Racial tensions in Stonewall, Mississippi are on the rise in the aftermath of the murder of a black 39 year old horse trainer. Jonathan Sanders died at the beginning of the month after a confrontation with a 25-year old part time police officer named Kevin Herrington, which has effectively split the town into two sides over the unclear details of the murder.
Accounts on what really happened on the evening of July 8, outside of a convenience store in Stonewall, Mississippi differ greatly, as local authorities have combined forces with the FBI to clarify the circumstances of Sanders’ death.
Alleged witnesses who lived with Sanders in his mobile home state that the part time officer attacked him without being provoked and choked him to death, in what would be another episode of police brutality in the recent string which has rocked the country for most of the last year, determining full-scale riots in Ferguson and Baltimore.
However, Herrington lawyer’s account claims a totally opposite turn of events: Sanders would have allegedly been caught selling illegal drugs and took hold of the officer’s gun, but didn’t pursue to threaten him with it. His lawyer also said that Herrington has left town temporary in a family trip while being on unpaid leave; at the same time, Sanders’ surviving family buried him on Saturday and plead for justice.
Even with the controversial aspect of the case, as there is no clear evidence pointing in one direction or the other, you’d think that a town numbering just over 1,000 inhabitants would not see events degenerate into another Ferguson. And you’d be wrong.
Even if two protests both attended by hundreds of people are not really near mass civil unrests in Maryland and Missouri, for the usual quiet nature of Stonewall these have the intensity of thunderstorms. The murder mystery has divided the town almost clearly into two lines, with few remaining on a patient or neutral stance. And even though events were quite peaceful until now, there is enough tension in the air for the situation to take an ugly turn.
Another protest is scheduled to rock the little town on Sunday. Attorneys and family representing Sanders are determined to paint his death as no different than Ferguson, Baltimore or NYC – but at the moment, lack concrete facts to support the claim other than an autopsy reported stating that the man died from asphyxiation, and are also doing so in a town whose name was given by a well-known Confederate general, and whose subdued Southern pride has yet to have died out.
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