Miss. Judge Allegedly Struck, Yelled Slur At Mentally Disabled Black Man

A Mississippi judge allegedly slapped a young mentally disabled black man earlier this month at a flea market and yelled “run, n—-, run,” the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported Sunday.

The family of Eric Rivers, 20, filed a complaint against Madison County Justice Court Judge Bill Weisenberger, who is white, accusing him of striking Rivers at the market on May 8 in Canton, Miss.

“This is 2014, not 1960, where someone could slap a young man and call out, ‘Run, n—–, run,'” former Canton Mayor William Truly, now president of the Canton branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told the Clarion-Ledger.

An apparent witness, Tammy Westbrook, told the newspaper Rivers was offering to help flea market vendors unload their goods when Weisenberger slapped him twice, then yelled “run, n—-, run” as he fled. Westbrook and her sister, a vendor at the flea market, recalled that they thought Weisenberger was a law enforcement officer because he was wearing a security guard’s uniform.

Weisenberger did not respond to the Clarion-Ledger’s requests for comment.

The local NAACP head told the newspaper that he plans to file further complaints against Weisenberger and expects a grand jury will eventually hear the case.

“No citizen should have to face justice before a judge who holds such a high degree of racial animus and hatred,” Truly said Friday in a news conference, as quoted by the Clarion-Ledger.

Image via The Committee to Elect Bill Weisenberger Justice Court Judge

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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