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Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Criminal Justice

215 bodies found behind jail in Jackson Mississippi

“They just threw him out like trash.”

the family of one of the buried.

If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking the bodies were inmates who passed away in the jail and were buried in a cemetery behind the prison. That is NOT the case.

One of the people buried in a shallow grave was a man killed after he was hit by a police cruiser. The medical examiner gave the lead detective the man’s ID from his pocket. Another was a man police found dead in a hotel room. They identified him, did NOT notify his family, but instead buried him behind the jail. No casket, no service, no headstone, the graves marked only by numbers or metal rods in some cases. The mother of the man found in the hotel room searched for him for a year. She filed a missing persons report and worked with the police department where the same officers—those who found him and buried him—worked.

What does the Jackson police chief have to say about this? In a statement, he said they will now implement a family notification policy. Excuse me? I thought it was just human decency and common courtesy that you notify family of someone found dead. We’ve all seen it on television: <Two police officers knock on the door to tell the person who opens the door that their husband/wife/son/daughter had been killed in an accident.> You mean to tell me the Jackson, Mississippi police department has never notified family? They just dump bodies like trash behind the jail? I guess that would explain the 215 bodies found buried there. Only discovered because the horrid smell was attracting buzzards.

Okay, you’ve heard my opinion and emotion-filled telling of this story. Now let’s get into the facts as they were reported:

From Fox26 Houston:

The revelation began with Dexter Wade’s death in March 2023, in which a police officer fatally hit him. Shockingly, his family was not informed of his death, and he was buried without their knowledge. Activist Arthur “Silky Slim” Reed, working alongside attorney Ben Crump, sheds light on the distressing details.

Wade’s case took a disturbing turn when it was revealed that he had identification on him. This identification was given to the lead detective by the medical examiner. However, the detective claimed to have called without receiving an answer and took no further action. Reed says the situation in Mississippi is deeply troubling, with six additional bodies now identified in similar unmarked graves.

I will not feel that any justice has come from this situation unless the cop who hit the man goes to prison for murder or manslaughter along with charges for not notifying the family and burying him. Look at it this way. Whatever would happen to a regular person who hit and killed someone, then hid the body by burying it, needs to happen to this officer. They are not above the law! If nothing is done, you’re showing society that the lives of regular citizens are worth less than the lives of cops. Period. This can’t be fixed by implementing a new family notification policy, Chief.

More from Fox26:

Reed describes the grim scene at the burial site, where buzzards flew overhead. The bodies were placed in shadowed graves without embalming, leading to a disturbing stench that attracted scavengers. He emphasizes the inhumanity of such treatment and calls for a more dignified handling of the deceased.

The families affected were not notified, and many still believed their loved ones were missing. Reed emphasizes that this issue extends beyond race, as both white and black individuals are buried in the same manner. The lack of identification and the practice of assigning only numbers to the graves further compound the anguish of the families involved.

Despite the alarming nature of these revelations, a humane resolution is needed. Reed, Crump, and attorney Dennis Week advocate for a federal investigation to uncover the truth behind these unmarked graves. They also advocate for the potential violation of civil rights in cases like Dexter Wade’s.

In Dexter Wade’s case, numerous civil rights were violated. These included failing to notify the family and burying him without permission despite knowing his identity. Reed expresses deep concern about the actions taken by the authorities considering an ongoing lawsuit involving the police.

The families affected are demanding justice and transparency. 

Black Enterprise also covered the story:

Reverend Hosea Hines, the senior pastor of the Christ Tabernacle Church and the national leader for A New Day Coalition of Equity and Black America, spoke to The Chicago Crusader. 

“It really saddens my heart to know that their relatives went that long, some over a year, not knowing if their loved ones were dead or alive and then coming to the realization that they had been buried in a pauper’s grave behind a jailhouse,” he said.

According to Hines, Jackson’s new police chief, Joseph Wade, has implemented a new death notification policy that will provide relatives with a notification and details about their loved one’s deaths. 

“People all across America are scratching their heads in disbelief about what’s happening in Jackson, Mississippi, with this pauper’s graveyard,” Crump said during a press conference.

“It went from talking about the water” that was non-existent or contaminated “to now we’re talking about the graveyard. What is going on in Jackson, Mississippi?”

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