Grainy surveillance video from a motel parking lot in Jackson, Mississippi, has turned what looked like a hit-and-run fatality into something more disturbing–a hate crime.
That’s what Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith told CNN, which exclusively obtained the video–which you can see after the jump. Smith says the video shows a group of white teens beating black auto worker James Craig Anderson in a parking lot, before one of the teens gets into a pick-up truck and intentionally runs him down. A motel worker said one of the teens yelled “white power” during the beating, and Smith says the group drove from the mostly white Rankin County to Jackson solely in order to find a black person to assault.
Smith says 18-year-old Deryl Dedmon, Jr., was the ring-leader of the attack, and was driving the truck. Dedmon hasn’t yet entered his plea. Another of the teens, John Aaron Rice, was initially charged with murder as well, but is now charged with assault. Dedmon and Rice’s attorneys deny the allegations, according to WAPT. Meanwhile, some city officials want to close the motel where the assault happened, calling it a magnet for crime.