In late September 2022, Rasheem Carter moved to Taylorsville, Mississippi to start a new lumber contracting job. But his life quickly took a dark turn — before its brutal ending. On October 1, the 25-year-old called his mother to tell her he was afraid for his life as he was being harassed and followed by a group of white men in three pickup trucks, yelling racial slurs at him.
The young Black man made it to the police station and, according to his mother, told them he feared for his life. He also asked for a ride home to the Super 8 motel he was staying at in Laurel, about 22 miles away. (It may sound far to some, but in rural Mississippi it’s not unusual to have to drive that far from town to town.) The Taylorsville Police Department confirmed to HuffPost that Carter asked for a ride — and that they rejected his request because they were not a “taxi service.” They deny the father-of-one ever mentioned fearing for his life.
Eventually Carter calmed down his mother by sending her a message saying, “I’m good, Mama.” It was the last she’d hear from him. She called the police and reported him missing the next day. She told HuffPost:
“I called them and reported that my son was missing, I had not talked to him, and it was strange that we didn’t talk.”
Without a police escort he never made it back to the motel that evening. And he wasn’t found for another month — until November 2 when cops found his remains in a wooded area close by the Taylorsville station. He didn’t make it far at all.
What happened to him? The Smith County Sheriff’s Office, which has been handling the investigation, released a statement on November 3 saying:
“At this time, we have no reason to believe foul play was involved, but the case is still under investigation.”
The autopsy weeks later, by the state medical examiner, found “no pathological conditions or significant skeletal trauma” and ended up listing the cause of death as “undetermined.” The M.E. noted the advanced decomposition made it difficult to be sure about anything.
Considering the phone call and him going to the police right before, the family was understandably skeptical. But they knew they weren’t getting a fair look from the system. So they took their case to civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump. They took possession of Carter’s remains and had an independent autopsy performed. What they found was truly shocking.
In a news conference this week, Crump revealed to reporters that Rasheem had been “dismembered.” The remains found were skeletal, but they told a story. His spine was broken into parts and found separate from the rest of his body — and his head was “severed”. Crump said it was clear this was a willful, forceful act:
“They have recently found remains that they believe are also Rasheem Carter at another part of where he went missing, and what that tells us is this was a nefarious act, an evil act. Someone murdered Rasheem Carter, and we cannot let them get away with this.”
Even the advanced decomposition that impeded Mississippi’s medical examiner so much is hard to explain. It had only been a month, the remains weren’t underwater. It’s quite a lot of decomposition without a chemical accelerant of some kind.
To add to the murder theory, the family also provided news outlets with a grab from a deer camera in the woods on October 2 that caught Rasheem apparently running away from something, shirtless and bruised.
Carter’s family believes what many are probably thinking, looking at all this evidence — that this was a “lynching.”
It’s unthinkable that this still happens in the 21st century, but it can when law enforcement are willing to look the other way. According to the Washington Post, since the year 2000 there have been 8 suspected lynchings of Black men, some teens. Those are just the ones we’ve heard about. Across the board there’s been consistent accusations of racist practices in the investigations by local police.
Related: Bryan Kohberger Is OBSESSED With TV Coverage Of His Murder Case
Speaking of which, Smith County Sheriff Joel Houston told Insider this week there’s been no evidence found this was a homicide. He says the state of the body could “very easily” have been caused by animals after his death — which he’s not convinced was caused by a person at all. He also pointed out there’s no one else in the photo in which he’s supposedly running, and the bruises could just be shadows. He added:
“There is nothing being covered up. There is nothing being swept under the rug. There’s nothing to hide.”
We guess they figure it was just a coincidence that a healthy young Black man in Mississippi died in the middle of the woods, right after being so scared by a group of white men that he asked the cops for help? Do we have that right?
For more on the independent investigation, see what Crump said at his press conference (below) — but be warned, some of the images are extremely disturbing:
Originally published at perezhilton.com