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Racial groups clash over Texas Black man’s death

Cyril Josh Barker | 4/3/2014, 1:03 p.m.
Racial tensions are taking shape in the aftermath of the mysterious death of Alfred Wright in Texas.
Alfred Wright

Racial tensions are taking shape in the aftermath of the mysterious death of a Black man in Texas.

The case involves the death of Alfred Wright state and law enforcement have ruled the cause to be a drug overdose. However, Wright’s eyes, tongue, left ear and several teeth were reportedly missing when his body was found, leading his family to believe foul play was involved.

A recent rally led by the New Black Panther Party resulted in a clash with white supremacist residents in Hemphill, Texas. Dozens of people gathered in front of the Sabine County Courthouse for the rally along with members from the National Black United Front. The incident required local law enforcement to get involved.

Demonstrations have taken place in an effort to keep Wright’s situation from fading away. Many people believe that his death was a hate crime. After a 19-day search, Wright’s family found his body 25 yards from the liquor store where he was last seen.

“They say they found three drugs in Alfred Wright’s body,” leader Quanell X said at the rally. “Why don’t you come out and tell everybody what we already know, Sheriff [Tom] Maddox, that your son is the biggest meth dealer in Sabine County? Why haven’t you prosecuted your own son, Sheriff Maddox?”

During the New Black Panther rally, leader Quanell X is shown on a video getting into a confrontation with white resident Nathan Ener. The organization says it wants answers from the Sabine County Sheriff on what really happened to Wright.

Wright’s family has since started the Alfred Wright Education and Justice Foundation. The organization will educate and advocate for people who experience injustice within the justice system and provide scholarships to individuals who are graduating students and pursuing a career in physical therapy.

“As of this day, no one from law enforcement has ever come and asked us any questions about the day we found Alfred’s body,” said Alfred Wright’s father, Douglas, at a recent church service. “Sheriff Tom Maddox and his friends don’t have a care in the world about getting down to the bottom of what happened to our son.”

Concerning the New Black Panther Party rally, the Wright family said in statement that they do not promote violence and that they are not affiliated with any organization.

In response to the New Black Panther Party being in town, many white residents have reportedly called the presence unnecessary. Several New Black Panther Party members came to the rally armed with images of Black men wearing masks and holding guns that have appeared in local media.

On Facebook, Ener said that a “peaceful” rally will take place with several white supremacist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, Redneck Mafia and Sacred Bones Society, to demand the same treatment and rights the New Black Panther Party has.

“We will all have weapons also. There won’t be any foul language used; there won’t be any threats to anyone,” he said.