March 18th, 2013
11:03 PM ET

KTH: Questions about race in hit-and-run deaths

Relatives of two men killed in the same rural Mississippi county say race shaped how the police investigated. Anderson Cooper talked with Ruby Burdette Ellis and Fred Butts about how the deaths of their loved ones were handled by law enforcement.

Ellis' son, Garrick Burdette, died more than three years ago, but as CNN's Drew Griffin discovered, the police never looked into who was driving the vehicle that most likely ended his life. The sheriff's department has yet to go on the record with a reason why they didn't investigate.

Ellis says it hurts that authorities only began investigating her son's death after a CNN reporter came to her town to question police. She now believes the case will get more attention.

Last summer, Butts' brother, Johnny Lee, was run down by a young white driver who has since been charged with murder. Butts believes his brother was targeted because he was African American, and that the case should have been labeled a hate crime.

Watch Drew Griffin's original report in Panola County, Mississippi:

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