Civil rights attorneys are advocating for harsher charges to be brought against two white men arrested on suspicion of chasing and shooting at a Black FedEx driver in Mississippi. Brandon Case and his father, Gregory Case, were arrested last Tuesday and released the same day on bond, The Associated Press reported. They face charges of shooting into a vehicle and conspiracy stemming from an incident on Jan. 24 in Brookhaven, which is about 56 miles south of Jackson.
"This is eerily similar to Ahmaud Arbery's killing," civil rights attorney Ben Crump tweeted on Monday. "They need to be charged w/ hate crimes & we need an investigation into their disturbing actions!”
Arbery was shot and killed after three white men accused him of trespassing onto the property of a home under construction in South Georgia. The men—Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan—were convicted of murdering Arbery when they cornered him, and Travis fired two shots from a shotgun at the 25-year-old Black man.
D’Monterrio Gibson told the Mississippi Free Press he wasn’t injured but that several shots were fired into his delivery van. He said he spotted a white pickup truck heading toward him from a residential area and initially thought it might be en route to a store, but the driver started to honk as the truck got closer to Gibson.
“I proceed to leave the driveway. As I’m leaving the driveway, he starts driving in the grass, trying to cut me off," Gibson told the journalism nonprofit. "My instincts kick in, I swerve around him, and I start hitting the gas trying to get out of the neighborhood because I don’t know what his intentions are."
Gibson said he kept driving and, about three houses down, saw another man standing in the street. He was pointing a gun at his window and mouthing the word 'stop.'
"I shake my head no," Gibson said. "I hide behind the steering wheel, and I swerve around him, as well. As I swerve around him, he starts firing shots into my vehicle.”
Gibson said as he drove away from the shooter his manager called and, after learning what had happened, told him to come back to the station as soon as possible. “I just went as fast as I could. He chased me all the way to the interstate,” Gibson said. He later learned from a dispatcher that he had gotten a suspicious person call from the address Gibson retreated from. "I was like, ‘Sir, I’m not a suspicious person, I work for FedEx. I was just doing my job,’" Gibson said.
Attorney Carlos Moore, who is representing Gibson, described bullet holes in the back of Gibson's van and in packages in an interview with the Mississippi Free Press. The attorney said he plans to request an investigation from the FBI and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations. He is seeking federal prosecution as a hate crime and attempted murder charges. “I want both of them charged with attempted murder,” Moore told The Associated Press on Friday.
Brookhaven police chief Kenny Collins, a Black man, seemed to focus his attention on social media responses to the alleged attack in an interview with The Daily Leader. “We’re not going to have outsiders coming in trying to stir that up,” he said. “Brookhaven is not a racist, prejudiced town. You can’t judge a town by the actions of two individuals.”
“People need to be careful what they post on social media,” Collins added. “If somebody is killed or hurt because of what you post on social media, you will be charged, too.”
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