Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford makes several attempts to get arrested

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Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford (left) walking to Attorney General Luther Strange’s office in an attempt to get arrested on Februrary 19, 2013. (Montgomery Advertiser, Brian Lyman)

It wasn’t for lack of trying.

Protesting the closing of VictoryLand, Tuskegee mayor Johnny Ford walked to the offices of Gov. Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange and the Alabama Legislature Tuesday, seeking to get arrested. Ford was unsuccessful in each attempt, in part because he did not engage in actions that would lead to being detained — for instance, attempting to block the door in the governor’s office.

“They would have just simply pushed me back,” Ford said after leaving the Attorney General’s office lobby early Tuesday afternoon.

Ford said he also attempted to engage in civil disobedience at VictoryLand, but was not detained by state troopers there.

Gov. Bentley was not in his office Tuesday, nor was Strange. Ford told staffers at each location that he believed the raid was a violation of the constitutional amendment approved by Macon County voters that authorized bingo. Staffers for Bentley and Strange told Ford they would convey his feelings to their bosses.

Ford’s attempts at civil disobedience in the Legislature were equally unsuccessful, but he did meet with Sen. Bill Beasley, D-Clayton, whose district includes VictoryLand, and Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, whose district includes GreeneTrack. Beasley, referring to the 300 people employed at VictoryLand, said after meeting with Ford that “300 families are without jobs” following the action.

Ford said he planned to pursue a federal lawsuit over the closing.

“We legislate, we agitate — we go to jail — and now we’re going to litigate,” he said.

– posted by Brian Lyman

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