Paris, Texas (WiredPRNews.com) — As reported by the Paris News, members of the New Black Panther Party paid a visit to the small Paris community in regards to the dragging death of 24 year-old Brandon McClelland. The organization has decided to launch their own investigation into the case they have stated resembles the dragging death of James Byrd years earlier, which was deemed a hate crime. The involvement of the New Black Panther Party comes in lieu of Lamar County District Attorney, Gary Young’s perceived insistence that the murder was not racially motivated.
According to the Paris News the murder was initially listed as a hit and run accident by an 18-wheeler. After the family of McClelland expressed concerns about issues surrounding the investigation to local civil rights organization, Concerned Citizens for Racial Equality, the Dallas chapter of the New Black Panther Party offered their support in seeking a proper investigation into the matter.
The Paris community has previously received negative press regarding race relations after the widespread attention received from the case of Shaquanda Cotton, a teenager sentenced to up to seven years in prison for allegedly pushing a school hall monitor. Many speculate that the previous attention has contributed to the local D.A.’s refusal to consider McClelland’s death a hate crime.