Former Ole Miss Student Gets 6 Months in Jail for His Part in Hanging Noose Around Statue’s Neck

Graeme Phillip Harris
Graeme Phillip Harris

On Thursday a judge sentenced a former University of Mississippi student who admitted to placing a noose around the neck of a civil rights statue on campus to six months in jail.

According to the Associated Press, Graeme Phillip Harris pleaded guilty to "a misdemeanor charge of using a threat of force to intimidate African-American students and employees." In exchange for Harris' guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop a felony charge.

"No one should have to endure threats or intimidation because of their race or the color of their skin," Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a written statement viewed by AP.


Prosecutors note that sometime before dawn on Feb. 16, 2014, Harris and two other students placed the noose and a Civil War-era Georgia flag that includes a Confederate emblem on the statue of James Meredith. In 1962 Meredith became the first African American to attend the school. Meredith had to be guarded by federal troops as rioters lined the entrance to prevent him from entering the campus.

According to AP, Harris and friends conceived the plan after a night of drinking at the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity house, which has since closed its chapter as a result of the fallout.

"Graeme fully recognizes the folly of the conduct and attitudes that bring him before this court," Davis Hill, Harris' lawyer, wrote to the court. He said that Harris didn't deserve jail time, that he had joined a fraternity that fostered racist behavior and has since grown from the incident: "He has grown, improved and become more serious as a person."

Harris' friends who also admitted to aiding in the incident have not been sentenced.


Harris faced up to year in prison and a $100,000 fine if he had been found guilty of the possible felony. His six-month prison sentence begins Jan. 4, followed by 12 months' supervised released, AP reports.

Read more at Yahoo! News.

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