Authorities have arrested a father and son in Mississippi after the two were accused of attacking two Black teens Sunday night. The two men allegedly chased the teenagers with their their 4-wheeler all-terrain vehicle (ATV), rammed the teens’ ATVs and tried to shoot the teens.
Now the District Attorney is looking into the possibility of charging the men with a hate crime for their actions.
The incident began Sunday night, when the two teenagers were out riding their ATVs on a well-known back road used for the activity. However, a father and son duo, both White, reportedly attacked the teens.
Sheriff Jacob Sheriff told local news station WLBT:
“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.”
Glad they are being charged. Sad that our kids have to go through this.
— 👋🏾 my name is… (@gift_4000) September 29, 2020
People like this should be put away for a very very long time https://t.co/q2sKi76UB2
— RJ Friday (@Rjfriday392) September 29, 2020
What is wrong with these people? Who brought them up? I can't believe they are Americans! They go against everything we stand for.
— Hope Madison (@hopemadison226) September 29, 2020
The line "I pay taxes" has become an excuse for shooting blacks on ATVs driving on your property?
— David Belisle (@DMBelisle) September 29, 2020
The Twiners defended their actions claiming they were within their rights as landowners. They told authorities they owned land on both sides of the back road and paid taxes, so they shouldn’t have to deal with people riding ATVs on the public road.
It is against Mississippi state law for ATVs to be used on public roads except to get to and from trails or off-road locations. However, there is no punishment listed in the state’s statutes for this violation.
One of the victims spoke to WLBT and said they weren’t even close to the Twiner’s residence. The Sheriff added no one else was ever assaulted by the Twiners in the same way, despite many other people using the same stretch of back road for ATVs.
It’s this distinction that has many calling this a hate crime.
Will White America accept that this is no different than wealthy white South African Farmers killing any Black they want? We. Are. A. Violent. Apartheid. State. The bill is past due on US race crimes & a great price will be paid.#Enough #BLMhttps://t.co/xTDGzI0YZr
— jerry quickley (@jerryquickley) September 29, 2020
And this has always been in the underbelly of this country, but now has come to the surface. Let me make this clear I don’t blame Trump for these peoples Racial behavior but what I do blame Trump for is he has made it OK. https://t.co/nISmERRmoK
— i Cant Breath (@LindaCampanell9) September 29, 2020
This is what happens when u ignore actions of William Roddy Bryan & father/son team Travis McMichael & Greg McMichael — AKA Ahmaud Arbery Killers
— @OneJurorMatters (@OneJurorMatters) September 29, 2020
They look like they’re murderously upset Black people exist. https://t.co/78cz2NKX1P
— Atman (@Atmvn) September 29, 2020
The victim told WLBT when he closes his eyes he can still hear the gunshots and the jarring of the Twiner’s own ATV four wheeler hitting his ATV.
His mother said this has been difficult. Her son was shot at and almost run down for the crime of driving his ATV on a back road where many other people do the same thing.
“It was kind of difficult last night since it was the first night it happened, so we just have to take it step by step, day by day to see how it plays out.”
While the Twiners have been charged with three counts of aggravated assault, whether or not they’re charged with a hate crime remains to be seen. The men have their bond set at $70,000 and have court appearances this week.