Just Mercy

Just Mercy

Sheriff Tom Tate Character Analysis

Tate is the sheriff of Monroeville at the time of Ronda’s murder. He is the most active participant in police and State efforts to suppress evidence in order to illegally convict Walter. Tate is openly racist toward Walter. He coerces Myers to proceed with his testimony by illegal sending him to death row. At the time of the book’s publication, Tate is still the Monroeville Sheriff.

Sheriff Tom Tate Quotes in Just Mercy

The Just Mercy quotes below are all either spoken by Sheriff Tom Tate or refer to Sheriff Tom Tate. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Resistance and Advocacy Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Spiegel & Grau edition of Just Mercy published in 2015.
Chapter 3 Quotes

We’re going to keep all you niggers from running around with these white girls. I ought to take you off and hang you like we done that nigger in Mobile.

Related Characters: Sheriff Tom Tate (speaker), Walter McMillian
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

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Sheriff Tom Tate Character Timeline in Just Mercy

The timeline below shows where the character Sheriff Tom Tate appears in Just Mercy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Mockingbird Players
Systemic Power, Oppression, and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Media and Public Opinion Theme Icon
...it. The community is getting anxious to solve the crime, putting newly elected Sheriff Tom Tate under pressure to find a suspect. (full context)
Systemic Power, Oppression, and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Empathy, Mercy, and Humanization Theme Icon
Media and Public Opinion Theme Icon
...several black men in a grocery store, Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI) officials and Sherriff Tate are left with no evidence to support Myer’s statements. (full context)
Chapter 3: Trials and Tribulations
Systemic Power, Oppression, and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Media and Public Opinion Theme Icon
...failed to identify Walter. Stevenson remarks that public pressure was continuing to build on Sherriff Tate, District Attorney Investigator Larry Ikner, and ABI Investigator Simon Benson. Following an officer’s prompting, Myers... (full context)
Resistance and Advocacy Theme Icon
Systemic Power, Oppression, and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Media and Public Opinion Theme Icon
...the murder of Ronda Morrison to the “joy and relief” of the white community. Sherriff Tate still hasn’t investigated Walter’s background or whereabouts at the time of Ronda’s murder. Black residents... (full context)
Systemic Power, Oppression, and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Empathy, Mercy, and Humanization Theme Icon
...which reminds Myers of his own childhood burning incident. The next day he calls Sheriff Tate, offering to move ahead with his testimony. Tate personally moves Myers to another prison on... (full context)
Systemic Power, Oppression, and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Empathy, Mercy, and Humanization Theme Icon
...February trial is postponed until August after the key witness, Myers, again refuses to testify. Tate transfers Myers back to death row, where his mental health issues resurface. He is sent... (full context)
Chapter 7: Justice Denied
Systemic Power, Oppression, and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Empathy, Mercy, and Humanization Theme Icon
...that Myers never met Walter, and informs them that during her own criminal investigations, Sherriff Tate had taunted her for “sleep[ing] with niggers.” She expresses her regrets that her drug abuse... (full context)
Resistance and Advocacy Theme Icon
Systemic Power, Oppression, and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Media and Public Opinion Theme Icon
...about Walter’s case. In a meeting at District Attorney Tom Chapman’s office, Stevenson meets Sherriff Tate and Investigator Larry Ikner for the first time. At this point, it is publicly known... (full context)
Chapter 9: I’m Here
Resistance and Advocacy Theme Icon
Systemic Power, Oppression, and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...Rule 32 petition. The tapes reveal Myers’ repeated attempts to recant his testimony while Ikner, Tate and Benson coerce him to continue. Stevenson finishes by calling on Walter’s trial lawyers, Boynton... (full context)
Chapter 13: Recovery
Resistance and Advocacy Theme Icon
Systemic Power, Oppression, and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...dollars from each agency responsible for Walter’s conviction. They struggle the most to sue Sherriff Tate, to whom Stevenson refers as the most active and clearly racially-biased contributor. Their lawsuit goes... (full context)