News Roundup for July 7, 2011

An African-American man was killed in Jackson, Miss., when he was assaulted and run over by a pick-up truck in what prosecutors are calling a hate crime. Two white men, Deryl Dedmon and John Aaron Rice, both 18, are charged with murder in the death of James Anderson, 49. The prosecutor said the pair were looking for a black man to assault and that they rejoiced after killing Anderson.

A woman in Georgia has pled guilty to racketeering charges for using fraudulent deeds to claim foreclosed properties around Atlanta. The woman is being charged along with 11 others, all of whom claim they are “sovereign citizens” immune from Georgia law.

Lawyers for “sovereign citizen” militia leader Schaefer Cox are asking for murder conspiracy charges against their client to be thrown out. Defense lawyers claim that the sloppy behavior of the prosecutors toward the grand jury merit the dropping of charges. Cox and four other defendants are facing charges for conspiring to murder Alaska state troopers, an assistant district attorney, and other court officials.

A committee hearing of the Washington, D.C., City Council has revealed a rise in hate crime reports in the District. According to police statistics, the number of reported hate crimes jumped nearly 66 percent in 2010 over 2009. Gays and transgender persons remain the most targeted victims, while a growing trend of hate crimes are race-related, especially targeting Latinos.