Slain officer posts touching Facebook message days before death

BATON ROUGE (AP) - Just days before he was shot and killed Sunday morning, a Baton Rouge police officer posted an emotional Facebook message saying he was “physically and emotionally” tired and expressing how difficult it was to be both a police officer and a black man, a friend said Sunday.

“I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me,” Montrell Jackson wrote.

He said while in uniform he gets nasty looks and out of uniform some consider him a threat.

“I’ve experienced so much in my short life and these last 3 days have tested me to the core,” the posting read.

The message was posted July 8, just three days after a black man was shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge. That shooting was the beginning of an extremely tense week in the country’s fraught history of race relations. Another black man was shot and killed by police the next day in Minnesota, with his girlfriend livestreaming the aftermath on Facebook. Then a black gunman opened fire during a protest against the police shootings in Dallas, killing five police officers.

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Jackson does not specifically refer to those events but the posting appears to be a reaction to them.

Erika Green told The Associated Press Sunday that she is friends with the family of Jackson, one of three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers who were killed Sunday morning. She said she saw the message on his Facebook page.

In the message, Jackson says he is physically and emotionally tired.

“These are trying times. Please don’t let hate infect your heart,” Jackson wrote.

A screenshot of the image has been widely circulating on the internet but is no longer on Jackson’s Facebook page.

State Rep. Ted James, who confirmed to the AP that Jackson was killed Sunday, said he had a 4-month-old child.

Jackson’s family called him a man of “God, family and the police force.”

Kedrick Pitts, a 24-year-old truck driver and the younger half-brother of Montrell Jackson, said he was very close to his older brother.

He described his brother as someone dedicated to “God, family and the police force.”

Pitts and other family members were gathered outside Jackson’s mother’s house in Baton Rouge to mourn the loss of Jackson.

Pitts said his brother “went above and beyond” and that he was “a protector.”

He said his brother had been on the force for 10 years, having joined in 2006. He said he had risen to the rank of corporal.

He said Jackson has a wife and a 4-month-old son, Mason. He called Jackson a hard-working police officer who often worked seven days a week.

Jackson’s father-in-law described him as a “gentle giant.”

Lonnie Jordan spoke to reporters on the front lawn of Montrell Jackson’s house in the rural Livingston Parish.

He said he heard about Jackson’s death while at church Sunday morning when he received a text message.

Jordan described his son-in-law as a “gentle giant” — tall and stout and formidable looking, but with a peaceful disposition.

Jordan said Jackson was “always about peace.”

Jordan said his son-in-law had been working long hours since the death of Alton Sterling and the resulting protests. But Jordan said if the work was a strain, Jackson didn’t let it show.

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