Family of James Craig Anderson Files Civil Suit

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

The New York Times reports that the family of James Craig Anderson has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the group of teenagers accused of killing him.  The lawsuit does not indicate a specific amount sought for damages but does include an accusation of negligence which may be a way to tap into the homeowner’s insurance policies of the families of the accused teenagers.
The Times article indicates the lawsuit, filed in Hinds County Circuit Court in Jackson, depicts the death of James C. Anderson as a “racially motivated attack and outlines an evening of drinking that culminated with a caravan of teenagers from a largely white suburban county driving 16 miles to Jackson intent on harassing African-Americans.”   Out of the seven defendants named in the civil suit, two so far are facing criminal charges.  In order for there to be a charge of capital murder in Mississippi, the murder must be committed in connection with another felony.   Deryl Dedmon, has been charged with capital murder.  He is the man believed to be driving the pickup that killed Mr. Anderson and also the alleged theft of Mr. Anderson’s phone, ring and wallet, a felony.
Mr. Anderson, 48, died shortly after 5 a.m. on June 26. He had been leaving a motel, and had either lost his keys or locked them in his truck, the police said. Images from a security video show two carloads of teenagers driving into the parking lot. Some of them jumped out and approached Mr. Anderson, who was beaten and robbed. As Mr. Anderson staggered along a grassy strip at the edge of a parking lot, a teenager driving a Ford pickup truck backed up and then accelerated forward, running over and killing him, the investigators said.  The lawsuit makes public for the first time the names of all seven people who had piled into the two vehicles that night, charging that while some were directly responsible for assaulting and killing Mr. Anderson, others were negligent because they acted as lookouts and did not try to help Mr. Anderson.
The victim’s family has created the James Craig Anderson Foundation for Racial Tolerance, but has not spoken much publicly about Mr. Anderson’s death but they are determined not to let the death of “Craig” be in vain. They pray that out of this tragic event, some good may come out of it. In lieu of giving money to the family, the family requests anyone wanting to honor the memory of James “Craig” Anderson, please contribute to the James Craig Anderson Foundation for Racial Tolerance. Please mail donations to: The James Craig Anderson Foundation for Racial Tolerance c/o The Cochran Firm 162 E. Amite Street Jackson, MS 39201 (601) 812-1000
In an interview with The New York Times last month, family members described Mr. Anderson as a good country cook, a gifted gardener and always genial. They said he liked his job on the assembly line at the Nissan plant, which he had held for about seven years.