Lawyers demand serious charges after white men shoot black delivery driver in Mississippi

NEW ORLEANS – Two white men were arrested earlier this week, days after a black delivery van driver accused them of chasing and shooting him after dropping off a package in a town in the Mississippi.

But driver Demonterrio Gibson, 24, said on Friday he did not think police took him seriously at first and his lawyers said the two suspects had been ‘undercharged’ and should face charges. charges of attempted murder.

No one was hurt, but the chase and gunshots sparked complaints of racism on social media in Brookhaven, Mississippi, about 89 miles south of Jackson – and a pushback in local media from the chief of city ​​black font.

Gregory Case and his son Brandon Case were arrested and released on bail Tuesday in connection with the alleged Jan. 24 attack on 24-year-old Gibson. Gregory Case faces conspiracy charge; Brandon Case, shooting in a motor vehicle.

Gibson’s attorneys say more serious charges, including hate crime charges, are warranted in what they believe was a racially motivated assault. “I want them both charged with attempted murder,” attorney Carlos Moore said Friday.

Moore and attorney James Bryant likened the incident to the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was running empty-handed through a Georgia subdivision in 2020 when three unknown white people chased and lambasted him with a shotgun. The white men, including a father and son, were convicted of murder and sentenced to life. Defense attorneys said they suspected he had committed crimes in their neighborhood, but prosecutors said there was no evidence of this. The three still face a federal hate crime trial.

Brookhaven, with a 68% black population, is in Lincoln County, where District Attorney Dee Bates said the information will be presented to a grand jury for a decision on the charges once police complete the investigation. investigation into the Gibson incident. Witnesses, including Gibson, will be able to testify.

Gibson told The Associated Press on Friday that he was in uniform when the incident occurred. He said he was in a van rented by FedEx but it didn’t have a FedEx logo on it. He stopped in an alley and dropped off a package shortly after 7 p.m. on January 24. Before turning around in the driveway to exit, he said, he noticed a white van driving away from another house on the same large lot. .

He said the driver of the van tried to cut him off as he pulled out of the driveway. Gibson swerved around him and then encountered a second man.

“I walk down about two or three houses and there’s another guy standing in the middle of the street with a gun pointed at my vehicle,” Gibson said. The man motioned for him to stop. “I look at him, like I’m shaking my head, because why would I stop for someone with a gun?”

Gibson said the man fired as he drove away, damaging the van and the packages inside. He said the white pickup chased him to the freeway near Brookhaven before ending the pursuit. Police later told local news outlets that the elder Case was the suspected driver of the van, while Brandon Case was the man on the street. Gregory Case is 58 and his son is 35, according to The Daily Leader of Brookhaven.

Gibson said he called police and was told by an officer that police received a call about a suspicious person at the same address at the same time. “I said, ‘Sir, I’m not a suspicious person. I am a FedEx employee. I was just doing my job and they shot me.

The cases have not publicly commented on their arrests. The Brookhaven City Clerk’s Office said Friday morning that it had not yet received any documents about their arrests or information about their attorneys. Police Chief Kenny Collins did not return calls from the AP asking for more information.

Earlier this week, Collins, who is black, pushed back against allegations of racism on social media in Brookhaven. “We’re not going to have strangers trying to stir this up,” he told the Daily Leader. “Brookhaven is not a racist, prejudiced town. You cannot judge a city by the actions of two individuals.

“People have to be careful what they post on social media,” Collins said. “If someone is killed or injured because of what you post on social media, you will also be charged.”

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