News Roundup for August 17, 2011

The FBI has joined the investigation into the racially motivated murder of an African-American man in Jackson, Miss. At the request of the Hinds County district attorney, the FBI is looking into whether federal hate crime charges can be applied to two teens accused of beating and then running over James Anderson, allegedly because he was black.

A California man accused of burning a cross next to a black family’s yard is claiming he did so to honor the memory of his father. Jason Kahn, 36, has been charged with a hate crime for setting a 12-foot cross, stolen from a church, on fire next to a black teen’s home. Kahn alleges the spot was near where his father was shot and killed by police, and the cross was to commemorate the death.

Police in Michigan City, Ind., are investigating the vandalizing of a local mosque. Officials of the Islamic Center of Michigan City say they found several windows broken with rocks and a cinderblock.

An Indiana branch of the United Northern & Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is suing officials in Rush County after it was issued a citation for littering while distributing leaflets. The group, represented by the ACLU, is claiming that the citation violates its rights to free speech.