Racist frat boy who put noose on Ole Miss integration statue faces 11 years in prison

The Justice Department has indicted a former Ole Miss student on civil rights charges after he allegedly hung a noose on a statue of his university’s first black student.

Graeme Phillip Harris, 20, of Alpharetta, Georgia, has been indicted on one count of conspiracy to violate civil rights and one count of using a threat of force to intimidate African-American students.

The indictment is connected to a February 2014 incident in which a noose and a former Georgia flag, prominently featuring the Confederate battle emblem, were placed on a statue of James Meredith.

Harris, who is white, was an Ole Miss student when the noose was left on the statue.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Harris had an attorney to contact for comment on his behalf.

University spokesman Danny Blanton said Friday that Harris is no longer enrolled and that university officials turned the case over to federal prosecutors and deferred to their judgment..

Harris has transferred to University of North Georgia – Oconee Campus, according to the Daily Mississippian.

He is free on bond, though his movement is restricted to areas of Georgia and Mississippi.

James Meredith, who integrated the University of Mississippi under federal protection a half-century ago, says it’s a shame that state authorities deferred to the federal government to bring charges.

Mr Meredith, who is 81 and lives in Jackson, said state authorities should have pursed charges.

‘What it is saying is that the only possible justice for a black in the state of Mississippi is the federal government and if there’s anything that we don’t need it’s that being our only means of expecting justice,’ Mr Meredith said in a phone interview Friday.

‘I think Mississippi is better than that. If it’s not better than that, it should be made better than that.’

The Lafayette County district attorney said in 2014 that state charges wouldn’t be filed because no state laws were broken.

Mississippi’s hate crime law requires an underlying crime for additional charges. Because the statute wasn’t marred or broken, prosecutors said typical vandalism charges didn’t apply.

The punishment for conspiracy to violate civil rights ranges to up to ten years in prison.

Threat of force to intimidate is punishable by up to one year in prison.

In 1962, anti-integration protests erupted into violence and Meredith had to be escorted by armed federal agents as he enrolled under court order as the first black student at the university.

In announcing the indictment of Harris on Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder said of the noose incident: ‘This shameful and ignorant act is an insult to all Americans and a violation of our most strongly-held values.

Source: The DailyMail

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