Numerous tweets by alleged murderer James Edwards from the past year show the young man’s dislike, even hate, of white people. In what is perhaps the most damming tweet , Edwards writes, “90% of white ppl are nasty. #HATE THEM.” Going by his own statement, Edwards literally hates white people. Chris Lane was white, and was very possibly targeted because of his race. The question now is can and should James Edwards be charged with a hate crime?
It’s hard to get much information on the subject of hate crimes with whites as the victim. Search results for the topic bring up a bunch of white-supremacist sites; those tend to not make great sources. The law itself stems from 1968’s Civil Rights Act and permits federal prosecution of anyone who "willingly injures, intimidates or interferes with another person, or attempts to do so, by force because of the other person's race, color, religion or national origin."
By that reading, in order for prosecutors to charge Edwards with a hate crime, they will need to prove that Edwards killed Chris Lane primarily because he was white. Going for such a case may not prove worth for Oklahoma prosecutors.
There’s also the fact that one of James Edwards’ alleged accomplices is white himself.
Many other Edwards tweets, posted from the Twitter handle “@JAMESAKABUG”, paint a negative image of the young man. James Edwards tweets about drug use and states it is, “time to start taken life’s”.
These past seven days have been historically punishing for alleged criminals on Twitter. The tweet in which Edwards threatens murder was posted just before he and two others allegedly murdered Chris Lane. This tweet may be the final piece of evidence needed to guarantee that these three alleged murderers don’t stay “alleged” for much longer.