Mississippi has earned its reputation for being one of the most racist and backward states in America. This is the state where six cops recently pleaded guilty to torturing and sexually assaulting two Black men after a white neighbor called to complain that the victims were living with a white woman. The state’s justice system is overseen by an attorney general who asked an appeals court to set free a former Jackson detective who, in 2019, was convicted of culpable negligence manslaughter for beating to death a 62-year-old Black man. It’s a state where criminal complaints against cops who brutalize Black people typically go to die. (Although to be fair, that’s pretty much any state where Black people live.)
Mississippi is also the state where two white men shot at a Black FedEx driver after attempting to block him in while he was doing his job.
Yes, it still appears to be Emmett Till‘s Mississippi.
According to the Associated Press, a mostly-white jury will preside over the case where Brandon Case and his father, Gregory Charles Case, are charged with attempted first-degree murder, conspiracy and shooting into the vehicle driven by D’Monterrio Gibson in January 2022.
As we previously reported, Gibson, 25, said he was making deliveries in Brookhaven on Jan. 24, while wearing his FedEx uniform when Gregory began following him in his pickup truck and then attempting to block him from leaving. Gibson, who was in a Hertz rental van rather than a FedEx truck for whatever reason, continued to drive until he encountered another white man, Brandon, who was allegedly standing in the street, pointing a gun at him and demanding he stop. Gibson kept driving—likely because the situation was giving major “try existing while Black in a small town” vibes—so Brandon allegedly started firing shots into Gibson’s vehicle.
The trial began Tuesday and both District Attorney Dee Bates Gregory Case’s attorney, Terrell Stubbs, gave their opening statements before the jury, which, again, is mostly Caucasian—and certainly, you all understand why that matters.
Stubbs told jurors that his client saw a van outside his mother-in-law’s home and went to see what was going on, because, apparently, a man in a truck dropping off a package isn’t a sight that explains itself. Gregory wanted Gibson to stop and Gibson didn’t comply with the demands of a random white man who is not a police officer, and somehow that justified lethal action, apparently.
“It was completely dark, completely dark, and somebody was in the wrong place,” Stubbs said. “It wasn’t my client.”
If one didn’t know any better, it might almost sound like Stubbs was looking for a less racist way of saying, “That Black man didn’t belong in those people’s sundown town.”
Attorneys for Brandon didn’t give opening arguments Tuesday, but, according to AP, Gibson’s attorney, Carlos Moore, compared the incident to the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, which is, in fact, so similar to the Case’s case that both cases involve a pickup truck, a white father named Gregory and a white son with an itchy trigger finger.
Gibson—whose $5 million lawsuit against FedEx, the city of Brookhaven, the police chief and the Cases was dismissed last week—is still working for the shipping company but is out on workers’ compensation leave, according to Moore, who also said outside the court building Tuesday that Gibson and his family are “cautiously optimistic that they’ll get justice here in Lincoln County.”
But in Mississippi, the operative word will always be “cautiously” when it comes to that optimism.
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