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After Racist Attack on James Meredith Statue, Ole Miss Offers $25,000 Reward for Info

Here is a verbatim statement just issued by the University of Mississippi:

At the request of Chancellor Dan Jones, the university’s Alumni Association has offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of two individuals involved in an early morning incident on The University of Mississippi campus.

The University Police Department (UPD) is looking for two men who were seen early Sunday morning near the James Meredith statue, which commemorates the 1962 integration of the university. One of the men was reported to have been wearing camouflage pants. The statue had been draped with a noose and an old Georgia state flag, and the men were heard shouting racial slurs.

Jones condemned the action as contrary to the beliefs and values of the university community. “These individuals chose our university’s most visible symbol of unity and educational accessibility to express their disagreement with our values. Their ideas have no place here, and our response will be an even greater commitment to promoting the values that are engraved on the statue – Courage, Knowledge, Opportunity, and Perseverance.”

Assistant to the Chancellor for Multicultural Affairs Don Cole reiterated the creed that the university stands by. “This is particularly painful because the James Meredith statue has become a gathering place for students to discuss many things, including the tenets of our creed, which calls for dignity and respect for all people.”

UPD has initiated a rigorous investigation and alerted Oxford Police. Anyone with information concerning the investigation is urged to contact UPD at 662-915-7234.

Contact: PR Director Danny Blanton, 662-915-1678, dblanton@olemiss.edu

For more information about the University of Mississippi, visit http://news.olemiss.edu or sign up for our RSS feed at http://rebs.ms/umnewsrss. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter at http://rebs.ms/UMsocial.


Comments

goldeneagle97 10 months ago

I know it's not representative of the whole university, but it's incidents like these that make me dislike Ole Miss with a passion.

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kdavis 10 months ago

Golden eagle, before you condemn the whole University, let's find out who did this. There's a very good chance that it was no one associated with the school. Because of the history at Ole Miss, it is a lightning rod for all kinds of nut jobs that have never completed 3 hours at the school. The University's administration will diligently try to find out who did this and deal with them to the fullest extent of the law.

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NotLikeU 10 months ago

Yeah, I wouldn't condemn the whole university of these actions. But I wouldn't be surprise if they were students of Ole Miss or just fans for the university. Whoever did it is close to campus or a regular visitor. That's my take.

It's of poor taste that this has occurred and is occurring. Anger, pain and the lack of respect is strong in many levels and types of communities unfortunately.

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kdavis 10 months ago

As I type, a large number of Ole Miss students are holding a silent rally at the Meredith statue. I'm proud to say that my daughter is one of them at the rally. One day, the people that do these tasteless acts will understand that this will not be tolerated.

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bubbat 10 months ago

Saw were FBI is investigating this act of vandalism and stupidity as a hate crime? Since when did bronze or what ever the statue is made of become a race?

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tomhead1978 10 months ago

Bubba, the FBI's civil rights division has a page clearly explaining when it does and doesn't investigate acts of vandalism, and why. I suggest you read it.

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js1976 10 months ago

By no means am I defending or supporting these actions, but please explain to me how their actions are deemed as vandalism. The statue was not harmed in anyway, so I don't see how someone could be indicted for vandalism. Tresspassing yes, if the culprits were not students. Expulsion if they were.

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tomhead1978 10 months ago

js1976, vandalism (under Mississippi's pertinent malicious mischief statute, and more generally) encompasses temporary malicious disfigurement of property as a misdemeanor offense. Putting a noose around the neck of a statue dedicated to a civil rights figure, while shouting racial epithets, obviously qualifies. It is very unlikely that the person who did this will serve prison time, but I don't see how anyone can reasonably object to the FBI assisting with the investigation given the obvious racial intimidation element.

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js1976 10 months ago

I'm not objecting to the FBI's involvement, I was just curious about the vandalism accusations.

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tomhead1978 10 months ago

I have to admit that when I hear the word "vandalism" I imagine permanent property damage, but from a statutory point of view temporary disfigurement of property is generally included under vandalism, especially when malicious intent is shown. Graffiti doesn't necessarily cause permanent damage to property, for example, but it's still generally regarded as a form of vandalism by law enforcement agencies.

Some states also criminalize public acts that are intended to cause fear or intimidation within a targeted community (these are usually referred to as "cross-burning laws"), but the Mississippi Code doesn't have that statute as far as I know. It's possible that Oxford has a municipal statute with the same effect; I haven't looked.

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bubbat 10 months ago

Tom- The only malicious mischief statute I can find in the Mississippi code does not mention temporary disfigurement of property anywhere. Is there another?

It's very much overkill for the FBI to be investigating a misdemeanor offense. I'm not saying what they did was right but it being way over reacted to too.

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tomhead1978 10 months ago

Bubba, the malicious mischief statute does not specify that the damage to property needs to be permanent—and to be honest, the fact that you don't consider this worthy of investigation is both predictable and irrelevant.

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bubbat 10 months ago

Tom- Yes but it does say it has to be damaged, it wasn't in any way. Witnesses are saying the guys were yelling racial slurs at the statue, does a statue have civil rights for this to be a hate crime? Nope I would think the FBI would have more important things to do, like solving why Ole Miss is ranked in the top 10 of the most dangerous schools for women instead of a misdemeanor trespass and prank.

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tomhead1978 10 months ago

Bubba, the statute says "destroying, disfiguring, [or] injuring"; the "damaging" line was my shorthand, predicated on the obviously false assumption that you had already read the statute.

The investigation will proceed, and the people who did this will be publicly humiliated. This is as it should be.

I'm glad to hear you acknowledge that violence against women is an issue at Ole Miss, but that's no reason not to investigate racial intimidation. Many women, it may surprise you to learn, are black themselves.

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bubbat 10 months ago

Tom - a noose was hung around it neck and flag draped that's decorating it and like I said earlier I don't condone what they did, just think it being over reacted to. A hate crime not hardly. I did read the both statutes it might come under in the Mississippi Code and charge someone with either would be a real stretch. You must not have or don't understand them.

It would not fall under this one because the statue is public property not a persons property.

97-17-67. Malicious mischief

(1) Every person who shall maliciously or mischievously destroy, disfigure, or injure, or cause to be destroyed, disfigured, or injured, any property of another, either real or personal, shall be guilty of malicious mischief.

(2) If the value of the property destroyed, disfigured or injured is Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00) or less, it shall be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00) or imprisonment not exceeding twelve (12) months in the county jail, or both.

(3) If the value of the property destroyed, disfigured or injured is in excess of Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00), it shall be a felony punishable by a fine not exceeding Ten Thousand Dollars ($ 10,000.00) or imprisonment in the Penitentiary not exceeding five (5) years, or both.

(4) In all cases restitution to the victim for all damages shall be ordered. The value of property destroyed, disfigured or injured by the same party as part of a common crime against the same or multiple victims may be aggregated together and if the value exceeds One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00), shall be a felony.

(5) For purposes of this statute, value shall be the cost of repair or replacement of the property damaged or destroyed.

(6) Anyone who by any word, deed or act directly or indirectly urges, aids, abets, suggests or otherwise instills in the mind of another the will to so act shall be considered a principal in the commission of said crime and shall be punished in the same manner

Nor would it fall under this because it wasn't injured, destroy or defaced.

continued next post

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bubbat 10 months ago

TITLE 97 - CRIMES / Chapter 17 - Crimes Against Property.

Miss. Code Ann. § 97-17-39 (2013) Penalties for injuring, destroying or defacing certain cemetery property, public buildings, schools or churches, or property thereof

If any person, by any means whatever, shall willfully or mischievously injure or destroy any of the burial vaults, urns, memorials, vases, foundations, bases or other similar items in a cemetery, or injure or destroy any of the work, materials, or furniture of any courthouse or jail, or other public building, or schoolhouse or church, or deface any of the walls or other parts thereof, or shall write, or make any drawings or character, or do any other act, either on or in said building or the walls thereof, or shall deface or injure the trees, fences, pavements, or soil, on the grounds belonging thereto, or an ornamental or shade tree on any public road or street leading thereto, such person, upon conviction, for such offense, shall be punished as follows:

(a) If the damage caused by the destruction or defacement of such property has a value of less than Three Hundred Dollars ($ 300.00), any person who is convicted of such offense shall be fined not more than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00) or be imprisoned in the county jail for not more than one (1) year, or both.

(b) If the damage caused by the destruction or defacement of such property has a value equal to or exceeding Three Hundred Dollars ($ 300.00), any person who is convicted of such offense shall be fined not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($ 5,000.00) or be imprisoned in the State Penitentiary for up to five (5) years, or both.

HISTORY: SOURCES: Codes, 1880, § 2978; 1892, § 989; 1906, § 1065; Hemingway's 1917, § 793; 1930, § 809; 1942, § 2035; Laws, 1989, ch. 451, § 1, eff from and after July 1, 1989.

Oh thanks for telling me there are black women, I have been wondering for years and years how blacks had be reproducing when I had never seen or heard of a pregnant black male.

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tomhead1978 10 months ago

(Update: At least one of the suspects has been identified, and an arrest is imminent.)

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