TUSKEGEE, Ala. (WIAT) — Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford held a press conference today to voice his thoughts and concerns about memos that came down this week from the governor’s office concerning VictoryLand. The memos set a September 30th deadline for the Macon County sheriff and district attorney to submit a plan to stop the electronic bingo operation.
In part, the memo reads:
On November 5, 2015, Governor Bentley issued Executive Order No. 13 to reiterate longstanding Alabama law requiring enforcement of state laws by local law enforcement. Specifically, “the primary responsibility for enforcement of Alabama’s criminal laws shall remain with the sheriffs and district attorneys of each county as guided by their careful interpretation of the laws of the State of Alabama in their capacity as constitutional officers and officers of the courts.” See Governor Bentley Executive Order Number 13. A sheriff and district attorney may not personally interpret the laws of our state contrary to the interpretation of our Supreme Court. Regardless of personal opinion or public sentiment, the sheriffs and district attorneys of each county must enforce the law as interpreted by the Alabama Supreme Court.”
“You see the kinds of things that are happening all over the country,” Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford told CBS 42. “People are protesting about their rights. Well in Macon County, we’re fed up too. We’re fed up with people trying to take advantage of us and discriminating against us because we are a majority-black community. They are by shooting with bullets, but they are shooting us down, economically, by taking our jobs away and the economic engine for Macon County.”
Ford held a press conference this afternoon to express his frustrations and future plans. “We plan to go into the United States Federal Court,” Ford said. “Why? Because we feel that our voting, our civil, and our equal protection rights violated by the actions that are being taken by the governor and the attorney general.”
As for the other key players in VictoryLand’s recent history, most remained quiet on Friday. The attorney representing Macon County’s sheriff tells CBS 42 that the sheriff and district attorney haven’t been able to sit down and discuss the memo, together. He said they won’t comment until that happens, however, he did say, “the sheriff is going to follow any court order.”
CBS 42 also reached out to AG Strange and the governor’s office for additional comments or reaction to Mayor Ford’s comments. None were provided; however, when CBS 42 asked if there would be consequences if the governor’s office did not receive the requested plans from the sheriff and district attorney by the deadline, a spokesperson told CBS 42 that the governor’s office is waiting to see what those response are before any further action is taken.