Walter Grant, a former sheriff's deputy of Bolivar County, Mississippi, is accused of planting a weapon on a victim that he allegedly shot during a pursuit. According to a release from the Department of Justice, the 51-year-old Grant planted a stick or baton close to the body of Willie Bingham Jr. (20) so as to justify having shot the young man in the back of the head in 2013. Both the sheriff and the victim are black Americans.

Grant retired after the incident. The indictment was unsealed on Wednesday.

Law enforcement officers suspected that Bingham was part of a group of criminals who were breaking into cars outside of an auto parts plant. After Grant told investigators that he believed Bingham was armed with a gun, no gun was found. Despite being tried twice for manslaughter in 2015, no jury was able to reach a verdict in either case.

The Mississippi NAACP has called for prosecution of the case. According to AP,  “In law enforcement, whether they’re black or white, we’ve got to make sure they stop shooting our young men,” said interim state NAACP president Charles Hampton.

If Grant is convicted of the alleged crime, he may face as many as 20 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty and is out on $10,000 bail.

According to a statement from the Department of Justice, Grant’s case is being investigated by the Jackson Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the cooperation of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert Mims of the Northern District of Mississippi and Trial Attorney Dana Mulhauser of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.   



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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