Two white men, a father and son, have been arrested in Yazoo County, Mississippi after a disturbing display of racism unfolded Sunday night. WLBT reports that the two alleged criminals ambushed two Black teenagers as the two alleged victims were out driving ATVs on a road commonly used for such activities. According to the mother of the teens, the father and son fired guns at them and rammed into the back of one of the ATVs.
“Not only did they shoot at him, they also ran into the back of his four wheeler, and that could also have been murder right then and there,” she explained.
Wade Oscar Twiner and Lane Twiner, the alleged aggressors, notably chose not to harass or attack anyone else riding an ATV in the area. It’s further worth noting that the two teenagers were the only Black individuals using the road that day. Based on these simple facts alone, it seems self-evident that there was a racial motivation for the attack. Sheriff Jacob Sheriff stated that authorities and the District Attorney’s office are exploring whether or not the incident could constitute a hate crime.
The Twiners tried to defend their indefensible behavior by stating that since they own land on either side of the road and pay their taxes they have a right to prevent people from driving ATVs in the area, which they claim is illegal. It’s worth noting again that no white ATV drivers were accosted by the Twiners. It appears they think this “right” of theirs only applies to terrorizing Black children.
“Wade Oscar Twiner and his son Lane Twiner pursued them and tried to stop them and to shoot them and bump them with the four wheeler, so they were charged with aggravated assault,” Sheriff Jacob Sheriff said.
WLBT spoke to one of the alleged victims and he described the ways in which the attack haunts him. He stated that if he closes his eyes he can still hear the gunshots ringing out and can remember exactly how it felt when then Twiners’ truck rammed into his ATV. He can recall what it looked like as the men were shooting at him and that the entire experience has made it difficult for him to get any sleep.
While this incident thankfully ended without bloodshed, it serves as a sobering reminder that racism is a violent, powerful force in many parts of this country. It falls to all of us to remain vigilant and root out bigotry wherever we see it.
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