Attorneys Charles E. Lawrence III and Michael T. Scott have filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of their client, attorney Carlos E. Moore, against Mississippi state lawmakers who advocated the lynching of people who support the removal of Confederate monuments.
As previously reported by The Root, Mississippi state Rep. Karl Oliver wrote a Facebook post last week in which he compared Louisiana leaders—presumably New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the New Orleans City Council—to Nazis who should be lynched for removing monuments honoring Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and an obelisk dedicated to the Battle of Liberty Place.
Oliver went on to say that he would do everything within his power to make sure that Mississippi did not follow suit.
Moore is taking Oliver’s Facebook post as a personal threat, the lawsuit states, on account of “his diligent and persistent efforts, through the United States courts since early 2016, to remove Mississippi’s prominent and flagrant glorification of the goals of the Confederacy, including slavery and white supremacy, in its state flag.”
As previously reported by The Root, Moore made national headlines in February 2016 when he filed a lawsuit against Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant. Moore argued that the state flag, which prominently features the Confederate battle flag, violates the equal protection and due process clauses in the Constitution and incites “acts of violence.”
In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Moore claims that Mississippi Reps. John Read and Doug McLeod, as well as Tony Dunn, public affairs officer for the Mississippi Highway Patrol, all conspired with Oliver by “electronically and explicitly expressing their support” for his advocation of white supremacist violence.
Read Oliver’s Facebook post below:
Oliver’s words represent a blatant death threat to anyone who supports the removal of white supremacist symbols of terrorism and genocide. Further, Moore claims in the lawsuit, Oliver and his political lynch mob are intentionally seeking to instill fear in black Americans and prevent them from exercising their right to free speech.
“There is a very brutal and callous irony in the notion that a Mississippi state representative could refer to the act of removing men made of stone from Southern land as ‘heinous and horrific,’ while simultaneously invoking with boldness the very real and very visceral act of lynching real men and women as retribution for the loss of those statues,” attorney Lawrence told The Root.
“Lynching is a very specific term with very specific meaning in the South and especially Mississippi,” Lawrence continued. “And it’s quite evident that this is exactly the type of sentiment that Oliver hoped to foster and did foster with his post.”
In an effort to hold Oliver and his co-defendants accountable for this intentional violence, Moore is asking the court for the following:
- An injunction against the defendants (Oliver, Read, McLeod, and Dunn) that prohibits them from conveying direct or indirect threats against Moore, or any other person, legally seeking the removal of state-sponsored Confederate monuments, symbols or imagery, in whole or in part, from Mississippi;
- An injunction against the defendants prohibiting them from taking any action, or encouraging anyone else to take any action, against Moore, or any other person, for legally seeking the removal of state-sponsored Confederate monuments, symbols or imagery, in whole or in part, from Mississippi;
- An order, intended to diminish the likelihood of future similar violations, requiring defendants to read a) The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy Tyson and b) At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America by Phillip Dray and to submit, within 30 days, written summaries of each book, of not less than 3,000 words, to the court.
“From Emmett Till to Medgar Evers to Vernon Dahmer to Raynard Johnson to James Craig Anderson, lynchings and the suggestions thereof, particularly by Mississippi state officials, should be a thought that causes us all to shudder,” Lawrence told The Root.
It is important to note again here that Oliver represents the community of Money, Miss., the town where domestic terrorists Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, along with their accomplices, lynched 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955.
“It should be the past we want to overcome in this state, not renew,” Lawrence said. “So please understand that our concern with the advocation of such acts by our ‘leadership’ calling for the lynching (in all caps, no less) ... is both sincere and urgent.”
Read the full lawsuit below: