A white Mississippi Justice Court judge is accused of slapping a 20-year-old mentally disabled African-American man and yelling, "Run, n—ger, run," after he fled.
"This is 2014," said former Canton Mayor William Truly, president of the Canton branch of the NAACP, "not 1960, where someone could slap a young man and call out, 'Run, n—ger, run."
According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, the family of Eric Rivers has filed a complaint with police alleging that on May 8 Judge Bill Weisenberger smacked Rivers, who was hanging around the Canton Flea Market looking to make a few bucks unloading trucks. Witnesses claim that Weisenberger slapped Rivers twice and that when Rivers ran the judge allegedly yelled out the racial slur.
One of the flea market vendors, Cathy Hendrix of Tuscaloosa, Ala., told the Clarion-Ledger that vendors at the flea market depend on locals to help load and unload their items, and in turn they pay for the help.
Hendrix says she saw Rivers standing on the sidewalk, asking if they needed help, the Clarion-Ledger reports.
"That young man was wanting to work to earn money to buy a bike," she told the newspaper.
Hendrix's sister, Tammy Westbrook, told the Clarion-Ledger that she saw Weisenberger "rear back and slap" Rivers twice. She says that Rivers took off running and Weisenberger yelled, "Run, Boy, run," and "Run, N—ger, run."
Truly told the newspaper that he would like Weisenberger to step down from the bench until an investigation has been concluded.
Weisenberger did not return the newspaper's telephone calls seeking comment.
Truly told the Clarion-Ledger that he expects a grand jury to hear the matter and that, "the NAACP plans to file complaints with the Judicial Performance Commission, the state attorney general's Vulnerable Adult Unit and the Justice Department."
"No citizen should have to face justice before a judge who holds such a high degree of racial animus and hatred," Truly told the newspaper.
Read more at the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.