by Hunter Dawkins

After a weekend of protests throughout the state and the nation, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves spoke solemnly clear about the current First Amendment of the United States Constitutional Rights in his press conference at the Woolfolk Building in Jackson.

The governor expressed his acknowledgement of hearing the protestors, but said he divides between those who are protesting to air grievances and “anarchists and agitators from other parts of the country who seem committed to violence.”

Black Americans; especially Mississippians, upset with inequities in the criminal justice system, organized the recent protests in dozens of cities across the country that have garnered international media coverage.

Inspired by the recent police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, and Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, who were all black citizens.

As violent and non-violent protests continue throughout the United States and other countries, the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus stands in solidarity against the senseless killing of George Floyd and others like him.    The attitudes and laws that allow law enforcement officers to kill and brutalize unarmed black men and women without consequence should be addressed sooner rather than later despite the problems caused by the global pandemic of COVID-19.

Three days after George Floyd’s death Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced the imminent dismissal of the 2015 manslaughter charge against former Columbus Police Officer Canyon Boykin. Canyon Boykin, a white police officer, allegedly shot Ricky Ball while Ball was running away from Boykin on foot.    This incident involves yet another shooting of a black victim by a white officer amid suspicious circumstances.

These matters on race relations throughout the state will be covered and questions will be asked to provide coverage from The Gazebo Gazette.

Additionally, Governor Reeves address public safety concern with newly appointed Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell where Safe Return guidelines for permanent drivers license stations across the state to reopen on Monday, June 8.

Working with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) and state health officials to ensure the safety and well-being of Mississippians at these stations, Governor Reeves is implementing social distancing procedures to help them operate safely and efficiently during the pandemic.

“Let’s be honest, they were a mess before. The pent-up demand created by the pandemic is only going to make existing problems worse. We think we’ve got a plan in place to make it run as safely and smoothly as possible, but there is a lot of structural work we’ve got to do for a real fix,” said Governor Tate Reeves.

“Mississippians have been greatly inconvenienced throughout the time our driver license stations have been closed and we appreciate their patience through this transition moving forward. We are working diligently to safely reopen while protecting our employees and the customers we serve,” said Commissioner Sean Tindell.

To ensure social distancing protocols, people will be allowed to visit the stations on the day of the week that corresponds with the first letter of their last name. Walk-ins are welcome to visit on “Walk-In Wednesdays.” Here is the daily schedule for visits per last names:

Monday: A-E

Tuesday: F-L

Wednesday: “Walk-in Wednesday”

Thursday: M-S

Friday: T-Z

The following services will be available at permanent driver license stations:

-CDL Transactions

-Out of State Transfers

-New Credentials

-New Identification Card -Credentials

-Security Guard Permits (Wednesdays only)

-Sex Offender Registration

-Permit tests for students

-Reinstatements

-Non-U.S. Citizens

-Ignition-Interlock Restricted -Licenses

Providing a technology alternative to minimize person-to-person contact, Mississippians can access services such as renewal and duplicate driver licenses, ID cards, and address changes on the DPS website at driverservicebureau.dps.ms.gov.

All road tests for non-commercial drivers are waived until further notice to help reduce the risk of transmission.

Minors must submit an affidavit completed by parent or guardian certifying 50 hours of supervised driving time, which are available on the DPS website.