Racial tension flares in Paris, Texas during rally over the dragging death of Brandon McClelland

by Jesse Muhammad

In a time when many Americans are caught up in the euphoria of a seemingly post-racial America, a crowd of Black and White protesters squared off in words during a rally in Paris, Texas on July 21 over the dragging death of Brandon McClelland.

The demonstration headed by members of the New Black Panther Party, the Nation of Islam, and local Paris activists was countered by Nazi flag waving White skinheads and reportedly a few KKK members sprinkled amongst the crowd but not in their white sheet attire.

The KKK members did not live up to the pre-media hype that had law enforcement on high alert.

The attempt by Lamar County officials to establish "protest zones" was thwarted when each opposing side decided to meet head on in the dividing streets. The heated demonstration drew the likes of a surrounding helicopter, sheriffs, and state police in full riot gear.

The Blacks, numbering nearly 200, called for a "street trial" being that this was originally the date set for the trial of formerly accused Shannon Finley, who was released along with Charles Crostley last month. The two White males were initially charged with dragging McClelland over 70 feet under a pickup truck down a Lamar County road leaving several of his body parts dismembered. But special prosecutor Toby Shook dismissed the charges.

Both sides screamed "Black Power" and "White Power" back and forth. No punches were exchanged and one member of the skinheads was arrested for reported disorderly conduct.

"I am happy to see people still coming out to support", said Jacqueline McClelland, mother of Brandon. "I am going to continue to fight this until the end."

Before tension flared, Black protesters heard words from members of the McClelland family, residents who shared other cases of injustice, a Paris preacher, Krystal Muhammad, Brenda Cherry, Jimmy Blackwell, and Deric Muhammad. Also in attendance was Hashim Nzinga.

(Look for more coverage of this rally in an upcoming edition of The Final Call Newspaper.)

(Sheriffs stand in between Black and White protesters as they shout at one another)

(A member of the White skinheads is arrested)

(State police arrive on the scene in full riot gear)

(Jacqueline McClelland (l) with Deric Muhammad)

(Black protesters go outside their "protest zone" to square off White protesters)

(Several White skinheads wave their Nazi flags)

(A member of the New Black Panther Party on watch)

(Jimmy Blackwell of the Tarrant County LOC)

(Keyon Mitchell Sr speaks about the plight of his son)

(A member of the McClelland family sends a message)

(A local preacher speaks)

(Deric Muhammad of the Nation of Islam speaks)