The FBI will investigate whether federal civil rights laws were violated when 49-year-old James Anderson was beaten and run over by two white teens in Mississippi last month, says an agency spokesperson.
Mississippi authorities have already charged two men, Deryl Dedmon and John Aaron Rice, in connection with the July 26 incident. Dedmon, the alleged driver of the pickup truck that struck Anderson, has been charged with murder and Rice has been charged with simple assault.
Although the defense denies any racial motivation behind the crime, the prosecutor told reporters that Dedmon made a phone call shortly after the killing and told a friend, “I just ran that n----- over,” and that racial slurs were used during the attack.
The prosecution also introduced testimony stating that Dedmon was robbed by a Black man just weeks before the attack and was looking for “some sort of revenge” when he asked people at a party to go with him to Jackson to find someone “to mess with.”
The chilling video of the attack, released earlier this month, clearly shows Anderson being run over by a pickup truck and reminded many of the brutal hate crimes from the ’60s.
In light of the incident, the NAACP launched an independent investigation into whether the same group of young men is also responsible for acts of violence against homeless Black men in the area.
(Photo: CNN via http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/08/06/mississippi.hate.crime/index.html)