The mother of a JPD crash victim wants answers

The mother of a JPD crash victim wants answers

On Monday, Dexter Wade’s mother was finally able to say goodbye to her son.

The 37-year-old, who suffered from mental illness, was wandering across I-55 on March 5 when he was struck and killed by an off-duty officer driving a Jackson police cruiser. Jackson police did not release the officer’s name.

Wade’s mother, Petersten, repeatedly called police to see if they had found her son, who had disappeared days before his death. They told her they couldn’t find him.

But the family’s attorney, Ben Crump, said Wade’s wallet, which contained an ID card with his home address, was found in his jeans. “There is no excuse, not even incompetence, for not notifying a relative of the death of the man who has been identified,” he said in a statement.

After his death, Wade was buried in a pauper’s cemetery, where graves were marked with numbers rather than names. It wasn’t until August that his mother finally learned what had happened. His body was exhumed last week and buried Monday at Cedarwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Jackson.

The story made national news.

Last month, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba called it an “unfortunate and tragic incident,” but at a memorial service Monday, activist Al Sharpton called it a farce.

“This could have been my son,” Sharpton told those gathered at New Horizons Church in Jackson. “Maybe that was your son.”

Sharpton said his life “did matter, and we’re going to make it matter all over this country.” “We are here to demand justice for Dexter Wade.”

Crump pointed to the discovery of the wallet as evidence that “there was a concerted effort to conceal the truth and manner of his death from his family.”

Some are calling for a federal investigation, including U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. “The regime owes Mr. Wade’s family an explanation for the cruel way in which his sudden death was mishandled,” he said in a statement.

Jackson City Councilman Kenny Stocked apologized Monday to the family, and Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens says his office is reviewing the case.

The disaster worsened last week when his mother asked to be present when his body was exhumed, but the authorities went ahead without her.

In 2019, her brother, 61-year-old George Robinson, died after Jackson police officer Anthony Foxx was accused of hitting him in the head and knocking him to the ground. Fox, who was named Officer of the Year in 2014, was found guilty of criminally negligent manslaughter and sentenced to five years in prison.

The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office is now asking the state Court of Appeals to overturn Fox’s conviction. “Fox could not have reasonably anticipated that death would likely come from a daily effort to subdue a resistant and non-compliant suspect using conventional non-lethal means,” the office wrote.

“They had to exhume (slain NAACP leader) Medgar Evers to get justice” in 1994 when his killer was finally convicted, Crump said. “They had to exhume Dexter Wade’s body to get justice.”

According to the Hinds County Coroner’s Office, it was about 8 p.m., two hours after sunset, when Wade attempted to cross the southbound lanes of I-55 on March 5. The officer beat him, and the coroner ruled the death accidental. The autopsy found methamphetamine and PCP in Wade’s system.

Upon seeing the prescription bottle bearing Wade’s name, the coroner’s office contacted Hinds Behavioral Health Services, which confirmed he was a patient and provided the mother’s name and phone number, according to the coroner’s notes.

But when the deputy coroner tried to call, there was no answer, according to records. But Wade’s mother says she never received a call.

According to records, a deputy coroner checked with Jackson police several times, and when no one claimed the body, Wade was buried on July 14 at the Hinds County Penal Farm.

Wade suffered multiple blunt force injuries to his skull, ribs and pelvis, according to preliminary findings by pathologist Dr. Frank Peretti, Crump said. The accident also severed Wade’s left leg.

His mother told those present: “Keep fighting with me, because it is not over yet.”

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