Law Center - POSTED: 2008/11/17 17:01
Protesters galvanized by a dragging death that has stirred memories of the notorious James Byrd case rallied twice outside an eastern Texas courthouse to speak out against a judicial system they consider racist.
About 60 people, led by a contingent from the New Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam, met at the Lamar County Courthouse on Monday to bring attention to the death of Brandon McClelland. The groups later returned with about 200 protesters. Afterward, dozens of people chanting "No justice, no peace!" marched to a nearby church for a meeting.
Authorities say two white suspects purposely ran over McClelland, who is black, following an argument on the way home from a late-night beer run in September. McClelland's body was torn apart as it was dragged some 70 feet beneath a pickup truck near Paris, a city about 95 miles northeast of Dallas with a history of tense relations between blacks and whites.
The death came 10 years after James Byrd was killed in Jasper, another eastern Texas town. Byrd was chained to the back of a pickup by three white men and dragged for three miles.