White Mississippi Teens May Have Attacked Homeless Blacks In Jackson


Racial Attack Suspect Deryl Dedmon

Dedmon has had a previous run-in with the law. In March, he was arrested in his hometown of Brandon, Miss., and found guilty of making harassing phone calls. He paid an undisclosed fine. Police would not say who he called.

And last month, Brian Richardson, a white Baptist pastor in Dedmon's hometown told reporters Dedmon had bullied his son from September 2008 to 2010 while they were in high school together.

"I thought it was obviously painfully clear that Deryl was going to injure someone severely or possibly kill someone," Richardson said. "And I believe that if he doesn't get some help, if he is not taken off the streets, that it's going to happen again."

Richardson's family called Brandon police in 2009, he said, after it looked as though there would be a physical altercation.

The minister is cooperating with the lawyer representing Anderson's family in a wrongful death lawsuit.

The lawyer representing Anderson's family did not respond to calls from ABCNews.com.

Racial Tension in Mississippi

Some of the racial tension in the area stems from the racial disparity between Brandon, Miss., which is 90 percent white, and the town of Jackson in Hinds County, which is 70 percent African-American, according to Johnson.

Brandon, located in Rankin County, is often referred to as "the white flight county from Jackson," said Johnson.

There has been a "huge increase over last 20 years of working class or poor whites in Rankin County," he added. "With that created a lot of tensions because when you have individuals who are not neighbors, don't know each other, and carry the baggage of racism, you develop a culture of racial hatred."

Johnson says they've gotten a "slew of calls" asking if they will organize a demonstration. But they, like prosecutor Smith, are being cautious.

"We decided to allow the investigation to mature and at that time respond based on the information that is released," Johnson said, adding he has great confidence in Smith, saying he's "very thorough."

"It's really easy for people to come and sensationalize it, or for individuals to demagogue the issue. We're trying to make sure at the end of the day that justice is brought," Johnson said.

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