One such case took place on June 26, 2011, when a group of white teenagers pulled up their cars at a motel parking lot in Jackson, Mississippi, and attacked an African-American man named James Craig Anderson for no apparent reason.
Out of what they termed as “fun,” the teens assaulted the man, chanting “white power.” They even stole his belongings, including phone and a wallet, before running him over while leaving the premises. The assault killed Anderson.
Now, five years later, four of the men, who are now in their 20s, will pay financially for their actions. They were ordered to pay $840,000 in compensation to Anderson’s estate. This specific amount is the estimate of what Anderson would've earned through his lifetime wages.
The men — Dylan Butler, Deryl Dedmon, John Rice and William Montgomery — will also serve seven to 50 years in prison for the brutal, racially charged murder. While the amount is supposed to be paid by all four of them collectively, some of them might pay more than the others, depending on what they can afford.
The money is meant to help Anderson's family, which includes a partner and a son, according to Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
"Although no amount of money will ever be able to account for the true value of James Craig Anderson's life, we hope that this restitution will help ease the burden on his family," Gupta said.
It is comforting to know that some action is finally being taken against the numerous hate crimes that take place against the black community. While a number of incidents have been pushed under the carpet, and in other cases the offenders were let go without charges, it is indeed a step in the right direction for the authorities finally standing up for the rights of African-Americans.