The family of James Craig Anderson, the 49-year old Mississippi plant worker, who was beaten by a group of white teenagers in an allegedly racially-motivated attack, is suing the teens for wrongful death. The New York Times states:
"The lawsuit, filed in Hinds County Circuit Court in Jackson, paints the death of James Craig Anderson as a hate crime, and outlines an evening of drinking that culminated with a caravan of teenagers from a largely white suburban county intent on finding African-Americans to harass.
Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center joined Winston Thompson III, the family’s lawyer, in preparing the suit, which includes charges of battery and negligence.
The lawsuit makes public for the first time the names of all seven young people who had piled into the two vehicles that night, and alleges that while some were directly responsible for assaulting and killing Mr. Anderson, others were negligent because they acted as “look-outs” and did not help Mr. Anderson once he was beaten.
The district attorney for Hinds County, Robert Shuler Smith, has said he will try to implicate other teenagers when he takes the case to a grand jury, expected to happen this month. The F.B.I. has also gotten involved, with civil rights investigators helping Mr. Smith piece together the case, which was hampered early on by missing evidence and holes in some initial police work."
Anderson was in a hotel parking lot on June 26 when two carloads of white teens jumped out and began beating him. In the widely seen surveillance video, James is seen struggling to get up before one of the teens driving a pick up truck speeds towards him, running over and killing him.
Eighteen-year-old Derly Dedmon Jr., who has a history of making homophobic and racist remarks, believed to be the leader of the group that attacked Anderson, has been charged with capital murder. Rice was initially charged with murder but a judge reduced his charges to simple assault because he is not believed to have driven the vehicle that killed Anderson.
The family has created the James Craig Anderson Foundation for Racial Tolerance, but has not spoken much about the incident. Anderson's partner of 17 years, James Bradfield, was not named in the lawsuit but is scheduled to be at a family news conference today.
For more about the case, click HERE, HERE, and HERE.