City council member fingered in firebomb attack on newspaper
MISSISSIPPI–The president of the Jackson City Council has been implicated in the firebombing of a black-owned weekly newspaper. Prosecutors have accused the councilman, Louis Armstrong, who is also African-American, of arranging the attack, in charges filed in state court in Jackson against the man who is accused of carrying out the bombing for the councilmember.
In January 1998, former Armstrong aide Clinton Moses pleaded guilty to throwing two Molotov cocktails into offices of The Jackson Advocate. The attack severely damaged the newsroom, destroying computers, cameras and books. According to the charges, Armstrong paid Moses $500 to carry out the attack. Armstrong had not been charged in the firebombing as of mid-March.
Charles Tisdale, publisher of the newspaper, said he is not unfamiliar with these kinds of incidents. Since he took over publication in the late 1970s, the paper has been attacked 21 times, Tisdale claimed.
Armstrong has been the subject of a number of articles and editorials in the Advocate, and Armstrong and Tisdale have had a running feud for almost 20 years, according to Tisdale. But Tisdale does not believe that his rival committed the crime.
“I believe sinister forces are at work in this community and involve members of the FBI and other agencies,” Tisdale told the Associated Press. “If he (Armstrong) was going to blow up my office because of what I wrote against him, he would have blown it way before this — because we’ve been at this for a long time.” (Mississippi v. Moses)