CANTON, Miss. (CBS Atlanta/AP) — A Madison County Justice Court judge faces accusations that he struck a mentally disabled man and used racial slurs while working as a security guard at an event in Canton.
The family of the 20-year-old African-American man, Eric Rivers, has filed a police complaint against Judge Bill Weisenberger in connection with the May 8 incident at a flea market. WLBT-TV reports that the Madison District attorney said the case will go to a grand jury
Witnesses told The Clarion-Ledger that Weisenberger, who is white, struck the young man and yelled racial slurs.
William Truly of a Mississippi NAACP chapter said Weisenberger should stop hearing cases or resign pending an investigation.
“This is 2014, not 1960, where someone could slap a young man and call out, ‘Run, n—–, run,'” Truly said.
Weisenberger has not commented and did not immediately return a phone call seeking a response Sunday afternoon.
Cathy Hendrix of Tuscaloosa, a vendor at the Canton Flea Market, told The Clarion-Ledger that she and other vendors rely on local people to help load and unload their vehicles, paying for the help.
On May 8, she saw Rivers standing on the sidewalk, asking if they needed help, she said. “That young man was wanting to work to earn money to buy a bike.”
Her sister, Tammy Westbrook, also of Tuscaloosa, told the newspaper she saw Weisenberger “rear back and slap” Rivers twice and use a racial epithet as the Rivers ran. Westbrook told The Ledger that Weisenberger yelled “run, n****, run” after striking the man.
“No citizen should have to face justice before a judge who holds such a high degree of racial animus and hatred,” Truly said in a news conference Friday.
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