James Anderson’s Partner Can’t Join Family’s Wrongful Death Suit in Mississippi

Under state law, Anderson's male partner of 17 years is not allowed to join the family's civil suit against the white teens suspected in his high-profile murder.

By Jorge Rivas Sep 09, 2011

Earlier this week the family of James C. Anderson, the black man who was killed in an alleged hate crime in Mississippi, filed a lawsuit agaisnt the seven white teens who participated in the murder. But the state of Mississippi will not allow Anderson’s male partner of 17-years to be part of the family’s civil suit, the New York Times reported.

As the Andersson family lawyer explained to the Times, James Bradfield, Anderson’s partner, is not a plaintiff in the family’s suit because same-sex partners have no claim in civil actions like the one the family is putting forward in the state of Mississippi. (There is no indication that Anderson’s sexual orientation was a factor in the crime.)

Anderson was violently attacked and then run over by a group of white teens on June 26, 2011. Deryl Dedmon 19, of Brandon, Mississippi is accused of intentionally running over Anderson with his green Ford-250 and is now facing capital murder charges because of evidence that he assaulted and robbed Anderson, according to Hinds County District Attorney

The civil suit accuses the seven white teenagers of deliberately setting out in the early morning hours of June 26 to go to Jackson to "go f*ck with some niggers." 

The New York Times provides a few more details:

The lawsuit makes public for the first time the names of all seven people who had piled into the two vehicles that night, charging that while some were directly responsible for assaulting and killing Mr. Anderson, others were negligent because they acted as lookouts and did not try to help Mr. Anderson. …

The suit did not specify an amount for damages, but it included accusations of negligence as a way to tap into the homeowner’s insurance policies of some of the families of the young people involved, Mr. Dees said.

Anderson leaves behind his partner and a 4-year-old girl they were raising together.