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<br />Theft charge all about politics, says Joe Ford

  • Written by Dr. Sybill C. Mitchell
Former county commissioner and interim county mayor Joe Ford says the felony theft charge he’s saddled with is yet another attempt by local authorities and media to “get the Fords.” Former county commissioner and interim county mayor Joe Ford says the felony theft charge he’s saddled with is yet another attempt by local authorities and media to “get the Fords.”

 Joe Ford
 Joe
Ford

In an interview Wednesday afternoon with the New Tri-State Defender, Ford said the treatment of his case is politically motivated and that African Americans here are still being railroaded.

“This whole ordeal is an attempt to humiliate and embarrass me and our family,” said Ford, a reference to the Ford family which long has been a fixture in Memphis-area politics.

“Although blacks command a 65 percent majority in Memphis and Shelby County, we are further behind than we were in 1991 when Dr. Willie Herenton became the first (elected) African-American mayor,” said Ford. “It’s very disheartening the way this issue is being handled.”

Ford, 57, is charged with theft of property over $1,000 and under $10,000.

 According to a police report, Ford purchased two Rolex watches on Christmas Eve 2010 from local jeweler, Las Savell. A check was written for $5,835.31 to pay for the watches, but the store agreed to honor Ford’s request to hold the check until after January 1 of this year.

The police record further reflects that after several attempts to redeem the check, a theft of property charge was filed by the store. The check – according to the police report – was returned twice by the bank for insufficient funds, and “numerous attempts to collect the funds” were unsuccessful.

On Tuesday afternoon, Ford, accompanied by son, Joe Ford Jr., and his attorney, Arthur Horne Sr., turned himself in at the Shelby County Jail at 201 Poplar Ave., with a host of local media present to note his surrender. He was released on his own recognizance.

On Wednesday morning, Ford in the company of his son, Justin Ford, and attorney Horne, made a short appearance in General Sessions Criminal Court before Judge Bill Anderson. The case was reset to Oct. 13.

Horne has expressed his conviction that an out-of-court agreement would settle the matter. For the record, two to 12 years is the penalty for conviction on the felony charge.

Ford’s brother, Edmund Ford Sr., is running for mayor in the Oct. 6 municipal election. He told the New Tri-State Defender on Wednesday that it isn’t hard to figure out that the handling of his brother is politically motivated.

“They hope to hurt my chances of being elected,” said Ford.

“They couldn’t bring my name in directly, but the news stories and treatment by law enforcement send one message: ‘We are going to get the Fords.’ They hope the backlash will hurt me in the long-run.”

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