Tonight on AC360: Mississippi hit and run a hate crime?
January 16th, 2013
07:05 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Mississippi hit and run a hate crime?

61-year-old Johnny Lee Butts enjoyed his morning ritual, a four mile walk in Panola County, Mississippi. But this past July, Butts, an African-American, was killed during this walk by a white teenager behind the wheel of a car. Law enforcement insists race was not a factor. But Keeping Them Honest, exclusive reporting by CNN raises question about the role race may have played in the killing.

18-year-old Matthew Whitten Darby was the white teenager behind the wheel of the car that hit Butts. Darby is charged with murder, but not a hate crime. Butts’ family and many African-Americans in the community claim the District Attorney and white law enforcement in the county aren’t doing enough to investigate why Butts was run over.

Tonight on 360, the DA responds to those accusations. And you’ll hear the grand jury testimony from two other teens in the car with Darby that July morning. Join us at 8 and 10 p.m. for this report by CNN’s Drew Griffin.

UPDATE Watch Drew Griffin's investigation:

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Tori M

    This is stupid. There is no evidence that this was race related. The son said he doesn't understand why it happened if it wasn't race. How about because the kid was drunk and full of rage? Even if the kid is a grand dragon with the kkk, it's not a hate crime unless he outwardly expresses that he is doing it because the poor man was black.

    How about offering African Americans some real equality and admitting that not every black man killed by a white man is a hate crime. Not every white person who kills a black person is racist. In fact, of those murderers, I'd bet most are just crazy.

    January 18, 2013 at 1:13 am |
  2. Monica M.

    I think their trying to cover this up and more should be done. If they get away with this, then they will do more.

    January 17, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
  3. John G.

    Cheryl....it says he is being tried for murder as well as he should be.....so what other just wold you suggest...just curious? But for the community to keep on assisting they need to investigate if it was a hate crime is asinine. The man is dead and the kid is being tried for murder leave it alone and let the man rest in peace and the family have some closure.

    January 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  4. Edward

    I watched this and I watched the reaction of the boys and honestly i have to say that the community have a right to be outraged about this....I honestly think this had alot to do with race and I really believe that everybody in the vehicle had something to do with it even thought they wasn't behind the wheel....I so believe justice maybe served but I dont think the full course will be handed out, just appetizers....i think a full investigation needs to be in order by an outside agency and I think alot of things will come to light.... Just my thoughts....

    January 17, 2013 at 9:53 am |
  5. pat

    These kids are acting the way their parents and the local law has taught them it's OK to act.

    January 16, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
  6. Cheryl j

    How are these kids being raised that they have no respect for the human race? This just makes me sick that they think they can get away with running into and killing a man out on his daily walk. These kids need to be held accountable and tried as adults for murder. The authorities need to step up to the plate and perform their jobs and not be racist bigots that they appear to be. Johnny Butts deserves justice for this senseless killing!

    January 16, 2013 at 9:03 pm |