(TW for graphic, disturbing descriptions of a hate crime.)
Marco McMillian, the openly gay black man who was running for mayor in Clarksdale, Mississippi, was brutally murdered last week in what his family says was a hate crime — but officials refuse to investigate it as one.
The candidate’s body was found near the Mississippi River last week after he had apparently been beaten, dragged, and set ablaze. His body was recovered a day after his SUV was involved in a head-on collision. McMillian was not in the car at the time of the accident, as investigators believe he had already been dead, and his body had been dumped several hours prior. The man driving the SUV was Lawrence Reed, 22, who was arrested in connection to McMillian’s death. Reed was initially airlifted to a Memphis hospital, but is now being held at the Shelby County Jail in Memphis.
At the time of Reed’s arrest, the sheriff’s department did not release information on any theories about a motive, although the county coroner said he believed politics was not a factor. While Mississippi’s hate crime laws cover race, gender, and religion, it does not protect against crimes spurred by antigay bias. [emphasis added]
This absolutely reeks of a hate crime, and there is no reason to ignore it. We can’t know for sure what happened, but throwing out this extremely viable option is ignorant, irresponsible, and disrespectful to McMillian’s family and his memory. Sickening.