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