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Councilman's son cited for pot possession

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BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Staff Writer

Thursday, November 7, 2019

A son of a Rocky Mount City Council member who was quite vocal in stating his political opinions at a recent council meeting is facing a charge of illegally possessing marijuana, court records show.

Cooper Blackwell, 24, not long after midnight on Oct. 6, had less than half an ounce of the drug when he was halted on Sunset Avenue, a police officer said in a citation filed at the Rocky Mount Judicial Center.

The citation states Blackwell at 12:22 a.m was in a 2014 Mercury at or near the intersection of Westview Park Drive when the officer had a reasonable suspicion to believe Blackwell was unlawfully operating a motor vehicle.

The officer cited Blackwell for the drug possession offense, which is considered a misdemeanor.

Blackwell, of the 700 block of Starling Way, is due today for an appearance at the judicial center.

Blackwell, when reached by the Telegram on Wednesday afternoon, said, “That case is under review right now” and advised a reporter he might need to speak to police Chief George Robinson.

Blackwell gave similar responses when asked whether he wanted to comment about the citation and whether he has retained a defense attorney.

“I don’t know if I’m able to speak about what has been posted,” Blackwell said.

“How about this? I’ll call Chief Robinson and I’ll call you back,” Blackwell said. “I’ll try to reach the police department myself and get them to reach out to you.”

Blackwell did not call back by press time — and police generally do not comment about cases pending before the judicial system.

Blackwell is the son of Councilman Reuben Blackwell.

During the public input phase of the Oct. 28 council meeting, Cooper Blackwell spoke about what he sees as inequities and racial segregation — and he took aim at local media and a few local Facebook pages.

Among his remarks, Blackwell said he believes change generates fear among those who have been historically entitled to exclusive social benefits and business.

Blackwell said he believes such fear has caused a faction of white supremacists in the region to revolt against change agents like himself and many African-American community leaders as they work on community-centered health.

He was making his comments in the context of his belief that low-income residents concentrated in segregated, opportunity-deprived communities lack access to steady employment, essential services and good schools.

Near the end of his remarks, he said, “Downtown redevelopment and anti-gentrification efforts have all come under siege. This concentrated effort is to slow down and halt economic development in under-resourced areas.”

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