There is a time and place for everything. This is the point that Jonesboro Police Chief James “Spike” Harris tried to get across to the at the special called meeting of the Jonesboro Board of Aldermen that was held on Tuesday, May 24th in the meeting room of Jonesboro City Hall.
To be more exact Harris informed the council and Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson that now is not a good time and the Fairgrounds is not a good place for the planned Lil Snupe Day Birthday Celebration that is scheduled to take place on June 11th.
“Let me make one thing perfectly clear,” said Harris at the beginning of his impassioned plea to the Town Council. “I am not against having a Lil Snupe Day. It is just that now is not a good time to have this type of event given the current state of affairs.”
Harris went on to clarify why he feels the way he does.
“Lets be honest and address the elephant in the room,” continued Harris. “With the tension so high in our town as a result of the shooting last week in Winnfield it is simply a bad idea at the moment to bring a lot of people together in an environment where their protection can’t be assured.”
What Harris was referring to was the shootout last week between young men from Jonesboro and Winnfield that left two people dead, including a teen from Jonesboro and another local teen arrested on charges of murder. Two more were injured. Ever since, threats of retaliation from groups in both towns has dotted social media,.
“Again, I want it understood that I am not against having the Lil Snupe Day,” repeated Harris. “I just think it would be wise to put it off until tensions between our towns calm down. The combination of the way people are feeling, there will most certainly be alcohol involved and the fact that our force is depleted at present is a recipe for disaster. If it is decided that we are going to go ahead with the event then I recommend that it be moved to the Community Center where better control can be had.”
Jonesboro Board of Alderman Pete Stringer echoed the Police Chief’s sentiments.
“I am against moving forward with having the Lil Snupe Day at present,” said Stringer. “It is just not the appropriate thing to do right now. In my opinion it would be better to schedule this again later on in the year.”
What brought about the discussion was an agenda item that required the council to consider a request by event planner Danesha Ross to be able to hold the celebration at the Fairgrounds. Over the last nine years the event that commemorates the death of the young national recording artist from Jonesboro has been held at Pierre Park but as everyone agreed had outgrown the location. Ross asked that the Town Council allow it to be moved to the Fairgrounds so the large amount of people expected to attend would not be so cramped.
When Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson was asked what his feeling was on the request by Ross and the comments made by Harris he said he understood both sides.
“I am torn on what needs to be done,” said Thompson. “I respect what Ms. Ross is wanting to do but at the same time I completely agree with Chief Harris’s assessment of the situation. I want to research this more and I will give my opinion in a couple of days”