Civil rights groups and the family of James Anderson have joined together to file a wrongful death lawsuit against a group of white teens who allegedly beat and killed Anderson because he was black.
The Anderson family filed a claim seeking damages from seven teens, all from the predominately white suburb of Jackson, Mississippi. The complaint states that the teens went into the city after a night spent drinking, where they used profane and inflammatory language to target any black people they encountered.
At a hotel parking lot, they found Anderson. There, they began harassing and beating him. According to the complaint, some of them allegedly used the racist term “White Power” during the attack. Ultimately, Anderson was run over and killed.
To quote the complaint itself, “We allege that all seven individuals took part in what we called a joint venture, to seek out and do harm to a person of color; in this particular instance it was James Craig Anderson, a black individual, whom they did murder.”
Investigators say there does not seem to be any reason they would have targeted Anderson other than the color of his skin. The 48-year-old automotive worker did not seem to have any money on his person at the time of the beatings, and even a robbery would not have merited the savagery exhibited in the attack, which was caught on the motel security camera.
The wrongful death suit comes alongside other charges that have been filed in the case. The alleged driver of the vehicle was Deryl Dedmon, who is currently in jail on capital murder charges. Defendant John Aaron Rice has also been charged, though with the lesser crime of assault.
Specifically, the case has drawn the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group responsible for tracking hate groups and hate crimes, particularly across the southern United States.