Civil rights attorney Ben Crump announced on Monday that he intends to request an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department into the delayed notification of a woman’s son’s death in Jackson, Mississippi. Bettersten Wade last saw her son, Dexter Wade, on March 5, and she filed a missing-person report a few days later. However, it was not until late August that she learned her son had been killed by an off-duty police officer driving a Jackson Police Department SUV on Interstate 55. The incident occurred on the same day she last saw him.
According to NBC News, Dexter Wade was buried in a pauper’s cemetery near the Hinds County Penal Farm in Raymond before his family was informed of his death. Crump stated that he and other attorneys plan to petition the court to have Dexter Wade’s body exhumed for an autopsy and to ensure a proper funeral.
During his State of the City speech, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba acknowledged Wade’s death, stating that it was determined to be an accident with no malicious intent. Crump, however, criticized the handling of the case, alleging that the Jackson Police Department failed to promptly contact Bettersten Wade despite multiple requests from the coroner. Crump also noted that Bettersten Wade had previously filed lawsuits against the department following her brother’s death in a police encounter in January 2019.
In that case, George Robinson, who had been hospitalized for a stroke and was on medication, was allegedly pulled from a car, body-slammed, and struck by Jackson officers. He died two days later from bleeding on his brain. One of the officers, Anthony Fox, was convicted of culpable negligence manslaughter in August 2022, while charges against two other officers were dropped. Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch has since sought to overturn Fox’s conviction.
Crump highlighted Bettersten Wade’s concerns about receiving fair treatment in Mississippi, given her previous experiences and ongoing wrongful-death lawsuit. He emphasized the need for transparency and accountability in investigating her son’s death.