ONTD Political

Hate crime in Jackson, MS

11:41 am - 08/08/2011


Editor's note: The following story contains language some readers may consider offensive.

Jackson, Mississippi (CNN) -- On a recent Sunday morning just before dawn, two carloads of white teenagers drove to Jackson, Mississippi, on what the county district attorney says was a mission of hate: to find and hurt a black person.

In a parking lot on the western side of town they found their victim.

James Craig Anderson, a 49-year-old auto plant worker, was standing in a parking lot, near his car. The teens allegedly beat Anderson repeatedly, yelled racial epithets, including "White Power!" according to witnesses.

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith says a group of the teens then climbed into their large Ford F250 green pickup truck, floored the gas, and drove the truck right over Anderson, killing him instantly.

Mississippi officials say it was a racially motivated murder. What the gang of teens did not know was that a surveillance camera was focused on the parking lot that night, and many of the events, including the actual murder of Anderson, were captured live on videotape.

CNN has exclusively obtained that surveillance tape. The group of teens that night was led by 18-year-old Deryl Dedmon, Jr., of Brandon, Mississippi, according to police and officials.
Deryl Dedmon, Jr., right, could face two life sentences in connection with the killing. John Aaron Rice, left, has been charged with simple assault.
Deryl Dedmon, Jr., right, could face two life sentences in connection with the killing. John Aaron Rice, left, has been charged with simple assault.

"This was a crime of hate. Dedmon murdered this man because he was black," said Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler 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."

Dedmon led and instigated the attack from early in the evening, he took part in the beating of Anderson, and Dedmon was also the actual driver of the Ford 250 truck that would serve as the murder weapon, according to officials.

As the teens were partying and drinking miles away from Jackson that night, in largely white Rankin County, Dedmon told friends they should leave, saying "let's go fuck with some niggers," according to law enforcement officials.

Then, the gang of teens climbed into Dedmon's green truck and a white SUV Cherokee, and drove 16 miles down Interstate 20, to the western edge of Jackson, a predominantly black area.

The teens would have seen Anderson immediately as they exited the highway, as the parking lot where he was standing is just beside the exit ramp.

"This is the first business that you get to coming off the highway and so that was the first person that was out here and vulnerable," said district attorney Smith.

On the videotape, obtained and reviewed by CNN, the group of teens is seen pulling into the parking lot, and stopping where Anderson is standing, though he is just off camera and not visible.

The teens can then be seen going back and forth between their cars and Anderson. Witnesses told law enforcement officials this is when the repeated beatings of Anderson took place.

Dedmon pummeled Anderson repeatedly as he crumpled to the street, according to officials, though this is not visible in the videotape. Finally, after the beating some of the teens left and some got into the green truck.

At this moment on the video, Anderson becomes visible, as he staggered into view and walked towards the headlights of the truck. The truck suddenly surges ahead, running over Anderson, then continuing at high speed away from the scene.

Shortly after he allegedly drove the truck over Anderson, Dedmon allegedly boasted and laughed about the killing, according to testimony given by some of the teens to detectives.

"I ran that nigger 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.

Later that morning, James Craig Anderson's family learned their 49-year-old brother and son died in a hit and run. Only later, when witness statements were taken did they learn the real horror.

"It appears there is no doubt that this was a racially motivated killing," said Winston Thompson, the attorney representing Anderson's family. "The family is still in shock still in disbelief."

Smith and officials in the Hinds County District Attorney's office say they plan to indict Dedmon for murder and a hate crime.

Deryl Dedmon is thin, weighing a mere 130 pounds, and short -- at 5 feet; he has straggly blond hair and piercing blue eyes.

The teen, just 18 years old, has been charged with murder and now faces a possible double life sentence. Calls to Deryl Dedmon's attorney have gone unanswered.

During a bond hearing his attorney told the court he saw nothing to back up the "racial allegations."

At Dedmon's home, a girl who answered the door pretended not to know him though the pick-up truck he allegedly used as a murder weapon sticks out of the family's garage.

Police say they returned it after the vehicle was processed. A second teen, 18-year-old John Aaron Rice, has been charged with simple assault, for his part in the beating his attorney also did not return calls.

Neither teen has entered a plea.

The other teens in the group have not been charged.

And James Craig Anderson's family has decided to remain silent for now, trying to come to grips with a crime they thought was in Mississippi's past: the murder of a man just because he was black.

Video at the source
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lickety_split 8th-Aug-2011 05:30 pm (UTC)
I have a lot of thoughts on this that I probably shouldn't say until I've collected my thoughts and have reworded them in a manner that won't get me banned.

But God, I can't even imagine how the Anderson family is feeling right now. This is every black family's (or anyone who has family members that are a "targeted minority") worst fucking nightmare.
mahasin 8th-Aug-2011 05:32 pm (UTC)
but we're in a post racial society, it's no way that poor angel with his straggly blond hair and piercing blue eyes did that.

Ugh.

Like you, I'm having to collect my thoughts or I'm going to explode.
dearmisterecho 8th-Aug-2011 05:32 pm (UTC)
.........fuck D:
pullmystrings 8th-Aug-2011 05:44 pm (UTC)
what the fuck
ellenel13 8th-Aug-2011 05:47 pm (UTC)
I hope these fuckers are tried as adults
mahasin 8th-Aug-2011 05:51 pm (UTC)
Pretty sure both of those fuckers are 18 so if they aren't there's something seriously wrong with the legal system.
sandvich 8th-Aug-2011 05:53 pm (UTC)
What absolute monsters. I hope that Anderson's family can find a way to heal from this awful tragedy, and I hope this will inspire the rest of the world to get their heads out of their asses and realize that racism isn't even close to over. Not by a long shot.

As for the kids, I hope they rot.
spider_orchid 8th-Aug-2011 05:54 pm (UTC)
Congrats on ensuring that your assholes will be turned into a funhouse for a lot of angry black inmates. CHEERS! :D
lickety_split 8th-Aug-2011 06:07 pm (UTC)
Rape is not a form of punishment we champion for in this comm.
ragnor144 8th-Aug-2011 05:59 pm (UTC)
I *do* know how, but really: how the fuck do people like this even exist?

I hope everyone who let him get away with racist bullshit ever is completely horrified now.
mahasin 8th-Aug-2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
Oh and it should go without saying, the comments are a fucking mess @ CNN.
captain_emily 8th-Aug-2011 06:07 pm (UTC)
I can't even find the story on MSNBC.
pandaseal 8th-Aug-2011 06:16 pm (UTC)
I can't even deal with this country.

There is a reason I'm fucking wary of young white men and this is it. Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, I really am not in the mood the hear how different the white people in your families are and how unfair I'm being. I'm aware of this.

However, I've sat here watching over the last 10 or so years as public racism started getting more and more blatant. I feel less and less safe every month, especially since Obama took office. Of course, plenty of white folks think that this horrific murder is real racism and everything they do or ignore can be excused. This shit does not happen in a vacuum, it happens in a culture that worships at the altar of whiteness and tries to pretend it doesn't have a race problem.

Edited at 2011-08-08 07:03 pm (UTC)
squid_ink 8th-Aug-2011 08:11 pm (UTC)
feel less and less safe every month, especially since Obama took office.

I gotta say, as a white person I'm shocked at how many bigots have come out of the closet since Nov 2008.

And they talk to me as if I'm one of them.

it scares me.
bathstone 8th-Aug-2011 06:17 pm (UTC)
What assholes.
captain_emily 8th-Aug-2011 06:18 pm (UTC)
I hope every single one of those kids that were present, not just the two in the article, are tried for any charges the prosecutors can get to stick.

I have been seeing more and more casual and blatantly overt racism, misogyny, and homophobia recently, and it seems like it's getting worse instead of better.

It's cases like this that make me seriously reconsider my stance on the death penalty. Even if I can't support it myself, I completely understand why someone would support it for people like this.

During a bond hearing his attorney told the court he saw nothing to back up the "racial allegations."

While I understand that everyone should be entitled to the best possible defense they can receive, I also kind of wish it was legal to sue lawyers for willful blindness and stupidity. What's worse is that because this is Mississippi, there's a chance that this defense will work to get the hate crime charges overturned. I'd like to think it a small chance, but I just don't know.
bgwqlc 8th-Aug-2011 10:13 pm (UTC)
I don't understand why they all were not charged with assault. Even the girls hanging around. This shows just how unfair the judicial system can be. If they were black or Latino kids, they would all be in jail right now.
oaktree89 8th-Aug-2011 06:35 pm (UTC)
Oh my god.

Should I be surprised that this still surprises and shocks me, that this kind of thing can happen? I'm horrified.

May Anderson's memory be for a blessing, and may his family find comfort and justice.
erunamiryene 8th-Aug-2011 06:36 pm (UTC)
... good lord, this country needs a Frank Castle really, really badly.
angelofdeath275 8th-Aug-2011 06:37 pm (UTC)
Death penalty.
odysseuslives 9th-Aug-2011 01:13 am (UTC)
My conscience wants me to point out, we can't fight racism with more racism as your icon indicates. It's also kind of ugh in that it's using a picture of the first lady.
serious_mccoy 8th-Aug-2011 06:52 pm (UTC)
Hate crime? In my Mississippi?

Get rid of these sick fuckers. I don't care if they kill them or put them in jail for life- just get rid of them.
captain_emily 8th-Aug-2011 06:52 pm (UTC)
Does it seem odd to anyone else that the family already has the truck back? It's not just a piece of evidence, it's the murder weapon. That doesn't seem like something you should just hand back over to the accused.
oaktree89 8th-Aug-2011 06:55 pm (UTC)
That is odd :/
pullmystrings 8th-Aug-2011 06:55 pm (UTC)
the video's online, apparently. I don't want to watch though.
bgwqlc 8th-Aug-2011 10:16 pm (UTC)
I watched it the CNN website. It was a regular report and then they showed that part. I had to stop because I could not watch the replay.
odysseuslives 8th-Aug-2011 07:32 pm (UTC)
Generally I don't see race as a disease, just as gender isn't either. Sorry if that's not what you meant though.
martydressler 8th-Aug-2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
I can't even.
fruityphobia 8th-Aug-2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
Despicable. I hope they are tried as adults.
velvetunicorn 8th-Aug-2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
Jesus. What is wrong with people? Absolutely horrible.
aviv_b 8th-Aug-2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
I'm generally against the death penalty, but I'd make an exception for these monsters.
wind_hover 9th-Aug-2011 05:21 am (UTC)
I'm confused. If you make an exception... then aren't you for the death penalty? Are you against the way the death penalty is generally applied (that is, it probably hits those without sufficient legal aid harder)? Or are you against the principle of the death penalty? Or something else?
browneyedguuurl 8th-Aug-2011 07:27 pm (UTC)
I think I'm going to throw up.
odysseuslives 8th-Aug-2011 07:34 pm (UTC)
I'm just horrified. It makes me angry that people like this exist, and I cannot understand how people can just kill someone like this without a second thought. And for no reason at all! D:

If anyone was deserving of the death penalty, I think it's these guys.
teacup_werewolf 8th-Aug-2011 07:36 pm (UTC)
White people.
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