"Most Powerful Pages on the Planet"
November 9, 2008
Volume 1 - No.27
Darwin Campbell, Executive Publisher
A Bi-Weekly Publication
Paris Rally Spotlights HATE CRIME Puts Racism/Justice on Trial
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
PARIS - Civil Rights history is rich with the kind of “Yes We Can” civil disobedience that leads to change.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Congressman John Lewis, the Little Rock Nine, the Edmund Pettis Bridge marchers and lunch counter sit-in students all protested injustices, declared their stands for justice and Civil Rights and made clear statements against injustice and racism.
The dragging death of Brandon McClelland and Lamar County injustice is just one more historical fight for activists standing up, being counted and sending a strong message Nov. 17th at a justice rally supporting the McClelland family.
Thousands are expected to attend the massive rally at the Lamar County Courthouse in ParisTexas at 12 noon. A town hall meeting will follow the gathering at the Kingdom Harvest Full Gospel Baptist Church at 210 Bonham St. in Paris.
Those scheduled to appear include the renowned Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III, senior pastor of Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas; Dr. Michael Bell, Pastor of Greater St. Stephen First Baptist Church and long-time leader of the Tarrant County Local Organizing Committee (LOC); the Rev. Fred Stovall III, pastor of Kingdom Harvest Full Gospel Baptist Church; Civil Rights Attorney Daryl Washington; and Olinka Green of The New Black Panther Party to name a few.
“This issue is not Black or White,” Washington, who is now attorney for the McClellands said. “It is about right versus evil and wrong. We want to stop what is going on in Lamar County from going on.”
Washington is a partner with Shackelford, Melton & McKinley, LLP. His experience includes representing clients in a variety of commercial and general litigation matters, civil right law, settlement negotiations, depositions, mediations, contract and business practice disputes, and other matters involving complex and unique issues.
Brandon McClelland is the second African-American Texan that has allegedly been murdered in a James Byrd-like fashion by White men who claimed to be his friends... This year marked the 10the anniversary of Byrd’s death
The men allegedly ran down McClellan and left his body on a dark road mutilated and dismembered and abandoned.
According to reports, McClelland was allegedly walking in front of the pickup when Shannon Finley, 27, and a friend, Charles Ryan Crostley, 27, allegedly ran him down and then dragged him 40 feet along the road until his mutilated body popped out from beneath the chassis.
Finley has a criminal past, including serving time in prison for crimes involving a firearm. In 1998, James Byrd Jr. was dragged to death by three White men in Jasper, Texas.
Brenda Cherry, activist and leader of Concerned Citizens for Racial Equality, does not want any to forget the heinous and cruel nature of this crime.
“It was a brutal dragging death and Brandon McClelland was left on the side of the road like an animal with pieces of his body still left at the crime scene 2 weeks later,” Cherry said. “Imagine a mother being able to go to the scene where her child was brutally murdered and be able to bend down and pick up a piece of her child’s skull. All this mother has asked for is justice for her son.”
Allan Hubbard of the Lamar County District Attorney’s Office has suggested that comparing the heinous act to Byrd or trying the case as a hate crime is “preposterous” to the county’s top “law enforcers”.
Some feel clearly that the Lamar County District Attorney’s Office is protecting Paris racist past and keeping it alive today by intimidating and attacking Black people using the criminal justice system and the court’s power.
“The two men involved in this case are a danger to society and must not be allowed to walk around free, Washington said. “We will be there to ensure that the law in carried out and the process is transparent.”
Like Washington, family, friends and members of the New Black Panther Party, the NAACP and the Nation of Islam and a Christian minister have vowed to raise support for the family and do promise a tireless freedom fight that will not end until justice is fairly and equally administered, achieved and applied to every citizen living in the county.
No one has been more impacted by Brandon’s loss than his ill mother, Jacqueline McClelland and disabled grandmother. She lost her only son and the family’s first male grandson in this vicious and vile act by Finley and Crostley.
To his family, he was a young man known for his respectful disposition and for spending a great deal of time at home cooking doing chores around the house, helping his disabled grandmother and mentoring his nephews in the home.
At 24, McClelland had dreams getting into truck driving school and taking to the road to pursue the kind of income he hoped would lift his family up and away from the brink of poverty.
Brandon’s death has opened new wounds and left deep scars and many unanswered questions about why in 2008, do African-Americans still have to live with the threat of racism and hate that continues to permeate and bubble up in people, neighborhoods and communities across Texas and the country.
Since that fateful day of Brandon’s demise, several activists and groups have stepped up with a special fund set up to help the family with expenses.
“He was that one flower in my heart,” said Jaqueline McClelland, Brandon’s mother who also suffers from heart problems. “This was cold-hearted. We are thankful to God for everyone helping us through this. We just want justice because his life was taken from us for no reason.”
Also, Washington has stepped forward to offer legal help to the family that has been under pressure and intimidated by some Lamar County officials who are trying to use their influence to squelch justice and quiet the outrage and cry for Brandon’s murder to be declared and tried as a hate crime.
“This family has had to endure quite a bit,” Washington said. “We are involved because we understand there is not a lot of faith and confidence in the justice system in Lamar County. We want to help this family and work to help instill confidence in the legal process and see justice done in this case.”
ATTEND THE PARIS RALLY!!!
“YES YOU CAN” HELP / YES YOU CAN” MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!
Donations for this family can be sent to:
Bank of America
1161 Clarksville St.
Note contribution is for: Jacquline McClelland