Hate crime? White teens beat, run over black man

In Jackson, Miss., in June, a truck being driven by a white teenager purposefully ran over and killed a black man the driver did not know personally.

CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston reports that the dead man's family filed a wrongful death suit on Tuesday against the driver and six of his friends, for what they claim was a hate crime.

The death of James Craig Anderson was captured by a motel parking lot surveillance camera. On the upper right of the screen, a pick-up truck is seen backing up, then charging over the 48-year-old Anderson.

Witnesses have told police that before Anderson was run down he had been beaten by a group of teens yelling racial slurs.

Attorney Winston Thompson filed the civil suit on behalf of the Anderson family.

"They essentially cased him out. They wanted to make sure he was a suitable, vulnerable victim. They went and talked about what they were going to do, came back a second time and that's when the assault took place," Thompson said.

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In addition to the civil suit, capital murder charges have been filed against 19-year-old Deryl Dedmon. He was the alleged driver. John Rice, 18, who witnesses say helped beat the victim, has been charged with simple assault.

County Prosecutor Robert Shuler Smith said race was a factor.

"Racial slurs were being used throughout the event and of course afterwards," Smith said.

Attorneys for Dedmon say what happened was an accident. However, prosecutors have charged Dedmon with a hate crime, which means if he is convicted, his sentence could be doubled.

Mississippi put a hate crime on the books in 1994, and as far as prosecutors can tell, this is the first time the hate crime statute is being applied.

In a town with a tense racial history, black and white residents have been standing side by side at prayer vigils seeking justice for the victim.

Dedmon's bail has now been raised to $800,000, and he remains behind bars. Federal authorities have also entered the investigation to see if other teens in Deryl Dedmon's group should be charged.

  • Randall Pinkston

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