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Federal Probe of Texas Dragging Death Demanded

Final Call, News Report, Jesse Muhammad Posted: Aug 03, 2009

PARIS, Texas (FinalCall.com) - In a time when many Americans are caught up in the euphoria of a so-called post-racial era, a crowd of Black and White protesters angrily squared off during a rally here over the dragging death of Brandon McClelland.

With the book now closed on local legal action, the family and supporters are gathering signatures on a petition to call on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to intervene immediately and initiate a federal probe into the case.

President Obama, you tell your Attorney General Eric Holder to get down here to Paris, Texas, and give these White boys some Texas justice, yelled Hashim Nzinga of the New Black Panther Party. Prosecute these White beasts.

The demonstration headed by members of the New Black Panther Party and local Paris activists was countered by White skinhead Nazis waving flags and reportedly a few KKK members sprinkled amongst the crowd but not in traditional white sheet attire.

Let them vent what they want to vent. They will never be happy. They still going to be Black, they still going to be poor and on welfare, said KKK member Rocky Banks.

We are peaceful people but if we are provoked then we have to handle our business, said James Blackwell of the Tarrant County Local Organizing Committee. But we have to stay focused on what we came to do and not worry about that trash over there.

The KKK members did not live up to pre-media hype that had law enforcement on high alert but the scene July 21 was reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s as a few of the White skinheads yelled, Go back to Africa at the Black crowd. And some young Blacks encouraged them to cross the sheriff department's human barrier for a fight.

The attempt by Lamar County law enforcement to establish protest zones was thwarted when each side decided to meet head on in dividing streets. Their heated confrontation drew a helicopter and approximately 40 state police in full riot gear.

Paris resident and Neo Nazi member Antony Somers said, Leave! Leave our town alone. Just get the hell out of here and leave us alone.

The Blacks, numbering nearly 200, called for a street trial with the protest held the same day originally for the trial of Shannon Finley, who had been charged in connection with the death. He was released along with Charles Crostley in June after special prosecutor Toby Shook dismissed the charges for what he called lack of strong evidence. The trial was to take place in Sulphur Springs, 40 miles outside of Paris.

A trial was supposed to take place today but since they did not do it, we have taken the trial to the streets, said Deric Muhammad of the Nation of Islam. We declare Shannon Finley and Charles Crostley guilty. We declare Toby Shook guilty.

The two White males were initially charged with the murder of Mr. McClelland who was dismembered after being dragged over 70 feet down a Lamar County road. His body was discovered on the morning of Sept. 16.

Lack of evidence? When we went out to the scene there were still pieces of Brandon's skin and skull on the side of the road, said a cousin of the victim. They murdered him.

Black Power! White Power! shouted the two opposing groups back and forth. No punches were exchanged and Mr. Somers was arrested for reported disorderly conduct.
I am happy to see people still coming out to support, Jacqueline McClelland, mother of Brandon McClelland, told The Final Call. This will only get worse. I want justice for my son. I am going to continue to fight this until the end.

This is a serious cover up, Krystal Muhammad of New Black Panther Party told The Final Call. We can't let them get away with this.

(The Associated Press contributed to this article)

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