Less than two weeks before a lone gunman killed him in an anti-cop ambush in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Officer Montrell Jackson had written an emotional post on Facebook, lamenting about the unrest in his hometown and the hatred he had received, even by people close to him.
“These are trying times,” he wrote, along with a photo of him holding his newborn son. “Please don’t let hate infect your heart. This city MUST and WILL get better.”
The 32-year-old, who is one of the three cops gunned down in the line of duty by a man named Gavin Long, said he was “tried physically and emotionally.” Talking about race relations and the disorder following the police death of Alton Sterling, Jackson drew on his experiences as a member of the African-American community and a cop.
He also expressed his disappointment with the “reckless comments” made by some friends, family members and other officers.
“I’ve experienced so much in my short life and the past 3 days have tested me to the core,” Jackson lamented. “I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me. In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat.”
In his post, he also pledged to do his part to help the city recover, assuring protesters, officers, friends, family and everyone else, “... if you see me and need a hug or want to say a prayer. I got you.”
Jackson was on the force for 10 years and had a 4-month-old son, Mason, with his wife. His father-in-law, Lonnie Jordan, described him as a “gentle giant” who was “always about peace.”
“It motivated him to go out and change people’s lives. He was on [the force] to help people, to make you have a better day,” his friend Darnell Murdock told The Advocate. “He was humble, kind and sweet. … He wasn’t on there to write tickets. I don’t understand how this could happen to someone like him.”
The Sunday morning killings in Baton Rouge were the latest in the vicious cycle of violence that began after the fatal shooting of Sterling and intensified after police officers mistreated Black Lives Matter activists protesting his murder.