In Mississippi, a white father-son duo is under investigation for a hate crime after allegedly chasing and shooting at two Black teens who were riding ATVs.
The Clarion Ledger reports that the Yazoo County Sheriff’s office charged Wade Twiner, 48, and Lane Twiner, 22, with assault for allegedly shooting at the teens and ramming one of their ATVs with their pickup truck. Federal officials, as well as the district attorney’s office, are also investigating the incident as a hate crime. Yazoo County Sheriff Jacob Sheriff said that the circumstances surrounding the assault and social media posts made by the father prompted the hate crime investigation.
Sheriff noted that Wade Twiner shared a post on social media in July that featured a Confederate flag flanked by the phrases “Redneck Neighborhood Watch,” and “You Loot, We Shoot.” Later that same month, Twiner posted a picture of an ATV on Facebook with the caption “If you had this and lived ... the coronavirus won’t kill you. You already cheated death,” suggesting he may have had prior problems with ATVs.
Twiner owns property near Ridge Road, where the incident occurred. The area is a popular spot for ATV riders, making the incident even more shocking. One of the victims spoke to TV station WLBT about the incident, saying it would’ve made more sense to him if they were anywhere near the Twiner’s property. He said that during the incident, both men fired at him from their white pickup truck.
Authorities said the case bears an uncomfortable similarity to Ahmaud Arbery’s. Arbery was killed while jogging earlier this year in Georgia after three men, including a father-son duo, chased him down and eventually shot him three times.
According to Sheriff Sheriff, authorities have recovered one 9mm handgun used in the assault but believe a second unrecovered gun was used as well. He added that the men said they owned the land on both sides of the road and felt they shouldn’t have to deal with people riding ATVs. The Twinners told authorities the teens were speeding and they were simply trying to apprehend them, further proving that white people believe all it takes is a gun and some pale skin to take the law into your own hands.
Authorities are currently working to determine if race was a motivating factor in the alleged assault.
The two men could face up to 20 years in prison should they be convicted of a hate crime. As of now, the men have each been charged with three counts of aggravated assault and are being held on $70,000 bond.