Family Files Suit Against Mississippi Teens Accused of Hate Crime

The family's suit names all seven teens as defendants.

By Jorge Rivas Sep 06, 2011

A Mississippi attorney in cooperation with the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a wrongful death lawsuit today on behalf of the family of James C. Anderson, a black man who was allegedly beaten then fatally run over by a group of white teens. The horrific incident was captured on camera and has led to widespread outrage.

The civil lawsuit accuses seven white teenagers of deliberately setting out in the early morning hours of June 26, 2011 to go to Jackson to "go f*ck with some niggers." According to the Hinds County District Attorney, Anderson was the first black person the teens saw when exited the highway, and they immediately began attacking him.

According to the lawsuit, one of his attackers shouted "white power!" during the attack.

"Anyone who knew James could see that he was a caring man with a beautiful smile," Barbara Anderson Young, James’ eldest sister said in a statement released by the attorneys. "He was such a compassionate person. We must take an honest look at the racial climate that motivated some young people to hurt such a wonderful person."

The family’s lawsuit names all seven teens as defendants. So far, only two teens faced charges: Deryl Dedmon 19, of Brandon, Mississippi, is accused of intentionally running over Anderson facing capital murder charges and is facing capital murder charges. A second suspect, John Rice, has been charged with simple assault.

Filed in the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, Mississippi, the suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of Anderson’s family.