We read, hear, and see far more of the outrageous actions from our fellow citizens than we often think is even possible to occur. I do not think anyone would disagree with that opening sentence.
Now comes a story that echoes with the killing of Ahmaud Aubrey. It is scary, and utterly racist.
The driver, 24-year-old D’Monterrio Gibson of Utica, Miss., told the Mississippi Free Press today that he had just delivered a package around 7 p.m. on Jan. 24 when he saw a white pickup driving toward him from a nearby residence located on a connected plot of land.
“In my mind I’m thinking (the driver) is leaving to go to the store or something like that, but then they get extremely close to me and start blowing their horn,” Gibson said. “I proceed to leave the driveway. As I’m leaving the driveway, he starts driving in the grass trying to cut me off. My instincts kick in, I swerve around him, and I start hitting the gas trying to get out of the neighborhood because I don’t know what his intentions are.
“I drive down about two or three houses. There’s another guy standing in the middle of the street pointing a gun at my windows and signaling to me to stop with his hands, as well as mouthing the word, ‘Stop.’ I shake my head no, I hide behind the steering wheel, and I swerve around him as well. As I swerve around him, he starts firing shots into my vehicle.”
As Gibson drove toward the end of the street, Gibson said, one of his managers at FedEx called him, and he told her what was happening.
“They’re shooting at you?”
“OK, head back to the station as soon as you can,’” she said as Gibson recounted.
D’Monterrio Gibson provided this photo of one of the bullet holes in the white Hertz rental he was driving when he says a white man fired repeatedly at his vehicle. Photo courtesy D’Monterrio Gibson.
As he was trying to make his way out of Brookhaven, Gibson said he noticed the white pickup truck was following him from behind.
“I just went as fast as I could. He chased me all the way to the interstate,” he said.
Once he was about 10 or 15 minutes down the interstate and the white pickup was no longer following him, Gibson said he called another manager and told him what had happened. The manager told him they would file a police report the next morning.
(I can not fathom such a profoundly ludicrous comment from the FedEx manager.)
But Gibson called dispatch to report the incident himself.
“I reached dispatch and let him know what was going on, and I only had a chance to get a little of the story out when he cut me off and he was like, ‘Were you at this address?’ I said yes,” the FedEx driver said. “He was like, well I just got a call of a suspicious person at this address. I was like, ‘Sir, I’m not a suspicious person, I work for FedEx. I was just doing my job.’
“I also let him know that they shot at me, and he was like, ‘Well, they didn’t tell me that.’ Of course they wouldn’t. … He told me to save the rest of my story, and he’d take my name down and give it to my supervisor.”
Once he arrived back at the FedEx station, Gibson said, the first manager he had spoken to immediately after the gunfire examined the back of the truck.
“There were bullet holes all in the back of the van, inside packages and everything like that,” he said. Through his attorney, Carlos Moore of The Cochran Firm, Gibson shared photos showing bullet holes in the truck, in packages and a bullet lying on the vehicle’s floor bed.
The truck he was driving at the time of the incident was a Hertz rental with Hertz markings on the side, not an official FedEx truck, Gibson said, but he was wearing his FedEx uniform.
The next day, on Jan. 25, Gibson said, one of his managers traveled with him to the Brookhaven Police Department to file the police report. Moore shared a copy of the police report with the Mississippi Free Press.
“Ms. Candice Welch, said she was Mr. Gibsons boos [sic], the van had atleast [sic] two bullet holes, One in the back door and one in the bumper, and three packages inside had bullet holes in them. She also had a picture of a bullet, that is still laying on van,” the report says.
The report, by Officer Kennis Montgomery, recounts the same story Gibson shared with the Mississippi Free Press. The FedEx driver said he spoke with three police officers the day he filed it. He told the Mississippi Free Press that one white officer, whose name he did not know, asked him if he had been “doing anything to make them think (he) looked suspicious.”
(Ma’am, do you think that short dress was the reason for the sexual assault?)
“I felt disrespected at that point, because even if I did, they still can’t take the law into their own hand,” Gibson said. “So I told him all I did was my job. If they think that I was suspicious, that was on them. He was like ‘OK, I was just asking.’”
The Brookhaven Police Department did not respond today to a request for comment.
Gibson said the police chief “tried to emphasize how unracist the town (of Brookhaven) was, which seemed odd to me.” (The Brookhaven chief of police, Kenny Collins, is black). Brookhaven has a history of lynching. In 1955, civil rights activist Lamar Smith died after someone shot him on the lawn of the Lincoln County Courthouse in Brookhaven. Local police never charged any suspects with the crime.
Gibson said the third officer drove him back to the scene of the alleged shooting to look for bullet holes and invited the FedEx driver to get out of the car and help look for bullet casings, but they did not find any. He said the police told him the name of the driver of the white pickup truck was Gregory Case and that the man in the road was his son, Brandon Case.
The Cases turned themselves in at the police station on Feb. 1. Police charged Gregory Case charged with conspiracy and Brandon Case with aggravated assault. The men posted bail on $75,000 and $150,000 bonds, respectively, the next day, the Lincoln County Jail told the Mississippi Free Press.
Gibson said FedEx initially put him back on the same route after the shooting, but he resisted returning to work in Brookhaven.
“I’m actually on unpaid time-off because I told them I was uncomfortable and I was very anxious about being on that route. And they said they were going to do what they could about changing the route for me,” he said.
Moore told the Mississippi Free Press that he plans to ask the FBI and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations to open an official investigation. He also plans to ask the U.S. Department of Justice “to prosecute this as a hate crime,” he said.
“They can’t take the law into their own hands,” Gibson told the Mississippi Free Press. “We’re really just tired of stuff like this happening, always looking suspicious to a certain type of people.”
I posted the article due to the bizarre and racist nature of these white men with a gun–who apparently were not at work–feeling weakened and undermined when seeing a Black man.
And so it goes.