In fiery letter, DA refutes claims made by Ben Crump in Rasheem Carter case

In fiery letter, DA refutes claims made by Ben Crump in Rasheem Carter case
In fiery letter, DA refutes claims made by Ben Crump in Rasheem Carter case(Associated Press/WLBT)
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 6:13 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A district attorney is criticizing the words of a high-profile attorney representing the family of Rasheem Carter, alleging the attorney seems to be attempting to “inflame public opinion.”

The fiery statement from District Attorney Chris D. Hennis comes days after a press conference hosted by attorney Ben Crump, which centered around a supposed fourth set of remains being found “near” where previous remains of Carter were found.

So far, three sets of Carter’s remains have been discovered.

Carter was last seen in October of last year in Laurel, which is about half-an-hour from where he had been contracted to work in Taylorsville.

According to District Attorney Hennis, this fourth set of “remains” that Crump spoke of was discovered nearly 25 miles from where the other remains were found.

One day after Crump’s press conference on May 11, it was confirmed by the Mississippi Crime Lab that the fourth set of remains were actually animal bones.

“There was never any reason or evidence to suggest that the bones found in Simpson County, Mississippi, were related to Rasheem Carter’s case,” the letter by the DA states.

In Crump’s May 11th press conference regarding Carter, he criticized the handling of the case by officials, saying, “[There is] no excuse for bystanders coming, showing video to the family, and the officials not having the dignity and respect to notify the family immediately and say, ‘We found more human remains in the vicinity where your son’s head, and spinal cord, and other remains were found.’”

Hennis pushed back on these claims, saying that when the latest set of bones were originally found, officials notified the family on May 4, telling them they they were likely animal bones.

Crump has repeatedly made the claim that Carter was “lynched.” In an op-ed for MSNBC, Crump wrote that, “There should be no doubt that this was an act of murder, a hate crime — and a Mississippi lynching.”

Crump has made a national name for himself, representing the families of both Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, and George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The cause of the 25-year-old’s death remains undetermined, according to the Smith County Sheriff’s Department. However, those close to Carter claim he was being threatened by people he knew before his disappearance and subsequent death.

“Mr. Crump’s statement questioning my office and law enforcement’s dignity and respect towards Rasheem Carter’s family by not notifying them of new remains was not only completely baseless, it also appears to be callously made to inflame public opinion,” Hennis wrote.

Since Carter’s disappearance, Hennis said, hundreds of man hours have been spent investigating the case.

He also wrote that, “Unlike Attorney Ben Crump, my office, as well as law enforcement, has a responsibility to the Carter family, and to the public, to base the investigation on facts and evidence developed during the investigation, not on reckless speculation and conjecture.”

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