Racism in East Texas… Remembering Brandon McClelland…
On Sept. 16, 2008, Brandon McClelland was brutally murdered in Paris, Texas. Citizens called for his murder to be investigated as a hate crime but the District Attorney saw different. The same D.A. who defended one of the accused murderers in a previous murder case… According to the police version, Brandon was walking in front of a pickup when Shannon Finley, 27 and Charles Crostley, 27, allegedly ran him down and then dragged him approx. 70 feet along a FM road until his mutilated body popped out from beneath the vehicle. His body was so destroyed that it could not even be embalmed by the funeral home.
LeakYou was there to protest Brandon’s death and went to the scene where you could still see crime scene material that had not even been cleaned up including pieces of Mr. McClelland’s skull. Although it has been over 8 years ago, I want all of you to know that NO JUSTICE WAS SERVED. The charges against Shannon Finley and Charles Crostley who were accused of this unspeakable crime were eventually dropped and these men were never convicted of Brandon’s death. Please understand that Brandon’s mother was unable to hold an open casket funeral for her son because of the condition of his body.
LeakYou will be writing several articles on Racism in East Texas. It is almost a scene out of a movie or The Heat Of The Night. We all wonder in awe how in 2017 things like this still happen in East Texas. People finding nooses in their work lockers, having the word nigger written on their clothes, making complaints of racist treatment at work. Even though this area has received National Attention on Racism the issues are still as constant as they were then… Even though we have had the Black Panthers, the NAACP, and other groups come to East Texas and protest, NO JUSTICE IS SERVED.
Racism permeates the air still to this day. That is evident in the recent scandal at a Subway in Clarksville, Texas where 2 women were released from their duties in what many are saying was due to constant racist threats and demeaning statements. An employee who stood against these acts is currently not being identified at this time by LeakYou. Also a man who LeakYou is not identifying at this time confronted one of the persons, Morris Tucker; in an effort to express the feelings of many black people in this small town. The police later came to this Subway to ask the owner Wendell Reeder if he wanted the man arrested… Keep in mind this man did not commit any crime and was recorded on video expressing himself which in East Texas can be a crime to those who take out justice with their own hands. How much longer must we allow racism to continue like this unchecked?
There is no other place in the United States that has had so many recent reports of racist incidents in the VERY RECENT past. This includes the death of Alfred Wright, James Byrd, and Brandon McClelland. If you are 40 years old you have lived thru a time where black men are still being dragged to their deaths and it is 2017 Post Civil War America… We will continue this series in our next article as we track Charles Crostley and Shannon Finley.
Original Transcript of video
Hello, I want to bring attention to a devastating crime that occurred in Paris, Texas on September 16, 2008. Brandon McClelland, a black man, was murdered by 2 white men. Shannon Finley and Charles Crostley both age 27. Brandon was walking in front of a pick up truck when these men allegedly struck him, ran over him, then dragged his body approximately 70 feet along a Farm to Market road in this small East Texas town. His body was completely mutilated. The defendants washed the truck, but did not remove the blood or body matter that was on the under carriage.
Very Gruesome. Just as gruesome as the story of James Bird from Jasper, Texas who was brutally murdered when his ankles were chained to the back of a pickup truck and he was dragged along a road where his head ultimately hit a culvert and he was then beheaded. That happened only 10 years ago.
This story is extremely similar and I’m calling on everyone to bring this to the forefront so that the men that committed this crime can be prosecuted appropriately. Write about it, Blog about it, Talk about it. In Lamar county, which is the county where Paris, Texas is located in, blacks generally receive a harsher sentence when convicted of a crime then whites do. There are racial tensions dividing this town and it has been that way for years. Take the case of Shaquanda Cotton, she’s black and she made headlines in 2007. She’s from Paris, Texas and she was given 7 years in jail for pushing a hall monitor at her high school. However, just 3 months prior to that, a white girl 14yrs old, received probation for burning her parents house down.
The inequality in this town is large and it runs deep. Right now the police department is refusing to acknowledge the hate crime elements of this case. They have done so from the onset and have continued to avoid the fact that there are possible racial overtones. Mr. Hubbard, Alan Hubbard who is the district attorneys spokesmen told the Associated Press that it was preposterous to compare this case to that of James Byrd and completely denied the fact that this case could be in any way connected to a hate crime. Keep in mind that the autopsy has not even been completed yet.
Not only that Gary Young, who happens to be the District Attorney for Lamar County represented Shannon Finley as a defense lawyer just a few years ago on another murder case when a man was shot 3 times in the head. Shannon Finley eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter and obviously has since been released where there is now more bloodshed on his hands.
Allan Hubbard told the Associated Press the following:
“The victim in this case was horribly dismembered. He was struck by a car and dragged under the under carriage of that car for some distance as a result of being struck by that car.. Connecting this to a Jasper style dragging is absolutely preposterous. I can tell you Yes Mr. McClelland was dragged, but it was because he was caught in the under carriage of the vehicle.”
So, how can Gary Young prosecute a man for murder when he defended that same man just a few years ago. How can he be impartial. He must step aside so that fairness can rear its head. That Mr. Hubbard is what we call preposterous. I would also like to speak to some of the unprofessionalism of Lamar county officials in this case. Beer cans were left on the scene. There is word there was beer poured on the victim after his death. Also, pieces of Brandon McClelland skull was still there on the scene for passerby’s and news media to find after the crime scene was supposedly cleaned up and closed.
Finally the big media picked it up and it hit msnbc.com front page on October 24. Now we encourage Lamar county to do the right thing. I hope your paying attention. Fix it now Mr. Gary Young. Mr. Allan Hubbard Fix this now. Be proactive. Someone needs to step in and take an overall look at this case and handle it right. Handle it fairly and do the right thing by Brandon’s family, the citizens of Paris, Texas, and the United States of America.
On November 17th, at 4pm community activists including the NAACP, the New Black Panther Party, and the citizens for race equality based out of Paris, Texas will be on the courtroom steps in Lamar county for a peaceful protest regarding this case. Also normal every day citizens like you and I will be there protesting against this. I hope that I will see you there. Brandon McClelland you are gone but you will never be forgotten.