Emmett Till Case
Hate crimes have been an issue for years now, decades even. Some have become iconic and in the end have gone on to be influential. This scenario is obviously bittersweet to say the least, for reasons that should be clear without much further explanation. An example of this would be the case of Emmett Till. Emmett was a 14 year old African American boy who happened to be staying in Money, Mississippi. During his time there he had been accused of “offending” a white female store clerk. The only part that varies to his story is whether he made actual physical contact with her, flirted with her, or if he whistled at her. A few nights after this supposed event, 14 year old Emmett was kidnapped from his uncles house. He was brutally beaten only to end up being dragged to a river bank where he was then shot in the head, wrapped in barbed wire, tied to a fan, and dumped into the river. His murderers never faced time for their heinous crime and instead profited off of their boastment.
Emmett’s Accuser’s Confessions
Emmett’s accuser would later admit on her deathbed that she had made the whole thing up and that he had died an innocent child at the hands of evil racists. This of course is a super basic synopsis of this case and it infuriated the nation, as it should have. Although the event should have never taken place, Emmett’s involuntary sacrifice went on to contribute fuel to the civil rights movements. It was an eye opener for the ignorant. This of course is just an example of a hate crime that concluded with some type of not so terrible aftermath, but not all do.
A hate crime that caught my attention was the murder of James Byrd Jr. On June 7,1998, in Jasper, Texas, James accepted a ride from 3 white men. The men jumped him, beat him brutally, and tied him up with chains, which would then be used to chain him to their truck as they drug him, still breathing, for three and a half miles down the road behind the vehicle by his chained ankles. According to the autopsy performed on Mr. Byrd’s body, he was most likely alive through the entire hell ride up until the moment his head was severed from the rest of him. They would go on to leave him in the middle of the road as if he was a display of just how disgusting the American mindset still was in some places. His remains were found in about 81 places along the road, a sight most of the detectives still say haunts them.
Shawn Berry and John King’s Case
Shawn Berry and John King had been friends since school. In 1992, both boys participated in a burglary and were sent to a boot camp with the objective to turn their lives around. The program seemed to work out for Berry, but not so much on King. King had to serve two more years after this and the state sent him to Beto One. Individuals close to him said prison taught him how to hate and he came out a much different person. He wasn’t spoken highly of in any regard and even his father has expressed remorse and disgust toward his actions. His family was baptist and he was known as a quiet boy. He dropped out of school as a sophomore.
Confederate Knights Of America
Prison is where the paths of John King and Russell Brewer intertwined. They both came from well respected families and weren’t raised in a hateful environment. However family said Brewer learned spite during his time. Both King and Brewer joined a prison gang called the Confederate Knights Of America. The group was for white supremacists, and according to King’s lawyer was joined simply for protection purposes due to the danger posed by gangs of other races. Brewer was frequently in prison for what is mostly parole violations after the burglary as well as a trip for being found possessing cocaine.
5th Circuit Court Of Appeals
What came of this was a new law and awareness. Before James’ murder the term “hate crime” was not widely heard nor understood. His suffering inspired the Texas James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act along with the federal Hate Crimes Prevention act of 2009. Byrd’s family has told news outlets that they are pleased with that legacy. It will help out other victims. The city has also named a park after him and a possible construction of a museum in honor of him could be in the works. His murder also led to the tearing down of a fence in Jasper’s cemetery, which had been in place to separate black and white burials.
Events like this serve as a reminder that it doesn’t really matter where you’re from, hate can and does still exist. Whether it be for sexual orientation, about race or religion, gender, etc, all are utterly frightening and disturbing. I’d like to pose some questions regarding murders and assaults like these but there would be no answers available. There’s no excusing actions of vile individuals. Individuals of which we still struggle with. In recent times there’s still been lynchings, assaults, and even attempted murder. Although we do have laws and such in place now due to the sacrifice of innocent victims, how can we guarantee that justice will always be served and how will we ultimately put an end to them? I guess only time can tell.