Harrison Mayor Jerry Jackson said in a statement released Friday that the subject matter of a video released on social media about Harrison does not accurately represent the town or even Boone County as a whole.
The video is about two minutes long and shows a male subject holding a Black Lives Matter sign, then being met with several harassing and possibly threatening comments from passersby.
Jackson said he and other people analyzed the video and its origins. He says the filmmakers spent three days recording in Harrison and were able to put together the two minutes of footage, even though they were in locations where an estimated 80,000 people would have passed in that time frame.
He feels the video was done solely for monetary gain.
“Many other southern towns and Harrison’s distant past includes some well-documented racist acts of violence,” the statement reads. “The town and our local race relations group have worked over many decades to overcome our history of racism and its lingering reputation.”
Jackson said the filmmaker did not reach out to the local Task Force on Race Relations or the local Black Lives Matter group for comment for insight into the true nature of the people in the area.
Jackson said the city has been inundated with phone calls and messages, including “vague threats,” from all over the country since the video was posted on social media, and other national media outlets have picked up on it.
“This is one of the most devastating things that I have been through as Mayor, and there have been many,” Jackson said in the statement. “I know that when we are attacked, our community can come together to fight this. We must pray that we can move beyond this and become a better community because of it. I urge you to combat hateful comments with something good. Your opinion is powerful. Please respectfully stand up for our town whenever you get the chance.
“These comments made by some of our very own citizens were reprehensible and horrible beyond belief. Like many communities across the country, we do have racist people among us, but we are not going to let a few define our city going forward. In the last few decades, we have taken community efforts to denounce racism on all fronts and we are committed to doing more,” Jackson concluded.