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Feds Charge U. of Mississippi Student in Noose Incident

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder participates in the Building Communities of Trust roundtable discussion in Philadelphia on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. The roundtable will serve as an opportunity to bring law enforcement, elected officials and members of the community together to discuss next steps that the administration will take to improve relationships between law enforcement and the community, address concerns about violence directed at law enforcement, increase the integrity within our justice system and share best practices for policing. (AP Photo/Philadelphia Inquirer, David Maialetti, Pool)
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder participates in the Building Communities of Trust roundtable discussion in Philadelphia on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Philadelphia Inquirer, David Maialetti, Pool)

Special to the NNPA from the Washington Informer

Federal authorities announced Friday that a man has been charged with civil rights crimes for placing a noose around the neck of a statue of the University of Mississippi’s first black student.

Graeme Phillip Harris was indicted by a federal grand jury on one count of conspiracy to violate civil rights and one count of using a threat of force to intimidate African-American students because of their race or color.

According to the charging documents, Harris, a student at the university, conspired with others early on Feb. 16 to hang a rope and an outdated Georgia state flag, which prominently depicts the Confederate flag, around the neck of the James Meredith statue on the school’s Oxford campus.

Authorities said the act was intended to threaten and intimidate black students and employees at the university.

Meredith was the university’s first African-American student after its contentious 1962 integration.

“This shameful and ignorant act is an insult to all Americans and a violation of our most strongly-held values,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “No one should ever be made to feel threatened or intimidated because of what they look like or who they are. By taking appropriate action to hold wrongdoers accountable, the Department of Justice is sending a clear message that flagrant infringements of our historic civil rights will not go unnoticed or unpunished.”

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