offered, but I can imagine words being interpreted to maximize hostile intent. Jester is plainly milking this one. But the fact that Akinyele’s group insisted on no tape makes their defense harder to prove. They created the conditions for this mess.

    Nonetheless, in my view, any personal attack on Nancy over this would be a setback and counterproductive. Threats are more than an attack on her, but also an attack on civil governance, and should be condemned.

    I’m getting a very … Occupy … vibe from this DeKalb group. Akinyele says they’re not a Black Lives Matter organization, but a coalition of several groups … which are themselves nebulously and informally tied together. Akinyele himself represents the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement in the coalition, he said. He claims the NAACP and SCLC are part of the coalition, though I can see no public statement from either group formally associating themselves.

    The conversation about how to manage police isn’t a partisan one. Civil forfeiture, due process, the bargaining power of police unions and the militarization of police are as much issues on the right as they are on the left.

    I sincerely hope that conversation continues.

    • SallyForth says:

      George, you are on target about the left-wing “Occupy” vibe – and there is too much of that going around in DeKalb right now. Some folks need to take a deep breath, back it down a bit.

      You are also right that the conversation about our police needs to continue, for the sake of everyone.

    • Michael Silver says:

      I’m afraid the BLM is poisoning the well of cross-spectrum cooperation.

      A couple months ago, I attended a Cobb County Commission meeting. The family and friends of Nicholas Thomas spoke during the comment period. The facts of what was claimed by them were 180 degrees separated from reality. Their presence at the hearing was to threaten to kill white people and government officials. Several of the participants made direct threats to Chairman Lee and the officers in the room during the testimony and afterward (especially afterward when they were off the camera). They refused to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance. They are nothing more the latest resurrection of the Black Liberation movement.

      If someone could organize a The Constitution Matters group, I’m confident you’ll see a broad coalition of people get involved including Law Enforcement to address the issues George listed along with others (citation in lieu of arrest for misdemeanors, restricting no-knock raids, etc.). I’d join because we are in this together.

      But, I will never stand with BLM that believes criminals should be safe to prey on honest Americans and should have a free pass to harm and kill the police.

      • ATLguy says:

        “They are nothing more the latest resurrection of the Black Liberation movement.”

        And this is a bad thing why?

        “If someone could organize a The Constitution Matters group, I’m confident you’ll see a broad coalition of people get involved”

        Not if you give it a name that is a play on words of the original movement. Love it or hate it, “#blacklivesmatter” is effective hashtag activism and one that has an actual (if often misunderstood) agenda: the idea that American mainstream society values white lives more than black ones.

        If you want the other side to listen to you then you cannot A. maintain the attitude that people organizing and having power is intrinsically wrong in a democracy (especially since “the original Black Liberation” movement was in response to … I don’t know … Jim Crow, segregation, discrimination, racism, poverty, police brutality and all that) or B. dismiss legitimate concerns of the other side out of hand.

        A good example of the “Black Lives Matter” thesis: capital punishment. How often is it used when the victim is black? Pretty much never. This despite the fact that blacks are VERY disproportionately victims of capital crimes, which makes it very hard to claim that capital punishment is being used as either punishment or as a deterrent in this country. That is one example, there are more.

        Yes, I get the idea that a lot of the BLM agenda is Marxist. But SOME of the issues that they raise are legitimate, and you don’t hear those issues getting addressed on the other side of the aisle. Instead, you get Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney and Scott Walker talking about “free stuff.”

  5. Jiminy Cricket says:

    It’s all fun and games until somebody brings your kids into the fray. Obviously, the pol axiom of not involving one’s family, especially their children, in a battle was ignored. I submit, that was done intentionally.

    The whole Police violence ‘discussion’ becomes tainted when supporters make inappropriate statements that may be construed as a veiled threat to children. Especially if the tone, content, and intent of the message goes from bold and boisterous to a member becoming loud and threatening.

    I see unrelated pol action groups using confrontational tactics to ‘force multiply’ a legit news story. The sitting Senator for the Fab 40th was ambushed by supporters of a potential opponent recently. Now this type of story where a group uses ‘any means necessary’ to achieve their objectives.

    To use Mr. Chidi’s words – It sucks.

    People are so very well aware of how images can go viral – They bank on it by creating a confrontation and hope for a ‘GOTCHA’ moment.

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