Murder in Mississippi Love and Hate Crime


Murder in Mississippi

Documentary series about hate crime in the US. When a black man is murdered, an FBI investigation uncovers a campaign of hate attacks by local white kids.


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Transcript


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DIAL TONE

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DIALLING NUMBER

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RINGING

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DISTANT SIRENS

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This programme contains some strong language and some scenes which some viewers may find upsetting

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This was after the accident.

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How old was Sarah, 18?

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Sarah just turned 18.

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Do you miss her?

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-You don't miss her, do you?

-Yeah.

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It was heartbreaking. I was mad.

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She probably thought they were just going to ride around

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the country backroads. Either way,

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she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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I mean, shit, she could've called me.

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DISTANT SIRENS

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RADIO CRACKLES

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SIRENS WAIL

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HORNS BLARE

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INDISTINCT VOICES ON RADIO

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Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

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From every mountainside.

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There's enough to keep us busy in this city.

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I call it job security.

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We were working 12 to eight shifts.

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We were going westbound

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and we passed the Metro Inn.

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I remember passing by the hotel, and observing several subjects,

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white males, what appeared to be white males,

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standing beside a vehicle.

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He keyed up on the radio, he said, "That doesn't look right."

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If you see white males, you know, clean, dressed, nice cars,

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that side of town, that late,

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something isn't right about that.

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It is segregation.

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-ON RADIO:

-Direction 1520, Ellis Avenue.

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SIRENS WAIL

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1520, Ellis Avenue, across the street of I20 at the Metro Inn.

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Reports of a green truck that just hit a male subject.

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As we're making this turn right here,

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myself and Moore are starting to see several subjects standing out right

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here, in front of the Metro Inn,

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and a body lying on the ground, and they were very irate -

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screaming and yelling.

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There wasn't any blood.

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His back was on the curb and his head was in the grass.

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Several people around him.

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These people that were staying here actually witnessed it.

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They actually saw it happen.

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We were able to ascertain that it was a hit-and-run.

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Then they began to tell us that they were using racial slurs,

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saying "nigger."

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To see white kids actually purposely run down

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a black man for no reason...

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that would upset a lot of folks - black and white.

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At that time, he was deceased.

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No life in his body.

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Eyes half open.

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Why is it Aunt Sarah's not here?

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-I don't know.

-Is she on vacation?

-No.

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Do you remember Aunt Geezy telling you anything about that she was

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-going to be going away?

-Mm-hmm, because we had her go away party.

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-Mm-hmm.

-We had karaoke and me and my friend Caitlin,

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we sung a song for Geezy.

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-What did y'all sing?

-Let It Go.

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Do you want Nana to tell you why Aunt Geezy's not here?

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Do you know?

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-No, not really.

-There was an accident.

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And she was with other kids, and they all got in trouble.

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There was ten of them, and everybody got in trouble.

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After they told us a brief description of the vehicle,

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and which direction they went in, we decided to get on the Interstate,

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and hopefully catch up to the vehicle.

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-ON RADIO:

-Looking for a hit-and-run driver, white male driver.

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I noticed the vehicle, and I immediately got on the radio,

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you know, blood circulating, my adrenaline's going.

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We may actually have the vehicle.

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Eastbound on I20, again.

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As I pull up beside the vehicle, he looks over at me and we lock eyes,

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and at that point in time, I knew this was my suspect.

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And he had this blank stare about him,

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which it was like a chilling,

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like a cold-hearted look.

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I'll never forget that look.

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Rolls his window down. I ask for his driver's licence.

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He gives it to me.

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I observe the two females in the truck.

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At this point in time, they're not saying anything.

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They act as though...

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they don't know why they're being stopped.

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Deryl was the driver.

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For someone who had just assaulted a man, robbed him and run over him,

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in the brutal way that he did, he was just going home.

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It's like another day.

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Shelbie was sitting beside him.

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She really thought it was joke. It's like it didn't matter to them

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that they had just ran over and killed an innocent black man.

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And then you had Sarah, sitting beside her on the front seat.

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Sarah was actually very humble.

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She was part of something that she probably didn't want to be part of,

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and didn't know that it was fixing to happen.

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I think she was more likely in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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I went and looked at the front of the truck, and on the

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right front bumper was a sight I don't think I've ever seen before.

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One that has never...

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I can't forget. It was, erm...

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It was, erm... It...

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It appeared to be brain matter and blood

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from where he had run over him.

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How you doing?

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-Morning.

-Hey. What's going on?

-How you doing?

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-You OK?

-I'm good, how are you?

-Good.

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This is a one-way glass.

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It's on the opposite side of the actual interview room.

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The suspect's back is always to this side of the room.

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Dedmon initially lied and said that

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Mr Anderson jumped in front of his truck.

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This is the victim splatter of blood on the vehicle.

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Shelbie was brought into the interview room.

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She was laughing. It was a joke to her.

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It was funny. She did not take it serious at all.

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And that's the thing that follows me, that I remember most.

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Sarah's giving a totally different story,

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and the story that Sarah is giving is bad.

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Sarah was clearly upset and in shock.

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She had to gather herself prior to the interview.

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She had been crying the whole morning.

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According to Sarah Graves, Deryl Dedmon gets out of his vehicle,

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and Sarah sees that Deryl is fighting with the victim,

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James Greg Anderson.

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The actual assault took place in this area,

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cos this is the blind spot of the camera.

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Yeah. This is where he was assaulted and they took his wallet,

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and robbed him.

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This was my beat. I knew that they had surveillance.

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This sent chills through my body just watching it.

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When I first saw this, I was, like... I couldn't believe it.

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You see when he goes on the kerb.

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The control to actually veer your vehicle on a kerb.

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-And they hit him.

-Yeah.

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Have you ever hit a dog?

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-I mean, it does something to you.

-Yeah.

-You feel it.

-Yeah.

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-Under your tyre.

-Yeah.

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I mean...

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they ran him down like a dog.

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A human being.

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Like he was just an animal.

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Dedmon showed no remorse for the actual crime,

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the actual act of taking another individual's life.

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Mr Dedmon came to Jackson for the specific purpose

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of targeting black people. Not a white target, not a Mexican target.

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A black target.

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It was a modern-day lynching.

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Dedmon is the only person who was charged on the night of the murder.

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I got off work. He wasn't here.

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So I was, like, "That's odd...

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"that he hadn't made it in."

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The detective asked me was I James Bradfield,

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and I told him, "Yes." He said, "Well,

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"James Craig Anderson was in an accident last night."

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So I said, "Oh, OK."

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I said, "Where is he? Let me know where he at."

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That's when they told me that, erm...

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"Well, you can't go to him, because...

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"That's when he got killed. He got killed that night."

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HE SIGHS

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HE SNIFFS

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So...

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18 years, you're with a person 18 years...

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He loved gardening.

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He loved flowers.

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He would plant them. I wouldn't plant them.

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That's one thing I do, because...

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I knew he loved to do it, but I get out here and I try

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to do it myself or I'll get the yard man come out here and do it for me.

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HE LAUGHS

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I had to tell Demeris, and I didn't know how to tell Demeris that

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Craig was killed.

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So, you know, and that was, like, the biggest part...

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to see a little child that age, you know,

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hear that your stepdad is dead.

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The first thing I heard was the phone ring,

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and it was Sarah, saying, "Mama...

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"can you come get me? And I could tell there was something wrong,

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just in her voice, like she'd been crying.

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There's the Police Department right there.

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I reached over and opened the door for her,

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because I was so anxious to get her, you know,

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I didn't know what was going on.

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She looked like she'd been scared to death.

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To me, she looked like she'd been raped.

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She was suicidal.

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And I put her in the hospital cos of it.

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I didn't want her to take her life.

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And over there's her graduation picture.

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She was very popular and very outgoing.

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I don't know, everybody loved Sarah.

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It's sad to think somebody's away,

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because it makes you feel like they're dead.

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We're blessed. She's not.

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She will come home.

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I keep going back to the day that it happened.

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The day I got the news,

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and I'm hearing this role-play of how they did it in my head,

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and it kept going on and on for finally...

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I got to the point where I couldn't even breathe at night.

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I couldn't sleep at night.

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Everywhere I go, people asking,

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people asking the same question over and over again.

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People tell me they know how I feel,

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but don't nobody know how I'm feeling.

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Nobody know how I'm feeling.

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Nobody know.

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HE CRIES

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I say today, people don't even know how, the things I had to go through,

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the things I had to endure.

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Don't nobody know.

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I wouldn't teach my child how to hate people.

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I would not teach them because a person's white, you should hate 'em.

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I would not do that.

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I feel like they should not have let them kids go that night,

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because I want every last one of them to serve time.

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If it had've been black kids going over to Brandon,

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and killed somebody...

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I can guarantee you, they would not have gotten out of jail.

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Dedmon was the driver of the truck that struck and killed Anderson.

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Bonds were set at 100,000 each.

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Prosecutors believe that ten separate people had some level

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of involvement in this.

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They drive from their majority white county in Mississippi

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into majority black Jackson, the state capital,

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and they basically made a sport of it.

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Lots of white folks moved out of Jackson.

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Like the neighbourhood where I'm living in now,

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it used be mostly white,

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but now,

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you see it's only blacks up there,

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and they don't want

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no part of Jackson.

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So in parts of Rankin County, you won't find a black person in.

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Of course, they're not going to tell you,

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but that make it hard for you to get up in there,

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hard to get into that neighbourhood or whatever.

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People have burned crosses in a black person's yard,

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because they moved to a certain area.

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So, segregation still exists in Mississippi - period.

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I don't think it'll ever leave.

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Everyone here in Crystal Springs, they know me.

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They know my sister, and they know her story,

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and they don't think no less of either one of us.

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Someone calls you a redneck around here, it ain't like,

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they don't take it like it's ugly.

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We take it as in you're just really country.

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INTERVIEWER: Are you redneck?

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I mean, I'm country, but I don't...

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I don't know. When I think of redneck,

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I do think of, like, out in the boondocks,

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you know, probably not no water to wash your hands, kind of thing,

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but it's not... That's not how we mean it when we say it around here.

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-You're shooting low.

-I know.

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Trying to hold it up.

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-Drop your arm a little.

-We only put two in?

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Here in Crystal Springs, a lot of people go hunting.

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A lot of people like to deer hunt

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and do any kind of hunting there is, really.

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Now put you another one in the chamber.

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Now you can have four shots.

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You're ready to shoot.

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I'm the managing attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Centre

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in Mississippi and we're an organisation

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that seeks to stop hate.

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People called me and said, "Have you heard of this hate crime?

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"Have you heard that a man was killed just because he was black?"

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African American community was outraged.

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The investigation was incomplete by the local police,

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and the district attorney didn't have enough evidence to move forward.

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Only one person will be held accountable,

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and I personally was not satisfied with that.

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I know there's something more here. The evidence supports it.

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What more can we do?

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We wanted to make sure we were in that community and we could find out

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from people who were most affected what had happened.

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Hired a private investigator, and he went out to Rankin County,

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the communities where all of the individuals

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involved in the hate crime lived.

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A middle-aged white male, who we picked purposely,

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because we knew that he would be able to go into circles that,

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frankly, I could not blend in with, because of the colour of my skin.

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Our investigator was able to learn this was not an isolated event.

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This was multiple events, and multiple trips to Jackson.

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A certain group of them would go out with the plan of hurting somebody

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who was black.

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They would consider themselves hunting.

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Sometimes it was homeless people,

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sometimes it was just somebody walking by themselves -

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similar to James Craig Anderson.

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This had been going on for quite some time,

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but the death was the first time this thing gone public.

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This was a culture of individuals who gathered to routinely do this,

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just as Klansmen did just 50 years ago,

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when they would get together and terrorise black churches.

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We shared everything we learned from our case with the FBI.

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The beginning stages of fire will be shot two-handed.

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When the targets face, draw and fire three rounds.

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Three rounds. Shooter ready?

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Shooter's ready.

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GUNSHOTS

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When targets face, draw and fire four rounds in eight seconds.

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Four rounds in eight seconds, reload and holster.

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Shooter ready? Shooter's ready.

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GUNSHOTS

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Our agents realise that this work is critically important.

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It's a huge reason of why we exist as an organisation,

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to ensure civil rights are protected,

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and, quite honestly, why the Jackson division of the FBI was formed,

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because of what was happening during the '60s.

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We had seen potentially more evidence

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that this was a racially motivated crime.

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The FBI was requested to initiate a formal investigation.

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We interviewed over 250 people.

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We used a grand jury, grand jury subpoena, to obtain information.

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We heavily exploited social media to reveal the content of what happened

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as people were talking about events.

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The pictures seemed to come together...

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to show this was not just one or a single...

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carload of individuals, but that more folks were involved.

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This was more than an isolated incident.

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At least on one occasion,

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an African-American on the side of the road was struck,

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using beer bottles and metal ball bearings fired out of a slingshot.

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You have an individual who, while at a gas station,

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they ran a car at him.

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Witnesses' statements, if he hadn't have moved,

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they would have hit him with a car at that time.

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Prior incidents of folks being attacked, viciously attacked,

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at a golf course...

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..as a pattern.

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So it was here in Rankin County that a group of several dozen youth got

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together, as kids often would, for a party, but out of that party,

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stemmed the plan,

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as on previous occasions, to go into Jackson.

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Several of the kids, Sarah specifically,

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who identified by others as being kind of that driving force, like,

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"Let's go, let's go."

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Multiple, multiple times, to the point where some of the

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individuals felt annoyed and chose to move away from her that night.

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I think what that does is that shows that the individuals

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that decided to get in and travel and go down that night...

0:25:110:25:16

may have not have had a specific plan to kill anybody,

0:25:160:25:19

but they definitely knew why they were making that trip.

0:25:190:25:22

So, the FBI interviewed Sarah Graves,

0:25:310:25:35

and she lied about her role and her knowledge that night.

0:25:350:25:38

Me and Taylor were in the pool swimming,

0:25:420:25:44

and these real nice black Dodge looking...

0:25:440:25:48

..Dodge 300s pulled up.

0:25:510:25:54

I remembered Taylor and I started coming outside

0:26:000:26:02

and they told us, "Y'all can't be out here."

0:26:020:26:06

She was in her room and we told her the feds wanted to talk to her.

0:26:060:26:11

And then after about 30 minutes of talking,

0:26:110:26:15

this one here looked at Sarah and he said, "You're lying."

0:26:150:26:19

I looked at her and said, "Sarah, are you telling the truth?

0:26:190:26:21

"Look at Mama. Are you telling the truth?"

0:26:210:26:25

And she started crying.

0:26:250:26:27

She said, "Mama,

0:26:270:26:30

"I did tell the truth, but I went one other time."

0:26:300:26:33

Yes, she'd been twice.

0:26:330:26:36

I don't think she wanted to admit it with her mama sitting there.

0:26:360:26:40

That she'd been there twice.

0:26:400:26:42

And I was like, "Why didn't you just do that to start with, Sarah?"

0:26:420:26:45

"Because I didn't want you to be ashamed of me, Mama.

0:26:450:26:47

"I didn't want to shame you."

0:26:470:26:49

After they came, it's just like day and night.

0:26:530:26:57

Everything just went black.

0:26:580:27:01

Every time we go to a bonfire or we go to,

0:27:050:27:07

any time we go anywhere, really,

0:27:070:27:09

like if I'm around a lot of people, somehow,

0:27:090:27:11

we all get brought up on Sarah conversation.

0:27:110:27:14

She had her whole life going.

0:27:150:27:17

She had everything that she wanted.

0:27:170:27:20

She finally found a guy that she really...

0:27:200:27:22

that really cared about her and who she really cared about.

0:27:220:27:25

Had a good job, and then it just all got, you know,

0:27:250:27:27

taken from her.

0:27:270:27:29

LAUGHTER

0:27:360:27:38

Sarah Adelia Graves and Shelblie Brooke Richards were riding in the

0:27:510:27:55

truck that ran over Anderson.

0:27:550:27:57

Four more people now face federal charges

0:27:570:27:59

for hate crimes stemming from...

0:27:590:28:00

Yesterday, Deryl Dedmon, John Rice and Dylan Butler

0:28:000:28:03

pleaded guilty to hate crime and conspiracy charges in federal court.

0:28:030:28:08

That's five down, five to go.

0:28:080:28:10

There's something about a case like this that sits with you for a while.

0:28:200:28:26

Because you see that there are still people who

0:28:260:28:30

have depraved intents.

0:28:300:28:33

They came to a place that they named Jafrica.

0:28:360:28:40

The combination of Jackson, Mississippi and Africa.

0:28:430:28:47

He would be somebody they would attack,

0:28:540:28:57

because he is just out here hanging on the corner.

0:28:570:29:00

They were looking for people had too much to drink.

0:29:000:29:03

They were just looking for stragglers who were by themselves,

0:29:030:29:07

in fact. They didn't know who they might be assaulting.

0:29:070:29:09

They just knew they saw some people walking alone.

0:29:090:29:12

I mean, I could've been out here walking.

0:29:130:29:16

SHOUTING

0:29:190:29:21

You all want to go join the party?

0:29:240:29:27

We're going over to my old neighbourhood.

0:29:270:29:30

This was called the North End,

0:29:300:29:32

and the North End was considered to be...

0:29:320:29:36

the roughest...

0:29:360:29:37

one of the roughest, if not the roughest part of Jackson.

0:29:370:29:41

And I grew up down here,

0:29:410:29:44

so I was accustomed to all of this that was going on down here.

0:29:440:29:48

My father was killed by five other persons

0:29:500:29:53

with whom he had entered an argument.

0:29:530:29:57

He was shot five different times.

0:29:570:30:00

We watched him take his last breaths.

0:30:000:30:03

The school I went to, my first grade was segregated, all the way up.

0:30:030:30:07

The racists said that if there was such a commingling,

0:30:080:30:12

then the black blood would contaminate the white blood.

0:30:120:30:16

We were held to be inferior.

0:30:190:30:21

We were held to be thieves and monsters,

0:30:220:30:28

and potential rapists.

0:30:280:30:30

Many times, I saw gangs of whites in cars,

0:30:320:30:35

driving through black neighbourhoods,

0:30:350:30:39

throwing bottles.

0:30:390:30:41

It was not unusual to find somebody dead on the street,

0:30:410:30:45

and so much has changed since then.

0:30:450:30:48

But, still, there are significant pockets of racists who wish to...

0:30:480:30:54

who wish for the old days,

0:30:540:30:58

who wish that integration had never happened in Mississippi,

0:30:580:31:03

who want to turn that clock back.

0:31:030:31:06

Sarah, she can't make the excuse that I was in the wrong place,

0:31:090:31:13

wrong time. She was in the place she wanted to be,

0:31:130:31:17

the time she wanted to be, to be the person she wanted to be.

0:31:170:31:21

She just didn't want to get caught.

0:31:210:31:23

They don't want to acknowledge they're racists,

0:31:250:31:27

but yet they have racist thoughts and do racist deeds.

0:31:270:31:30

You know, we have that saying, if it walks like a duck,

0:31:300:31:33

quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it's a duck.

0:31:330:31:36

You're a kid, you don't worry about things, though.

0:31:390:31:42

-This red one would be cute.

-Is this shirt cute?

-Beautiful.

0:31:420:31:45

Yeah, match something with your Converse, because those are cute.

0:31:450:31:50

This one's Sarah and this one's Shelbie.

0:31:500:31:53

"You're still the best friend I will ever have.

0:31:530:31:55

"Love her, miss this, fun."

0:31:550:31:58

If she was racist, she wouldn't be friends with black people.

0:31:580:32:00

Like, she wouldn't even want to talk to them.

0:32:000:32:02

She would be, like, you know, anti with them, you know, but she's not.

0:32:020:32:05

-Right.

-She literally...

0:32:050:32:07

-You know Jasper.

-I know, I know.

0:32:070:32:09

And Cameron. And Cameron.

0:32:090:32:10

But that's her friend,

0:32:100:32:13

I can't remember his name. I thought that was Jasper, but I'm not sure.

0:32:130:32:16

And that's my cousin Aaron and then Sarah.

0:32:160:32:18

That's her personal trainer that when she worked at the barbershop.

0:32:180:32:21

-He's black.

-Yeah.

0:32:210:32:23

I mean, why would she put something on Instagram saying that, I mean,

0:32:230:32:25

-if she didn't like black people?

-Exactly.

-Right.

0:32:250:32:28

-I mean, that's just dumb.

-That's proof right there.

0:32:280:32:30

Nobody around here is raised like that any more,

0:32:300:32:33

but they hold that from the past and you can't,

0:32:330:32:37

you have to let go of the past. You've got to look for the future.

0:32:370:32:40

If you stay in the past, you're going to live in the past.

0:32:400:32:43

That's Rocky Falls. That's where we always go swimming.

0:32:430:32:46

They took their case so far beyond, like,

0:32:460:32:49

they exaggerated so much on that.

0:32:490:32:51

And, like, I mean, they didn't see it how it really went.

0:32:510:32:54

I don't know. I just don't think that it was...

0:32:560:32:58

-Fair.

-..fair.

-The judge didn't give her a chance,

0:32:580:33:01

because the judge didn't care, because the judge had already made

0:33:010:33:04

-up his mind before he even went to that trial.

-Yeah.

0:33:040:33:07

This was a very difficult case for me.

0:33:210:33:24

When I sat across the table from her the first time,

0:33:260:33:29

I could have been sitting across the table from my daughter.

0:33:290:33:32

My daughter was that age.

0:33:320:33:33

My daughter looked a little bit like Sarah.

0:33:330:33:36

-Hey, Laura.

-HE LAUGHS

0:33:360:33:38

It's an adversarial system.

0:33:380:33:40

I mean, they are supposed to look at the facts in the light most

0:33:400:33:44

favourable to their theory.

0:33:440:33:47

And I'm supposed to do exactly the opposite.

0:33:470:33:51

I think her role was very limited,

0:33:510:33:55

but this would have been a difficult case to try in front of a jury,

0:33:550:34:00

because Sarah was present in the vehicle that ran over Mr Anderson.

0:34:000:34:06

Sarah goes to trial on her case, and loses in front of a jury,

0:34:060:34:10

and she could spend the rest of her life in prison.

0:34:100:34:13

They agreed to allow her to plead guilty to a conspiracy crime.

0:34:130:34:19

The guideline range might have caused her to serve...

0:34:190:34:24

12, 15 years.

0:34:240:34:27

The judge, when he took the guilty plea,

0:34:270:34:29

was limited to the five-year maximum sentence.

0:34:290:34:32

I have asked myself so many times, "why were you so afraid?

0:34:400:34:44

"Why were you so stupid? Why would you drink so much?"

0:34:440:34:47

And I still, to this day, have no answer for myself.

0:34:480:34:50

I would give anything to go back and fix that night.

0:34:520:34:56

I do want to say I'm not a racist, nor will I ever be.

0:34:560:34:59

We are all God's children and we all bleed red.

0:34:590:35:02

-VOICE BREAKING:

-I am so sorry for your loss.

0:35:030:35:06

Near the very end of the case,

0:35:140:35:17

her friend Shelbie made a statement that we had never heard before,

0:35:170:35:22

that Sarah had encouraged Dedmon's actions.

0:35:220:35:27

It's almost right here, the initial assault takes place.

0:35:300:35:35

Mr Anderson was struck in the face, unprovoked, knocked to the ground.

0:35:350:35:40

Someone yelled out white power, raised fist in the air.

0:35:400:35:44

Shelbie and Sarah began to taunt Dedmon,

0:35:450:35:49

encouraging him to strike Mr Anderson.

0:35:490:35:53

Dedmon actually runs over him.

0:35:540:35:56

That while Dedmon stepped on the pedal,

0:35:580:36:01

drove a vehicle over Mr Anderson...

0:36:010:36:03

..he did so with the full encouragement, support

0:36:040:36:08

and enticing of those two girls,

0:36:080:36:11

Shelbie and Sarah, who were in the vehicle with him.

0:36:110:36:14

I felt confident in being able to prove

0:36:170:36:21

that Sarah did not tell Dedmon to run over Anderson.

0:36:210:36:25

The other witnesses tried to, late in the game,

0:36:270:36:32

say incriminating things about Sarah, in order to help themselves.

0:36:320:36:36

When Dedmon drove the truck...

0:36:400:36:43

..and ran over Anderson,

0:36:430:36:46

one might say he had to be the leader.

0:36:460:36:51

But on the other hand,

0:36:510:36:52

the evidence said that there were two girls in the truck,

0:36:520:36:56

and they encouraged him to run over Anderson.

0:36:560:37:00

So the question is, but for their encouragement,

0:37:010:37:04

would he have run over Anderson?

0:37:040:37:06

What makes a racist?

0:37:110:37:14

What makes a racist? Influences, surroundings, environment.

0:37:140:37:18

I called the mother to the stand.

0:37:200:37:23

She had no idea I was going to call her to testify as a witness.

0:37:230:37:27

I was so nervous and I didn't want to say the wrong thing,

0:37:270:37:30

because I didn't know she'd get in more trouble.

0:37:300:37:34

I questioned her about her racial views,

0:37:340:37:38

and how is it that her daughter could end up

0:37:380:37:41

with this posse of villains.

0:37:410:37:44

Is the defence's mother here?

0:37:510:37:52

Is Miss Graves's mother here? Would she please come forward?

0:37:520:37:55

OK, so you need one egg.

0:37:550:37:58

-OK.

-And one and a half cups of butter.

0:37:580:38:02

Butter or oil? Butter? OK.

0:38:020:38:06

Whenever he was asking about Sarah's education, you know,

0:38:060:38:09

why did I put her in an all-white school?

0:38:090:38:13

I said, "It wasn't an all-white school, it was a Christian academy."

0:38:130:38:17

It'll probably be better if you hold it over the bowl.

0:38:170:38:20

I have some questions for you.

0:38:230:38:25

You made a comment here that your daughter's not a racist,

0:38:250:38:29

that she was not raised that way.

0:38:290:38:31

No, sir, she was not.

0:38:310:38:32

That's a comment...

0:38:340:38:35

..that would seem to question some of the things

0:38:370:38:39

you put in your letter.

0:38:390:38:41

Your daughter wrote a statement, it was a really terrible statement.

0:38:410:38:44

And it was taken as being racial.

0:38:460:38:50

And it said that my daughter had wrote and said something that,

0:38:500:38:55

I made a comment that we don't live like niggers.

0:38:550:38:58

Niggers to us means nasty, negro means black.

0:38:580:39:01

So... And that's just what I said, you know.

0:39:010:39:05

I heard it when I was growing up.

0:39:050:39:08

And my mom didn't mean nothing racial about it,

0:39:080:39:11

I didn't mean nothing racial about it,

0:39:110:39:13

but he took it into context and made it racial.

0:39:130:39:16

I don't know why it's so much about race, on Sarah's behalf, honestly,

0:39:170:39:22

because Sarah's not racist.

0:39:220:39:24

That's just the way I feel about it.

0:39:240:39:25

I raised my kids right.

0:39:270:39:29

The judge was rude!

0:39:310:39:33

I watched Momma squirm.

0:39:380:39:41

And I had set her up that way, just to see what would happen.

0:39:410:39:44

Graves vows that her mother often told her and her brother

0:39:470:39:52

they were, quote, "Living like niggers", unquote,

0:39:520:39:58

when they didn't clean their rooms.

0:39:580:39:59

Did you know that your daughter made a comment like that?

0:40:040:40:07

I don't like the way that he put my family out there

0:40:290:40:31

and made it seem like we were just all these monsters, and we're not.

0:40:310:40:35

He treated my mom like she was a killer or something.

0:40:350:40:38

My mom wasn't even there.

0:40:380:40:40

He knows what nigger means in the dictionary,

0:40:400:40:43

and if anybody uses their brain and actually thinks about it,

0:40:430:40:46

they all know what nigger means. It does not mean a black person.

0:40:460:40:51

She meant it literally as, your room's a mess.

0:40:510:40:54

Not, you live like a black person.

0:40:540:40:57

The history of Mississippi and all the slavery

0:40:570:40:59

and all that kind of stuff does have a big, big thing to do

0:40:590:41:03

with the case that she has right now.

0:41:030:41:05

A lot of the blacks around these times now...

0:41:060:41:11

..they live in the past,

0:41:120:41:15

it's something that their ancestors and their family

0:41:150:41:18

from years and years and years ago had to go through.

0:41:180:41:21

Nobody is trying to, you know,

0:41:210:41:24

slave anybody the way it was back then.

0:41:240:41:28

And it's just, like, they can't let it go.

0:41:280:41:30

They can't just move on from it.

0:41:300:41:32

Martin Luther King fixed all that stuff.

0:41:320:41:34

I do think a little bit of it had to do with racism,

0:41:370:41:39

because, you know, the people that he was in front of,

0:41:390:41:43

the people that were in front of him were white.

0:41:430:41:46

And the people that got hurt and on the other side were the blacks.

0:41:460:41:50

I think a lot of people felt the judge was racist.

0:42:000:42:03

Just by the way he picked on things I've said.

0:42:030:42:08

I didn't know if you call it racism or you just call it being unfair

0:42:090:42:12

and just not giving a shit.

0:42:120:42:15

I don't think he cared about him,

0:42:150:42:16

I think he just wanted him to go to prison and be done with it.

0:42:160:42:19

And I think he should be taken off the bench, honestly,

0:42:200:42:24

because I don't think he's fair.

0:42:240:42:25

I was having to deal with a black judge

0:42:270:42:30

who was showing racial hatred towards white defendants.

0:42:300:42:35

He was being a racist.

0:42:350:42:36

Everybody's racist.

0:42:380:42:41

I'm convinced of that.

0:42:410:42:42

Sometimes they know it, sometimes they don't know it.

0:42:440:42:47

If it had been personal, I would have felt compelled to recuse.

0:42:490:42:55

Because then, that aspect of the crime,

0:42:550:42:59

might have some effect upon the sentencing.

0:42:590:43:03

And I certainly wouldn't want to do that.

0:43:030:43:05

I want to be as impartial as possible.

0:43:050:43:08

Miss Graves?

0:43:100:43:13

If the prosecution had known upfront

0:43:130:43:19

that you had encouraged Dedmon to run over Anderson,

0:43:190:43:22

you would have been in jeopardy

0:43:220:43:25

of a sentence of life without parole.

0:43:250:43:29

I don't understand it.

0:43:400:43:42

If a white kills a black it's...

0:43:420:43:44

..racist, hate crime,

0:43:450:43:48

but what's the difference between a black kid and a white person?

0:43:480:43:52

It's just murder.

0:43:520:43:55

They don't have no racist when it comes to a black killing a white.

0:43:550:44:01

That's not right.

0:44:010:44:02

At least, I don't feel like it's right.

0:44:040:44:06

Maybe I'm just getting old.

0:44:060:44:08

I feel like the whites are getting lazy

0:44:170:44:19

and the blacks are getting more educated,

0:44:190:44:21

because the government pays for the blacks to go to school.

0:44:210:44:26

Everywhere you look, they're the ones who's running business

0:44:270:44:31

and stuff like that, not the whites.

0:44:310:44:34

It's like it's done a turnaround.

0:44:340:44:37

Most stores you go into,

0:44:370:44:40

the managers and CEOs and all that, they're all blacks, not whites.

0:44:400:44:46

They're the more or less, what do you call it, common labourer.

0:44:460:44:50

They work for them now.

0:44:500:44:53

And when I was growing up,

0:44:530:44:54

it was the whites that were the CEOs or presidents

0:44:540:44:58

and stuff of business, and the blacks worked for them.

0:44:580:45:01

Now it's just completely reversed.

0:45:010:45:04

And you see it every day.

0:45:040:45:06

Hey, Mawmaw.

0:45:110:45:13

What's wrong?

0:45:140:45:16

No-one comes here a racist.

0:45:170:45:20

We all come here, as they say in philosophy, a tabula rasa.

0:45:200:45:24

We come here with a clean chart,

0:45:240:45:27

to be written on by the influences in our lives.

0:45:270:45:32

You should stop crying, she'll be OK.

0:45:340:45:36

I know, darling.

0:45:360:45:37

Mawmaw just gets upset every now and then when she thinks about Sarah.

0:45:370:45:43

Well, don't think about her.

0:45:430:45:44

I know who Sarah is.

0:45:470:45:49

And I know that... And I know that none of this...

0:45:490:45:53

She's not like the way they're putting her out there,

0:45:540:45:57

she's not anything like it.

0:45:570:45:59

The media can say what they want to say,

0:45:590:46:01

but they don't know her like I do.

0:46:010:46:03

I go to Jackson all the time. But not that part.

0:46:210:46:24

This is the bad part of Jackson.

0:46:280:46:30

It's very dangerous. I hate being here.

0:46:300:46:32

People get shot around here and hurt and robbed.

0:46:340:46:38

There's lots of drug dealers and stuff round here.

0:46:380:46:41

The roads are awful, nobody can drive.

0:46:410:46:45

Creepy, everything looks creepy.

0:46:450:46:47

So, why was your sister here?

0:46:520:46:55

She wasn't driving.

0:46:570:46:58

They took her here.

0:47:010:47:03

This is the hotel.

0:47:040:47:06

This is where it happened, right on this kerb, right here.

0:47:080:47:12

I know one thing - she tried to get in the driver's seat and leave -

0:47:120:47:15

and when she was going over the back seat to get in the driver's seat

0:47:150:47:18

to leave, like, the same, like, not to be here...

0:47:180:47:21

..Deryl Dedmon got back in the driver's seat and took out,

0:47:230:47:26

and when he took out, that guy was, like, trying to wave him back down,

0:47:260:47:29

and got out the truck and hit him.

0:47:290:47:31

I don't know whether he... I think he hit him on purpose,

0:47:310:47:34

but I'm not too positive about it.

0:47:340:47:36

But I do wish that Sarah would have got in that truck

0:47:360:47:38

like she was going to do and just leave that dude here.

0:47:380:47:41

She should have just left that dude here for him to be dealt with,

0:47:410:47:45

and possibly that man wouldn't have died.

0:47:450:47:47

I don't like not having an exit.

0:47:500:47:52

I don't like not being able to get out if I need to.

0:47:520:47:55

I feel trapped.

0:47:550:47:57

I really don't want to do this.

0:47:580:48:00

Can we go?

0:48:000:48:02

Oh, my God, there's that guy.

0:48:030:48:05

Why would he want me to stop?

0:48:050:48:07

Honestly. What does he have to do with me?

0:48:070:48:10

A cigarette? I'm not giving him one.

0:48:100:48:12

That dude is cracked out.

0:48:120:48:14

That's why I do not come here.

0:48:140:48:16

SHE SIGHS

0:48:160:48:18

My heart is racing right now, I'm just freaking the fuck out.

0:48:180:48:22

Does it feel bad, being here, does it feel awkward?

0:48:220:48:25

Yeah.

0:48:250:48:27

I just want to know why the fuck my sister was here.

0:48:280:48:31

That's what I want to know. I want to know why they were here.

0:48:310:48:34

Why would you come here?

0:48:340:48:35

In this place.

0:48:350:48:36

Like...

0:48:380:48:40

Who the hell would want to come here? Honestly?

0:48:400:48:42

This just looks so dangerous.

0:48:420:48:44

DOG BARKS

0:49:020:49:03

Hush!

0:49:030:49:05

-RECORDED MESSAGE:

-This call is being recorded

0:49:080:49:10

and is subject to monitoring.

0:49:100:49:12

-Hello.

-Hello.

0:49:120:49:13

How are you?

0:49:150:49:17

Quit looking at me like that!

0:49:170:49:20

-I'm sorry!

-Can you speak like normal?

0:49:200:49:22

I am!

0:49:220:49:24

-You're not!

-I am.

0:49:240:49:25

I'm just...

0:49:250:49:27

Anyway, I pretty much just want to talk to you about, like,

0:49:270:49:32

how everything happened, and stuff.

0:49:320:49:34

Um, why did y'all go to Jackson?

0:49:340:49:38

So, you didn't know that he was in Jackson to hurt just black people,

0:49:580:50:01

did you?

0:50:010:50:02

And they called it Jafrica?

0:50:140:50:16

It's OK.

0:50:180:50:20

But you didn't.

0:50:540:50:55

Well, you shouldn't feel like that, Sarah,

0:51:020:51:05

because you weren't the one driving,

0:51:050:51:07

and Deryl took that man's life, not you.

0:51:070:51:10

Not anybody else but Deryl.

0:51:100:51:13

God knows that. That's all that matters.

0:51:130:51:15

Is there anything you want me to ask Judge Wingate?

0:51:300:51:33

I wanted to take your pictures, but I wanted to put names on them,

0:51:330:51:36

to where I would know who they are.

0:51:360:51:38

Some of them I know. This is Latosha, I know Barbie.

0:51:380:51:42

Who's the black girl that you took, like, three pictures with?

0:51:420:51:45

Y'all doing a little kissy.

0:51:450:51:47

Oh, that's Paris.

0:51:470:51:49

-Paris?

-Yeah, her real name's Sheena.

0:51:490:51:51

OK.

0:51:510:51:53

There's no way she could be racist.

0:51:550:51:57

I want to show him these pictures of her friends.

0:51:570:52:00

Half of them are black.

0:52:000:52:01

You know, Judge Wingate, if she's racist,

0:52:010:52:04

then why isn't she showing it in prison?

0:52:040:52:07

I'm just picking out her roommates.

0:52:180:52:21

That's her roommate.

0:52:210:52:22

Hello. How are you doing? Good to see you.

0:52:220:52:24

-This is our granddaughter Taylor. We raise her.

-Hello, granddaughter.

0:52:240:52:27

-Hey.

-How are you doing?

0:52:270:52:29

-Good.

-You know how to open up court? Say, "All rise."

0:52:290:52:33

All rise.

0:52:330:52:35

No, no, no. Say it with some meaning. Say, "All rise!"

0:52:350:52:38

-All rise.

-You're doing great. Now see, that's all you had to do.

0:52:380:52:42

Please, y'all, have a seat. Have a seat.

0:52:420:52:44

You had said that you had wanted to talk to me.

0:52:440:52:47

-Yes, sir, I did.

-All right.

0:52:470:52:50

And I wanted you to come and talk to me, if you did.

0:52:500:52:53

Yes, sir. I wanted to show you some pictures of her friends.

0:52:530:52:56

Her roommate.

0:52:560:52:58

Oh, this is a lovely picture.

0:52:580:53:00

Now, what about these right here. Are those hers?

0:53:110:53:13

Those are all the girls that were graduating and were her friends.

0:53:130:53:16

-This is Miss Latosha. She's her roomie.

-Mm-hm.

0:53:160:53:19

And she looked over and she was like a mama to her.

0:53:190:53:22

-If you don't want...

-You say that she used to barber?

0:53:220:53:24

-She is trained.

-Mm-hm. She's trained to do that?

0:53:240:53:26

She can cut anybody's hair. Her books are maxed out.

0:53:260:53:29

I don't want to use a phrase because of racist, but I'm going to say it.

0:53:290:53:33

-Mm-hm.

-It's the blacks that are knocking her door down.

0:53:330:53:35

-I can understand that.

-Who fixed your hair?

0:53:350:53:37

Who cut your hair?

0:53:370:53:39

I know that the scenario in the courtroom was probably

0:53:390:53:42

embarrassing to you. Do you want to talk about that at all?

0:53:420:53:46

That we don't live like niggers?

0:53:460:53:48

-That's right.

-Yes sir, I'll talk about that.

0:53:480:53:50

And...and...and...

0:53:500:53:53

That wasn't a racial slur, by any means.

0:53:530:53:55

-It wasn't?

-It wasn't meant like that.

0:53:550:53:58

I was told that negro means black,

0:53:580:54:01

nigger means nasty.

0:54:010:54:02

I didn't always say that phrase.

0:54:020:54:04

-Lot of times I say...

-But why that word?

-I can't answer.

0:54:040:54:08

But you know the gravity of words like that.

0:54:080:54:11

-I do.

-You know the kind of image...

-And I know it was a mistake.

0:54:110:54:14

..that it provides.

0:54:140:54:16

I mean, when you did it, did anything grow, you know,

0:54:160:54:19

sort of crawl across your mind and say, "I shouldn't have said that.

0:54:190:54:23

"What effect is it having on my daughter?"

0:54:230:54:26

I used anger when I did it, actually.

0:54:260:54:29

-Well, still...

-Because I was mad, because her room was dirty.

0:54:290:54:31

But why THAT? You see?

0:54:310:54:33

-Why that?

-Because that's what I heard growing up, honestly.

0:54:330:54:35

That's what I'm saying. So are we going to continue it?

0:54:350:54:38

-No.

-So we're cutting that off right now.

0:54:380:54:40

-Yes, sir.

-And so that's not happening any more.

0:54:400:54:42

She's never heard me say it.

0:54:420:54:44

That's right. Because that's my buddy.

0:54:440:54:46

That's my buddy. I've got to get her a little robe and get her together.

0:54:460:54:50

What do we do now to show that we are not being held hostage

0:54:500:54:55

by any past biases or prejudices?

0:54:550:54:59

Because it's going to be important,

0:54:590:55:01

not just for your societal relationships,

0:55:010:55:04

but my little judge right there.

0:55:040:55:07

What are we going to do to ensure

0:55:070:55:10

that she doesn't have not one iota

0:55:100:55:14

of any such bias, intended or unintended?

0:55:140:55:18

Thank you all so much.

0:55:210:55:22

I really enjoyed talking to you all.

0:55:220:55:24

I really did. I enjoyed talking to you.

0:55:240:55:27

It's Geezy. She's called you eight times.

0:55:320:55:34

-RECORDED MESSAGE:

-This call is from a federal prison.

0:55:340:55:37

We just walked out of the courthouse.

0:55:370:55:39

Talking to the judge.

0:55:430:55:45

And he's very nice, Sarah.

0:55:450:55:47

Well, I am very happy, actually.

0:55:500:55:53

But it didn't make me look very good as a mother...

0:55:530:55:56

of a racist situation.

0:55:560:55:58

I told him that.

0:56:030:56:04

He wanted me to see the impact that it carried from me to you,

0:56:040:56:08

and he didn't want to see it passed on to Taylor.

0:56:080:56:11

I see where he is coming from and I said, "Yes, sir,

0:56:110:56:14

"I was wrong and I'm sorry.

0:56:140:56:16

"I'm truly sorry." And he appreciated that.

0:56:160:56:20

But I do believe this is a positive thing tonight.

0:56:200:56:24

I said we'll try and do better,

0:56:240:56:26

you know, and...

0:56:260:56:28

..we take responsibility for things we say and do,

0:56:280:56:32

you know, even if it's 15 or 20 years down the road.

0:56:320:56:35

You know? You have to set a good example,

0:56:370:56:40

because if I wouldn't have said something to you like that,

0:56:400:56:43

you would have never thought of saying it, Sarah.

0:56:430:56:45

And my momma said it to me.

0:56:450:56:48

I know I'm not the only person or parent that's said it, but...

0:56:540:56:57

..unfortunately...I did say it.

0:57:000:57:03

And it stuck in your head, and it hurts you.

0:57:050:57:08

Hello, Craig, how are you doing?

0:57:380:57:40

Well, Thanksgiving coming up.

0:57:410:57:44

Another year without you.

0:57:470:57:49

Get you a new flower arrangement.

0:57:530:57:55

Get you one for Thanksgiving.

0:57:570:57:58

Get you one for Christmas.

0:58:000:58:02

You OK?

0:58:060:58:07

Yeah, I'm good.

0:58:070:58:10

Craig would be proud of you.

0:58:100:58:12

Of all you accomplished, with Demeris,

0:58:130:58:17

and, you know, just putting your life back together.

0:58:170:58:21

Yeah. I think he would be, too.

0:58:210:58:24

It takes a strong man to do that.

0:58:240:58:28

Some time it's a lot,

0:58:280:58:30

but...

0:58:300:58:31

When a black man is murdered in Jackson, Mississippi, an FBI investigation uncovers a campaign of attacks by local white kids. But what is the true role of one 18-year-old girl?

When James Anderson was run down in the street by a gang of white youths, it was condemned as a modern-day lynching, a sign that the old race hate of the southern states was as strong as ever. This is the story of one of the white teenagers, Sarah Graves, then 18, who was in the truck that ran Anderson down. The film follows her family as they try to come to terms with what happened that night and looks at why Sarah became part of a gang that carried out a racist attack.

The story is also told by James's family, the police and the African-American judge who tried to get to the truth of what Sarah's involvement was. This is a film about the nature of prejudice and whether one person's role in a dreadful murder can be traced to the influences around them.

James was alone in a hotel car park when two trucks carrying a group of white teenagers pulled up. They were from the white-flight suburbs that surround Jackson, the 80-per-cent-black capital city of Mississippi. A couple of the boys beat James to the ground and stole his wallet. James staggered away. An eyewitness heard a shouted racial slur and then saw a green dodge truck run him down. CCTV recorded the moment the truck struck him and then ran over his body.

Police picked up the teenagers later that night, still drunk and still joking about what they had done - all apart from Sarah Graves, who seemed full of remorse. The police thought this girl was probably in the wrong place at the wrong time. The driver was charged with murder, but Sarah was not charged and released.

Protests marches in Jackson demanded greater police action and more charges. In the suburbs where the white gang came from, people portrayed them as drunk and foolish teenagers who had made a terrible mistake. But an investigation by the FBI was to find something more sinister. This was not the only time the teenagers had made a late-night trip to what they called Jafrica. It was actually just the latest in a series of vicious racially motivated attacks they had carried out.

The subsequent investigation saw ten youths sent to jail, including Sarah. The film explores what the role of Sarah really was that night. It culminates with her mother Mary meeting Judge Wingate, who sent Sarah to jail and who humbled Mary in court by questioning why she had used racial slurs when raising her daughter. It is a meeting that will change Mary's view of her own responsibility for what happened that night.

This film from director Ben Steele and executive producer Darren Kemp is ultimately about the nature of prejudice and how one person's role in a dreadful murder can be traced to the influences around them.


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