WASHINGTON–NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous commented on the violent death of James Anderson of Jackson, Mississippi:
“I am saddened that a horrific act like this, which appears to be motivated by hate, can still occur in 2011,” stated Jealous. “We are glad that two of the alleged attackers have been charged, and hope all individuals responsible are brought to justice and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
On June 26, seven white teens in Jackson, Mississippi, repeatedly and continually beat a black man, then once they were done, took their SUV and ran over him, killing him. The leader of the teens, 18-year-old Deryl Dedmon, Jr., reportedly raised his fists and shouted “White Power!” as he murdered the 49-year-old black man, James Craig Anderson, simply for being black. Recently released video shows Anderson, 49, being taunted and badly beaten by a group of teenagers as he stood outside a hotel in Jackson, Mississippi. After fleeing the scene, the teens returned to find the victim limping down the street. The video, which captures the beating and subsequent murder, shows the teens running over Anderson with a pickup truck.
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith has charged Deryl Dedmon, Jr. with Murder and John Aaron Rice, with Simple Assault. Both men are from Brandon, Mississippi.
“This was a crime of hate. Dedmon murdered this man because he was black,” said Smith. “The evidence will show that.”
Asked if there could be any doubt whether the intent was to actually hurt and kill a black person, Smith responded: “No doubt about it. They were going out to look for a black victim to assault, and in this case, even kill.”
“I ran that ni**er over,” Dedmon allegedly said in a phone conversation to the teens in the other car.
“He repeated the racial language in subsequent conversations, according to the law enforcement officials.
“He was not remorseful he was laughing, laughing about the killing,” said district attorney Smith.
“My deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of James Anderson,” stated Derrick Johnson, President of the NAACP Mississippi State Conference. “I have full confidence in the county prosecutor that the family will see justice in the matter.”
So, what do you think? Is this a one–of-a-kind assault, or evidence of a very large and growing problem of violent racism in America? And if so, who’s to blame? The teen and his family? The community? Our political system? Rhetoric from political groups?