I Don’t Want to Start Any Blasphemous Rumors . . .

Another car dragging death went completely unnoticed by mainstream media for over a month. It is the second time Texans have settled their dispute with “uppity black people” by simply dragging them to a painful death along the road.

On Sept. 16 2008 pieces of Brandon McClelland body were found over a 70 mile stretch of rural Texas Farm Road 2648. He is believed to have been dragged at least that long behind or under the pick up truck of Paris Texas resident’s Charles Crostley and Shannon Finley. Eye witness reports say there were blood stained tre tracks all along the road as well as pieces of McClelland’s skull that the police had still not collected as part of critical forensic evidence in the case.

Police have refused to call the incident a hate crime as all three men were supposedly friends attending the same party. According to the intial report McClelland and his presumed murderers left the party together for a beer run to a neighboring town in Oklahoma. At some point, after recrossing into Texas, McClelland was torn to pieces alive underneath or behind the pick up truck. (The suspects claimed to some family members they hit him, internet reports claim he was dragged.) No one heard his cries.

According to friends and family of Finley and Crostley, the two said that McClelland opted to walk home after an argument about sobriety and they had simply followed him, “tapping him” with the car, until he “fell” underneath it. Finley and Crostley told police that McClelland had opted to walk home and they did not know what happened to him.

While we may never know if the incident that incited McClelland’s murder was a racist one, I think it is quite clear that the way he was killed was racialized. Finley, one of the suspected murderers, is also suspected of having been recruited into a white supremacist organization while serving time for a different murder. And the “justice” system in Paris Texas, charged with investigating the crime, is the same system that has notoriously thrown the book at black youth while letting white youth off with minimum or transmuted sentences. Worse the DA charged with prosecuting the case was once Finley’s attorney. And certainly, in these heated racial times in which presidential candidates make thinly veiled references to the import of race in one’s election decisions and remain silent in the face of racialized and racist name calling, inciting of violence, and calls to murder, there can be little doubt that these two men also assumed they would get away with it.

you can read more here or here


  • Jacqueline McClelland with photo of her son Brandon. AP/Matt Slocum
  • Crostley and Finley’s mug shots. AP/ Lamar County Sheriff’s Office

2 thoughts on “I Don’t Want to Start Any Blasphemous Rumors . . .

  1. The way he was killed was horrific. I’m sorry if it was driven by drunkeness, the one on the left reminds me of the Petit Family murderer, the younger one who just looked confused somehow and in a very sorry state in his mug shot. Doesn’t excuse them though.IF they arent executed they should get AT LEAST 40 years in prison.

  2. welcome to the blog Asada. I’m not sure how a home invasion gone wrong done by poor white people against a white family is comparable to a potential hate crime done by some one rumored to have klan ties and his friend against a black man b/c he dared to try and walk home rather than ride with them for reasons will likely never know. But yes, I agree that violent crime is always awful. And shock can shift ones demeanor in a mug shot.I don’t support the death penalty and in all honesty I back prison reform; that being said, given their crime and that at least one of them has already had a useless stint in prison – that like many others simply introduced him to harder criminals than himself – I hope that whatever McClelland’s mother wants/needs to feel justice has been done, within the law, is supported by the trial. Given that the DA charged with prosecuting the case was once one of the suspects defense attorneys and that the court system in Paris Texas has a documented "slap on the wrist" policy for many white criminals, I doubt there will be justice or truth in the resolution of this case.

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