Farrakhan decamped to Louisiana to view the Dec. 15 graduation of his granddaughter at Grambling State University. He blew into Shreveport the prior day, whereupon the city corralled some on-duty police officers and escorted him from the airport to the city-owned Hilton Hotel.
Plans to escort him to the city limits the next day on his way to Grambling apparently never materialized. Allegedly, he also received such services to a restaurant where a private function occurred, but city attorney William Bradford denied any such authorization existed.
But someone high up in the city’s hierarchy must have given permission to use manpower and resources that could have gone to crimefighting for the controversial Farrakhan, who preaches racial separation and has called whites the “anti-Christ,” terms Judaism a “gutter religion,” and evaluated Adolf Hitler as “wickedly great.” It seems inconceivable that having a request for this service and its approval would not have reached the attention of Mayor Ollie Tyler, but the city remains mum on any details involving the incident.
Yet if Tyler seemed a bit too accommodating to the likes of Farrakhan – imagine a similarly-famous political figure whose ethnic views parallel Farrakhan’s except one who would substitute the color “black” in Farrakhan’s epithet “white devils,” former state Rep. David Duke, receiving a taxpayer-paid escort by Shreveport’s finest – Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo went whole hog. Farrakhan jetted over to Monroe, whereupon Mayo presented him with the key to the more easterly of the Twin Cities and the city gave him its own police escort.
Mayo likewise remained tight-lipped in the days following after-the-fact media reports of the meeting. This contrasted with his garrulousness at the Farrakhan airport meeting, where he apparently bestowed the second key Farrakhan has received for Monroe and invited him to speak to all of Monroe.
Over a week later, Mayo did break his silence after media focus on the meeting began reaching statewide. At a subsequent City Council meeting, he took critics to task, calling Farrakhan a “national and international dignitary” with an inspirational message worthy of city honors while all that complainers wanted to do was deflect from the subject of race relations. He said he need apologize for nothing, and that city resources spent on the visit amounted to fewer than $100.
This dalliance with Farrakhan by a big-city Louisiana mayor actually began years ago in Baton Rouge. Former Mayor Kip Holden in 2012 with a police entourage met Farrakhan in New Orleans, whereupon they proceeded to Southern University Baton Rouge where Farrakhan spoke to an audience of around 2,000.
That did not seem to hurt Holden’s bid for reelection he won just weeks later. However, it did create more controversy when Holden forced out former Police Chief Dewayne White some months later, he claimed in part from White’s misleading about use of police resources to ferry around Farrakhan.
Making matters more interesting, White defended his actions saying any unauthorized use came from a subordinate disobeying orders, naming Noel Salamoni – the father of Blane Salamoni, who incident to a 2016 arrest fired shots killing Alton Sterling that led to protests and retaliation against local law enforcement officers by a disturbed gunman. The Salamonis are white, while Sterling was black.
Clearly, with Farrakhan’s decades-long record of hateful rhetoric, by lauding and defending him Mayo must know the highest political office to which he can aspire – he has run for Congress on three occasions in the past five years – is to be Monroe Mayor-for-Life. Now Louisiana waits on which black mayor in the state next will find some way to treat Farrakhan as worthy of honor and taxpayer support.