________________________________________________________________________FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CRTTHURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012 (202) 514-2007WWW.JUSTICE.GOVTTY (866) 544-5309
REMARKS AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY BY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERALTHOMAS E. PEREZAT A PRESS CONFERENCE REGARDING GUILTY PLEAS IN MISSISSIPPI
Today is an important day in the journey for justice for the family of James CraigAnderson, and other African American victims of senseless, racially motivated violence inJackson. Earlier today, the Department of Justice secured guilty pleas from three of theindividuals responsible for the brutal, racially motivated murder of James Anderson. This is theeighth case brought under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act,and the first involving the death of a victim. The Shepard-Byrd Act was named in memory of James Byrd Jr., who died a horrific death in Jasper, Texas, after being dragged behind a pick-uptruck on an asphalt road with his ankles bound by a chain. Mr. Byrd’s death shocked theconscience of the nation. Sadly, the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Anderson are ashocking reminder of how hate fueled violence manifests itself in unthinkable ways.This is a case about a group of racist thugs who made a sport of targeting vulnerableAfrican Americans in Jackson, and attacking them without provocation, simply because of thecolor of their skin. On a number of occasions, they drove around Jackson looking for AfricanAmericans to assault. Jackson is a venerable community. However, for these defendants,Jackson was “Jafrica”; African Americans were subhuman, and their mission was to drivearound Jackson looking for African Americans to attack. They used many different weapons incarrying out their sport. Beer bottles and fists were typical tools of their trade. They took greatpleasure one evening in watching one victim plead for his life after they had brutally assaultedhim.Their sport took a deadly turn on the early morning of June 26, 2011. On that fatefulmorning, defendants Deryl Dedmon, Dylan Wade Butler and John Aaron Rice and others weredriving around Jackson looking for African Americans to attack when they spotted James CraigAnderson, a 47-year-old African American who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.Defendants Rice and Butler spotted Mr. Anderson and concluded that he was an inviting target,and they corralled him while Dedmon and others arrived. After Mr. Anderson got back to hisfeet, defendant Dedmon and others got into what became the murder weapon, a Ford F-250pickup truck, which weighs over a ton, and proceeded to deliberately run over Mr. Anderson. Asthey drove away, one of the participants placed a call on a cell phone bragging about theiraccomplishment.