Attorney Carlos Moore sued Gov. Phil Bryant over the Mississippi flag. Photo courtesy Carlos Moore
Carlos Moore, a Grenada, Miss., attorney known for trying to sue the State of Mississippi over the Confederate canton in the state flag, said on Facebook today that he will represent the family of 17-year-old Charles McDonald who was fatally shot multiple times in the chest outside a south Jackson business last summer, a story first reported by the Jackson Free Press. Moore has brought other lawsuits in the past over excessive force used against young black men, including this Greenwood case in 2007.
Performance Oil's co-owner and vice president, Wayne Winstead Parish, is out on bond with a first-degree murder charge after bringing an armed weapon outside his business where he believed McDonald was breaking into a car. Parish's attorneys argue that after a tussle, the man shot the unarmed McDonald multiple times in the chest, killing him.
Parish claims self-defense because he says McDonald fought with him for the gun after he approached him and before he shot him.
Moore said today on Facebook:
I am happy to be representing the family of the young teen killed on the premises of Performance Oil Equipment in south Jackson. While I don't condone attempted auto burglary if that is in fact what transpired, I don't condone someone taking the law into their own hands and killing someone over something that does not even belong to them. I think the Hinds County Grand Jury was right to indict Wayne Parish for murder and I am happy to represent the family and Estate of Charles McDonald, Jr. in a forthcoming civil lawsuit. All the individuals and businesses responsible for his wrongful death must be held accountable.
The attorney argues that, had McDonald been white, Parish would have likely handled the attempted car burglary differently, calling the cops instead of confronting him with a loaded gun:
"I did a random survey and most folks agreed that in the situation like I described in my earlier post this morning, it is appropriate to call the police. Else you could end up in a situation like we have here. A young teen is dead and an older guy is charged with murder while families, black and white, are left to grieve. Decisions sometimes have life altering consequences. I do believe if the young teen had been white instead of black the cops would have been called about the alleged attempted auto burglary and the teen not shot dead in front of his mother who asked Wayne not to kill her son. For reasons that may become clear in the murder trial or civil wrongful death trial, Wayne Parish, decided to take the law into his own hands. Juries will decide whether that was proper under criminal or civil law. I humbly submit that it was not.
The Jackson Free Press featured Charles McDonald in a cover story last fall, as part of our ongoing "Preventing Violence" series, which includes an investigation of the Hinds County youth-detention system.
In that cover story, the director of the Hinds County Juvenile Justice System said that the system "failed" McDonald because he could not get the proper help he needed. His mother was returning him to the detention center, close to Performance Oil, when he jumped out of the car and started beating on the car, she said. She watched as Parish killed her son.
Read the JFP's ongoing Preventing Violence series here.