NAACP Calls For Hate Crimes Charges In James Anderson MurderBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 11 Aug 2011 05:18pm |
The Mississippi NAACP is calling for hate crime charges to be issued against two white teens charged in connection with the beating and murder of a black man. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that the NAACP believes hate crime charges would send a stronger message.
According to police in Jackson, in late June a group of Brandon teens piled into two cars and went looking for a black person to attack.
Police say the teens found 49-year old James Anderson of Jackson, beat him while yelling racial slurs and then one teen, 18-year old Deryl Dedmon, ran him over with a truck and killed him.
Mississippi NAACP president Derek Johnson says issuing hate crimes charges sends a clear message that these crimes are no longer tolerated in Mississippi.
"All evidence so far has been pointing, based on what we received, that it was a racial hate crime. Our concern is that, if it was in face a racial hate crime that the individuals involved will be prosecuted for a racial hate crime," Johnson said.
Two 18-year olds have been charged in connection with the attack....Darly Dedmon has been charged with murder and John Rice with simple assault, but neither has yet been charged with hate crimes.
In an interview with CNN, Hinds County district attorney Robert Shuler Smith says he believes the crime was racially motivated.
"Absolutely. There is no doubt that they were looking for a black victim to assault. And even kill in this instance," Smith said.
While police reports indicate that more than a half a dozen teens were involved in the attack, only Dedmon and Rice have been charged.
NAACP president Derek Johnson says if the other teens knew about the nature of the alleged crime, than they should also face charges...however, he also sees the case as a chance to confront Mississippi's difficult racial history.
"The racial tensions that have built up over time. The stereotypes that have evolved overtime are something that we must address or we will come back to the same place as Mississippians," Johnson said.
Dedmon is being held in jail on 800-thousand dollars bond, but Rice was released on bond....their case is expected to go before a grand jury this fall.
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