Saturday, October 25, 2008

Racial Tensions In Paris After Black Man Killed

A memorial service is being held today for 24 year old Brandon McClelland in Paris, Texas. McClelland was killed in what is being called, by some, a brutal and racist hate crime.

Paris is in East Texas. East Texas is also where Jasper is. About a year before I moved to Texas Jasper became infamous due to the horrible murder by 2 white guys of a man named James Byrd. Mr. Byrd was dragged to his death beneath a pickup.

Brandon McClelland was killed by being hit by a truck and dragged underneath the truck for about 70 feet.

Apparently Paris, Texas has a long history of tension between black and whites and the killing of Brandon McClelland has raised tensions once more.

When I moved to Texas, soon after the James Byrd murder, I thought I'd be living in a place where I'd experience racism up close and personal for the first time in my life. To the contrary I've seen nothing but people getting along well with each other during my entire time in Texas. I've not experienced anything even remotely that seemed at all racist.

The 2 men charged with killing McClelland, Shannon Finley and Charles Crostley, were friends with McClelland. They were all drinking buddies.

Paris is a dry Texas town. The three drinking buddies wanted beer. So they headed up to Oklahoma. On the way back, drinking beer, likely drunk, an argument broke out over who was sober enough to drive.

McClelland tired of the arguing and said he'd walk home. He took some beer and took off walking. That's when the driver of the pickup ran into and over him, dragging him 70 feet to his death.

The New Black Panthers are in Paris calling this a hate crime. Others say the only resemblance between the Paris crime and the James Byrd murder is both were black men and a vehicle was involved with 2 white men in it.

Finley and Crostley are in jail, charged with murder and evidence tampering. They drove through a car wash to try and remove McClelland's blood. This is not the first time Finley has been charged with murder. In 2003 McClelland copped a plea to manslaughter and was sentenced to 4 years.

Ironically, during Finley's previous murder trial the man he is now accused of killing, Brandon McClelland, pleaded guilty to perjury for providing a false alibi for Finley. McClelland was sentenced to 5 years probation and did some jail time when he violated the terms of his probation.

All of this could have been avoided if Paris was not a dry town. It's time to end prohibition in Paris.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe there is misinformation or a type-0. There were three men arrainged, prosecuted and found guilty in the kidknapping and murder of Mr. James Byrd in Jasper, Tx. However only two of the three men convicted received the death penalty. The third man, Barry, received life in prison.