U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson on Tuesday joined the National Black Justice Coalition in demanding the federal government investigate the slaying of openly gay, black Clarksdale mayoral candidate Marco McMillian as a hate crime...Mississippi’s hate-crime law covers race, religion and gender but not sexual orientation. Local and state agencies can seek assistance to pursue a federal hate crime, which does cover homosexuality, but they haven’t done so in this case.
Sheriff’s Department spokesman Will Rooker said the agency isn’t investigating the murder as a hate crime. The FBI didn’t immediately return a call for comment.
McMillian, 33, was beaten, dragged and set afire before his body was found Feb. 27 near the Mississippi River, according to a statement the family issued late Sunday...Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department charged 22-year-old Lawrence Reed of Clarksdale with the murder. Although authorities have provided no public information about a possible motive, it reportedly appeared to have stemmed from an unwanted sexual advance that McMillian made toward Reed.
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