Brookhaven pastor to residents: ‘Where do we stand?’ — Pastor speaks at rally in support of shooting victim

Published 11:38 am Monday, February 14, 2022

The pastor of a Brookhaven congregation said he was saddened and ashamed that “we had to have other people come in to lead us” in speaking out on systemic racism.

Rev. Larry Jointer, pastor of St. James Missionary Baptist Church, spoke Saturday during a protest and march in downtown Brookhaven. The protest was led by a joint effort of the NAACP, Black Lives Matter and the Black Panthers, both in support of recent shooting victim D’Monterrio Gibson and others whom several speakers said were victims of police brutality or racist systems.

Gibson was pursued and shot at in January in Brookhaven while performing his job as a delivery driver for FedEx. Father and son Gregory and Brandon Case, who are white, were charged with conspiracy and aggravated assault/shooting into an occupied motor vehicle while pursuing Gibson, who is black.

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Jointer began by offering an apology to Gibson and his mother, Sharon McClendon, saying he was unaware of the situation until four or five days later, and only learned of it from Brookhaven NAACP leader Rev. Rico Cain.

“I don’t speak for the whole community, but I can speak for my church,” Jointer said. “We are saddened by this. I’m saddened that even today not many people from Brookhaven showed up.”

While grateful those who were present did attend in support of Gibson and his family, Jointer said the lack of support was the residual effect of Brookhaven citizens not voting.

“And those who did vote, a lot of them voted ignorantly. This is the result of people staying at home when they should have been voting. This is the result of not being in unity with the vote but being divisive because somebody encouraged them to do it. This is the result,” he said. “This is the result of people staying at home and then folks going around spreading discord within our own people.”

Jointer acknowledged that he ran for mayor in the last municipal election against current Mayor Joe Cox.

“I came up about 25 votes short of being the first black mayor in Brookhaven (against the) two-time incumbent. And I could tell you some things about him, but I’m not going to say it here,” Jointer said.

“This is a sad indictment against us in Brookhaven that we had to have other people to come in to lead us in this when we should have been standing up ourselves simple because … it could have been one of our children,” Jointer said. “It’s sad. It’s so sad. And I’m going to do more than pray. I told this family, whatever they need me to do, I’ll do it.”

The pastor closed his comments with a question and a “tough statement” from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“‘The measure of a man is not where he stands in comfort and convenience. The measure of a man is where he stands when there is challenge and conflict.’ We’re in the conflict,” Jointer said. “So I wonder — where are you standing when it comes to this? … We ought to be absolutely ashamed of ourselves for somebody else to come in and lead this effort. Where do we stand?”