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Family of Black man ‘found dismembered after complaining of racism’ calls for federal probe – The Independent

Mar 19, 2023

A Black man from Mississippi who went missing late last year after claiming he faced racism was found dead with his head severed from his body, according to his family’s lawyer who cited an independent autopsy report.

Rasheem Carter, 25 at the time, was reported missing on 2 October last year. His mother has earlier said that he had sought help from the police and had told her that he was being chased by white men in trucks.

On 2 November, authorities said they found Carter’s remains in a wooded area south of Taylorsville, Mississippi.

The Smith County Sheriff’s Department said at the time that it had “no reason to believe foul play was involved”, though the case was under investigation.

The family’s lawyer Benjamin Crump, along with his co-counsel Carlos Moore, on Monday called for a federal investigation by the Department of Justice into Carter’s death.

Carter’s family and their attorney lashed out at the authorities for stonewalling them for more than four months. They had also accused the police of covering up what they believe was a brutal hate crime.

A day after Mr Crump spoke to reporters, Smith County sheriff Joel Houston said the possibility of murder had not been ruled out.

Mr Houston told NBC News that the early assessment of “no reason to believe foul play” had come at a time when there was no evidence that pointed to homicide.

His head was severed from his body. His vertebrae, his spinal cord was in another spot they discovered away from his severed head. They have recently found remains that they believe are also Rasheem Carter,” said Mr Crump, citing the autopsy report of the Mississippi State Medical Examiner’s Office.

“One thing is for certain… This was not a natural killing. This was not a natural death. This represents a young man who was killed,” Mr Crump said.

The medical examiner had ruled the cause of Carter’s death to be undetermined, reported ABC News. The conditions of the remains made it difficult to determine exact timing of the injuries, apart from signs of animal activity that have clouded a clearer picture, according to the report.

“Nothing is being swept under the rug,” the sheriff Mr Houston said.

“There’s nothing to hide.”

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