On this day in 1998, James Byrd Jr. died after being beaten by three white supremacists

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Ricky Jason wears a photograph of James Byrd Jr. outside the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit before the execution of Lawrence Russell Brewer Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011, in Huntsville, Texas. Brewer, 44, one of two purported white supremacists condemned for the dragging death of James Byrd Jr., was executed Wednesday. Brewer was convicted for his participation in chaining Byrd to the back of a pickup truck, dragging the black man along a rural East Texas road and dumping what was left of his shredded body outside a black church cemetery in 1998. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
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Twenty-five years ago today, a 49-year-old Black man named James Byrd Jr. died on June 7, 1998, after he was beaten by three white supremacists in Jasper, Texas. He was chained to the back of a pickup truck by his ankles and dragged for miles over an asphalt road.

All three of Byrd’s murderers, John William King, Lawrence Russell Brewer, and Shawn Allen Berry, were convicted. Brewer was executed in September 2011 and King was executed in 2019. Berry is serving a life sentence.

Byrd’s death sparked hate crime legislation that allows the federal government to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated crimes based on the victim’s race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.


Click play to listen to the AURN News report from Clay Cane. Follow @claycane & @aurnonline for more.

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