The brutal beating death of James C. Anderson entered a new chapter today as Mississippi attorney Winston J. Thompson III, in cooperation with the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in connection with the vicious murder.
The civil suit accuses seven white teenagers of intentionally going out in the early morning hours to find and assault a black man. The lawsuit describes how, during the evening of June 25 and into the next morning, the teens were drinking at various points in Rankin County, Mississippi before setting out in two vehicles to find a target.
Anderson became their target. The teens found Anderson in a motel parking lot in Jackson, Mississippi where they brutally beat the man. Then, when Anderson was staggering and barely conscious, one teen ran him over. During the attack, which was captured on video, one of his attackers shouted “White power!”
According to the lawsuit, the driver of the truck, Deryl Dedmon Jr., reportedly told other teens witnessing the assault that he “ran that n—-r over.” None of the other teens named in the lawsuit attempted to stop the attack, call police or seek medical help for Anderson.
Named as defendants are Dedmon, John Aaron Rice, Sarah Graves, Shelbie Richards, William Kirk Montgomery, John Blaylock and Dylan Butler. The allegations in the suit include battery, negligence, gross negligence and wrongful death. While family and friends of the teenagers involved deny race played any role (indeed some have even accused the family of “playing the race card”) it is hard to find any other motive, let alone explanation, for such a senseless tragedy.
Photo from jamesschiflit via flickr.