Andre Knight Rocky Mount City Councilman Transcript Comments During City Council Meeting In September 11, 2017

Andre Knight Preaches During Rocky Mount City Council Meeting Monday September 11, 2017 “Don’t Blame Me!” Video

The following is a transcript of the 13-minute speech made at the Sept. 11 meeting of the Rocky Mount

City Council by Councilman Andre Knight in response to pubic comments alleging the council is too

focused on the Downtown Event Center instead of fighting crime, which has left poor black

neighborhoods out of the equation:

“I just want to say that pretty much people know my sentiment on the Confederate

statue-monument. I assure you, it’s not a delayed response or action or stalling tactics.

We are dealing with that matter and hopefully speedily with a resolution.

Also just wanted to say that normally we don’t respond during public comment, but first

thing we probably will wake up tomorrow and see in the newspaper Andre Knight,

Reuben Blackwell, Lois Watkins and Lamont Wiggins was slapped with not having

compassion for the black community and our black youth.

I know Mr. Samuel, I taught him in school, I think he’s a fine young man. But we, this

council, since 2003, have fought both day and night to improve the condition of this city,

both black and white. This town was founded in 1867 and for over 100 years we didn’t

have representation of black citizens on this board until George Dudley. Well, prior to

that in Reconstruction, we did have black elected officials. I think it was three. Then the

turn of the century, Jim Crow laws, which intimidated blacks, and they did not run for

office.

Since 2003 this entire council has been fighting to improve the conditions, especially

housing. We have more housing now in these under-served communities, in these black

communities as some say, that never had development in over 50 years. You see

development now. You see the Beale Street Square; you see the Genesis Estates, Red

Rowe, now near Stalling Way.

The second thing this city was plagued with was the high utility bills from a deal that we

entered in, and that deal or that agreement wouldn’t end until 2026. And we fought to

bring down these utility bills that was plaguing our citizens both black and white, young

and old.

We fought for recreation throughout the city, south Rocky Mount. Put millions of

dollars. Which I grew up in south Rocky Mount. It was a safe haven for me. Claremont

is getting ready to be redeveloped.

We fought in education when Nash County commissioners didn’t even want city dollars.

We fought to keep the inner-city schools open. Couldn’t even get citizens to come out

and support or go to the school board and fight for O.R. Pope where these little children

lives in those communities. That was the pillar along with churches, St. James, East End,

North End, and those communities.

We’ll get back to them. Why are you closing these communities when you said these

communities have the highest poverty rate and illiteracy rate? Why are you closing

them? Now Williford School. Now Parker is on the chopping block. We keep sitting

idly, we aren’t going to have any schools inside the city limits of Rocky Mount.

We fought for public safety. Shotspotters, body cameras, the youth curfew, the list goes

on and on.

The last thing I want to say is about economic development. Downtown was dead. I was

born in 68. It was the flight. Went towards Tarrytown. Rocky Mount grew westward.

Nothing in east Rocky Mount. We’ve tried to bring this city back, the core of our city

where black folks live. And don’t tell me we ain’t done our jobs. Have you done your

job?

They don’t want downtown to survive. If it weren’t for this council it would be on I-95,

Wesleyan Boulevard or Benvenue Road. But look where it is. Don’t tell me what we

haven’t done. Tell me what y’all have done. Everyday: negative, negative, negative

because they don’t want Rocky Mount to succeed.

CSX coming here. Talk about crime; crime everywhere. Crime didn’t just start. They

were robbing where I was living. But I had a daddy and a mama, a neighbor, an auntie

that would tear my hind part up. Don’t blame me for those that are fatherless and

motherless. It takes the church. Where your pastor at? Who going to the county

commissioners who’re closing your schools? Both Edgecombe and Nash. Who going

there? Who going to the school board? Who going to the PTA meetings?

Don’t come here and blame me when I sacrifice my time for less than a few pennies a

month. Meetings after meetings. Strategies after strategies. Some people in this town

didn’t want it to grow. Not where you live. Fighting for economic development on the

east side of town. One grocery store. Been fighting and fighting and fighting.

It runs deeper than me. It runs deeper than Reuben. It runs deeper. It’s an institution all

over this country and this city that don’t want to see certain parts grow because they

survive off the poor.

And some come here and challenge us with the Bible, but my grandmother said when

you see a fool, hear a fool, let them be a fool. I’m unbossed, unbowed, ain’t scared and

speak my mind and God fearing too. How dare you challenge me when you haven’t done

your part. If you’re pointing your finger, put it in your own eye before you come put it in

mine.

So I just want to say tonight: We want to save our children? I don’t like black boys

killing black boys. But white men were killing black boys. Black families were being

torn up, sold off, raped. This stuff runs deep. Not just 20 years ago, five years ago, 10

years ago. You can’t break that stuff in no five years.

I can’t stop no boy who got a gun in his hand that got a vendetta against his buddy, know

he’s hanging on the corner. Bang Bang. We don’t have enough cops to stand on every

corner. But we’ve got enough eyes in the community to reach one and teach one. So

when you start reaching and teaching, bring them to the council meeting. Meet your

elected officials.

What can I do? But don’t blame me. I grew up poor but I ain’t killed nobody. I didn’t

steal from nobody because I had a strict daddy and mama. Don’t blame us. Blame the

criminal justice system when it was crack cocaine that gave black men life in prison, 21

years in prison. When they were calling them crack babies, monkey babies. But now

you’ve got a repentant spirit on what’s out here now — opioids. You come here, you

won’t get arrested, you just get treatment. Where was the treatment for those mothers

when people brought crack into south Rocky Mount, Little Raleigh, the neighborhood

and sold crack cocaine? And they died on the street and left crack babies. Where was the

sympathy for them then? But it is now. Where does the justice system swing now? How

long? Not long that the black man must wait. Been praying 200 years. Been fighting 200

years. Don’t blame me.

The last thing: We can fight racism and we can fight black on black crime, white on

white crime, Mexican on Mexican crime, or whatever you want to call it, crime is crime.

Where’s your march on these cameras right here? WHIG-TV every morning spitting out

venom about your city because you got a black majority. I’m going to tell it like it is.

Bamboozled 19-no 1898. Wilmington Riots when they chased black elected officials and

white progressive people. Killed them and through them in the river because they were

being progressive. Some folks don’t want this city to be progressive. Don’t blame me I

talk about race. Race was here before I got here. It was here when my grandma cooked

in the cook kitchen, worked in the tobacco factory, washed the laundry and took out the

pot. Guess what, it’s still here. You know why? Because we didn’t address it.

So pardon me that I took too long, but don’t come here blaming me. I haven’t mistreated

no child.

I know right from wrong. And I’m going to fight on this council as long as I can for

equality and parity for all, and for those who didn’t have it for a 150 years when you was

underrepresented and not represented at all. Don’t blame me, go to the root of the

problem.

And if you’re going to quote the Bible quote it from Genesis to Revelations. Touch not

my anointed. Do my prophet no harm. It’s better for you to have a millstone tied around

your neck than to touch the least of these and be at the bottom the ocean and you die and

know where you’re going. Don’t come quote the Bible to me. My daddy is a preacher,

and I’m one and I know the Bible. And I know lie and a lying prophet when I see it. Now

go tell that. Thank you.”

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Nash Democrats select new party chairman – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Watch Dog response: Congrats cousin! I look forward to continuing to support the Nash County Democratic Party events as well. Enjoyed the Democratic Women presentation earlier this month. Hate will not be able to attend upcoming event because committed to videoing JV Football games beginning Thursday. Hopefully the Edgecombe County Chair will seek some of your wisdom.

Local Democrats have a new leader with a goal of concentrating on bread-and-butter issues.

Nashville resident Dwight Jordan said he plans to keep local folks abreast of the issues that impact their pocketbooks.

“These are challenging times for working families, teachers, students and our senior citizens,” Jordan said. “We need to ensure Democrats are elected to office in order for all working people to have a chance to succeed and for our students to excel.”

Jordan, a Nash County native, is a longtime community activist.

“I’ve been in politics a long time and an advocate for social justice locally and nationally,” Jordan said. (Rocky Mount Telegram)

In Response To The Edgecombe County Democratic Party Letter Sent To Executive Committee

With all that is going on politically I sure would love to see the Edgecombe County Democratic Party being inclusive and involved in educating Democrats about the upcoming elections, redistricting and other.

I was not aware of a rally on September 16th and today is the 21st. Really?

It is good to know that the Precinct Organizational Period is in February of 2018 and that is around the time it usually is either February or March. I got that.

You say to secure a venure now. Really?

In order to be stronger together Edgecombe County Democrats need to be informed by the county party as to what is going on politically locally, statewide and nationally.

 

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Press Release: Edgecombe County Sheriff Office Arrest Several Guys For Stealing Hemp Plants Being Grown In Edgecombe County

Sheriff Cleveland “Clee” Atkinson Jr.

PRESS RELEASE

Recently, there have been a number of incidents of people stealing or trying to steal hemp plants being grown in the county. Industrial Hemp is not marijuana. It contains less than 1% THC, meaning that it will not get you high like marijuana will.

On 09/18/17, Corporal Jones responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle near one hemp field and found three subjects attempting to steal hemp plants. He arrested William Cooper, Malik Hudson, and Jacquel Baker-Johnson and charged them with 2nd Degree Trespassing. They were released on $2500 unsecured bonds.

On 09/19/17, Deputy Silver responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle in the area of the same hemp field and found two people who had stolen hemp plants already. He arrested Milton Epps and Kenneth Williams and charged them with Felony Larceny and 2nd Degree Trespass. Williams was additionally charged with Driving While License Revoked. Epps and Williams were jailed at the Edgecombe County Detention Center under $50,000 bonds.

The Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office will continue to monitor the hemp fields in the county and arrest anyone trespassing at these sites.

Milton Ray Epps B/M DOB- 04/17/81

1545 Harper St. Rocky Mount

Kenneth Antonio Williams B/M DOB- 02/23/89

1516 Harper St. Rocky Mount

William Calvin Cooper B/M DOB- 07/07/89

802 Howard Ave. Tarboro

Malik Hudson B/M DOB- 10/05/95

802 Howard Ave. Tarboro

Jacquel Baker-Johnson B/M DOB- 04/01/092

47 Shady Lake Dr. Tarboro

Press Release: Edgecombe County Sheriff Office Charged German Cruz Capetillo With Statutory Rape Of A Runaway Juvenile

Sheriff Cleveland “Clee” Atkinson Jr.

PRESS RELEASE

imageIn the early morning hours of 09/18/17, Tarboro Police Department and Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence on Kathryn Ln. in reference to a runaway juvenile. Once on scene, they found the 13 year old sleeping inside the residence with German Cruz Capetillo, age 30. After further investigation by Detective Johnson of the Sheriff’s Office and Officer Godinez of Tarboro Police Department, it was found that the juvenile and Capetillo had performed sex acts.

Capatillo was charged with Statutory Rape. He was placed in the Edgecombe County Detention Center under no bond due to being a flight risk. The US Department of Homeland Security was contacted and the process for an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Detainer was started.

We would like to thank Tarboro Police Department for their assistance on this case. Special thanks goes to Officer Godinez, who was instrumental in resolving this incident.

Press Release: Edgecombe County Sheriff Office Provided With Bullet And Stab Resistant Vest by The Mona Pants Foundation

Sheriff Cleveland “Clee” Atkinson Jr.

PRESS RELEASE

Today, all four K9s from the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office were provided with bullet and stab resistant vests by the Mona Pants Foundation, a non-profit organization. The Mona Pants Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. After several K9s were killed in the line of duty during 2015, Mona Pants decided to step in and help. So far, they have equipped 20 K9s with these vests. More can be found on Mona Pants at www.facebook.com/monapantsfoundation.

We would like to thank the Mona Pants Foundation and Kathy Williams for providing these vests to us at no cost. They will protect our K9s as they work to protect us and the citizens of Edgecombe County.

Any other law enforcement agencies seeking vests can email auntkathympf@outlook.com. Additionally, donations may be sent to Mona Pants Foundation, PO Box 7960, Jupiter FL 33468 or via Paypal to monapantsfoundation@outlook.com. If making a donation, be sure it is noted that it is for the “Vestification Fund.”

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Richmond teens offer alternative take on Confederate monuments – ABC 8 News

The Watch Dog response: I get so sick and tired of folk acting as if all issues can’t be dealt with at the same time. There are enough folk to deal with multiple issues that are dear to them. I understand the purpose of this message however what I have a problem with is why do folk always think they have the right to tell other folk what they need to focus on? Why don’t some other folk line up with this group and focus on the issues they raise? What are they doing? It is said the statue has never done anything to this group or anyone they care about. Really? This let me know they do not know their history. Violence in low-income communities and struggling school systems neither of them didn’t just begin because these are country wide issues. I have been fighting these issues here in my state since the late 80’s and the struggle continues. Why? Because folk don’t get involved but make blanket statements. The issues raised in this article are all legit but didn’t just begin. Until the communities that are affected take a stand, then nothing will change. Every issue in this post need to be addressed and all at the same time. When one understand the significance of slavery then they will understand why all of the issues named exists. These types of post make white folk think that they are validated to hold on to as one statue in Rocky Mount NC reads, Preserving Southern Ideas. All of the issues named here are just that being preserved by those who want the communities to stay right where they are because they are making money off of the poor. Andre Knight Rocky Mount City Councilman’s comments during last week’s Council Meeting addressed the following from a black majority council angle. Andre Knight Preaches During Rocky Mount City Council Meeting Monday September 11, 2017

A recent Facebook post written by a group of Richmond teens is adding some context to the conversation over the Confederate monuments in the city

Shared by the group Richmond Cycling Corps, and written by a 17-year-old on behalf of his friends who all grew up in in the city’s public housing, the post describes a recent trip the teens took to visit Monument Avenue. The post’s author, Daquan, writes to ask that residents and media give other issues in the city, such as violence in low-income communities and the struggling local school system, more attention.

“Everybody’s pointing blame at Monument Avenue and the statues that reside there, but those statues never did anything to me or people that I care about,” he wrote. “The only thing that ever harmed people in low-income areas is the violence that resides there.”

Daquan writes that collectively, the five teens who visited the monuments Friday know twenty-two people who died in just the past year.

“What if I told you that there were kids starving in your backyards, living in rundown buildings?” he wrote. “What if I told you that there are kids that [would] rather rob, steal and kill rather than going in the house with nothing to eat? … You might think that makes them savages or ruthless, but it’s all we know.”

The post also addresses issues with the Richmond Public School system. (ABC 8 News)