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*We keep being reminded that ‘Racism Is Alive and Well’ even in 2014. It may hold little surprise that this story comes out of good ol’ Mississippi, where a Justice Court judge is accused of striking a mentally challenged young man and yelling, “Run, n—–, run.”
A complaint has been filed by the family of a 20-year-old African-American man named Eric Rivers. It alleges Judge Bill Weisenberger, who is white, struck their son on May 8 at the Canton Flea Market.
And there appears to be witnesses.
Cathy Hendrix of Tuscaloosa is a vendor at the Canton Flea Market. She told The Clarion-Ledger that on May 8, she saw Rivers standing on the sidewalk, asking if they needed help, because the vendors rely on the help of locals to load and unload their property for pay. “That young man was wanting to work to earn money to buy a bike,” she said.
Her sister, Tammy Westbrook, also of Tuscaloosa, told the media she saw Weisenberger “rear back and slap” Rivers twice.
The young man bolted away, and she said she heard Weisenberger yell out, “Run, boy, run,” and “run, n—–, run.”
She also overheard the judge brag afterward about what he had done.
“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—–, run.”
Darlene Ballard, executive director of the state Judicial Commission, said if the allegations are true, they would “violate multiple canons” of the Judicial Code of Conduct.
Truly requested Weisenberger, a former law enforcement officer and former emergency operations director in Madison County, to step down from hearing cases until the matter is resolved — or simply to resign.
“No citizen should have to face justice before a judge who holds such a high degree of racial animus and hatred,” Truly said in a news conference Friday.
If anyone expected Weisenberger to return telephone calls asking for a response to the allegations, they were disappointed.
He did not, as of this writing.
Truly expects a Madison County grand jury to eventually hear the matter. He said the NAACP plans to file complaints with the Judicial Performance Commission, the state attorney general’s Vulnerable Adult Unit and the Justice Department.
Tammy was especially emotional because her own son suffers from autism, she said, “I was angry.”
Weisenberger was dressed in a security officer’s uniform, even though he is a judge.
Hendrix praised the help she received from “many wonderful deputies during her visit to Canton” but was angered by what she witnessed, she said.
“I do not care if this young man was being a nuisance,” said Hendrix, who is white. “I do not care if he were breaking a law, I do not care if he were loitering, but I do care that a man of authority, one that is sworn to protect and serve, was slapping a young man.”
She said Weisenberger “seemed to be suffering from an authoritative complex and was making sure that everyone knew that.”
Hendrix said after Weisenberger’s encounter with Rivers, she saw the judge “jump” a female vendor, “telling her he would make her park far away and make her walk to load her goods.”
The judge supposedly has the following on his campaign website, declaring that he believes “Justice Court IS the people’s court.”
Under Mississippi law, the only requirement to be elected a Justice Court judge is a high school diploma. After taking office, the judges are required to take up to six hours of training a year.
I must say, it is amazing how racists continue to believe that “everyone who looks like them, thinks like them.” It is this that makes them feel the sense of entitlement and brazeness to do this stuff out loud, in broad daylight. The fact that witnesses saw this and commented speaks volumes on how ignorant these people continue to be.
…And the only requirement to hold such a high position is a high school diploma? SMH