"Most Powerful Pages on The Planet"
October 16, 2008
Volume 1 - No.23
Darwin Campbell, Executive Publisher
A Bi-Weekly Publication
A HATE Crime is a HATE Crime!!!
Paris-What Really Happened to Brandon McClelland?
Paris, Texas – In 1998, the dragging death of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas awakened very real wounds and sentiments among African-Americans that racism in Texas is not dead.
Now, Black voices cry out in unison for truth and justice and honesty about what really happened to Brandon McClelland.
Despite the national cry for justice, healing and ending racism behind Byrd’s death, that message seems to be muted in Paris, Texas, where McClelland, a second African-American Texan, has allegedly been murdered in a James Byrd-like fashion by a White men with ties to an alleged White supremacists group.
The men allegedly ran down McClelland and left his body on a dark road mutilated and dismembered and abandoned.
“This case is Jasper, Texas revisited,” said Paris activist Brenda Cherry. “We want justice. This is a hate crime and it will not be over until the truth is out and justice is served.”
McClelland's body was found on a quiet Texas farm road during the early morning hours on Sept. 16.
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.
At first, investigators reported it as a possible hit and run accident, but later determined his body had been dragged by a vehicle. Both men have been arrested for the crime and are being held in the case.
Crostley and Finley have lengthy criminal histories. Finley also has served prison time in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice on a manslaughter conviction.
The Texas Rangers and Texas Department of Public Safety remain in charge of the McClellan investigation.
Cherry and members of the New Black Panther Party are demanding justice and are working independently to press officials for facts and ensure the case is not covered up.
Paris officials have been hinting at not wanting to try the case as a hate crime, but with evidence so graphic and gruesome, it is unconscionable to think that Lamar County District Attorney Gary Young would not try the case any other way.
Young needs to take a stand and tell the real truth and send a strong message that racism will not be tolerated in Lamar County.
The staggering truth is how similar the McClellan case is to Byrd's case.
In 1998, Byrd, 49, accepted a ride from three men named Shawn Allen Berry, Lawrence Russell Brewer and John William King.
He knew at least one of the men. Instead of taking him home, the three men beat Byrd behind a convenience store, chained him by the ankles to their pickup truck, stripped him naked and dragged him three miles.
Byrd's limbs were scattered across a very little-used road and police later found 75 places littered with Byrd's remains. Brewer and King were sentenced to death. Berry received life in prison.
“This new crime is being covered up. It is definitely another James Byrd Jr. of Jasper, Texas Hate Crime,” said longtime Texas activist and award winning film maker Ricky Jason. “I feel hate is real and still alive in Texas.”
Jason, whose notable national activism includes work with Activist Dick Gregory and Martin Luther King III, wrote and directed the award-winning documentary, “The Life and Death of James Byrd.” The documentary shares the human side of James Byrd’s life and reports the horror story of hate crimes and its negative effects of racism on families, lives, communities and the nation.
African-Americans are tire of being patronized on racism and tormented, intimidated and not afforded fair and equal justice.
Those who loved Brandon are victims that have been denied the love, time and support of a 24-year old son who was not known as a troublemaker and loved life.
His life has been taken from us and his talents and contributions to the African-American history and heritage denied.
McClelland is one more African-American on that long list of lynching and murder in American history.
Jason said McClelland’s tragic death is his worst nightmare and a tragic repeat of Byrd and proves that racists in Texas are still rebellious and learned absolutely nothing from efforts to work to heal long standing historical wounds that have lasted over 300 years from slavery to freedom that saw thousands of African-Americans intimidated, murdered and lynched with the blessing of the legal system, justice system and local government, law enforcement and elected officials.
Truth, honesty and justice is what African-Americans want in this case and the time is now for officials in Paris have the courage to step up and make their strongest statement against racism ever
The facts are Brandon McClelland is dead and died allegedly at the hands of a man or men who had little regard or respect for Blacks or the sanctity of human life and who could have cared less about the lessons and pain caused by the dragging of James Byrd.
The facts are officials and investigators in Paris are attempting to save face by covering up the real truth about the case and watering down the facts about the crime to the media to hold down the African-American rage.
McClelland was murdered and that killing was a hate crime and once again confirms the fact that racism is alive and well in Texas and especially continues to grow in Paris.
“I worked on the Byrd film for nine years,” Jason said. “It (Byrd) was a hate crime and I prayed God at that time that I would never have to see, hear or film nothing like that ever again. Unfortunately, here we go again.”