NEWBERRY — Racial tension simmered to the surface of a town meeting Thursday night as law enforcement officials answered questions about their handling of the June 2 killing of a black man whose body was dragged for miles along a country road.
Cheers, applause and catcalls repeatedly erupted from the crowd as people vented frustration that Anthony Hill’s death has not been labeled a hate crime. The outrage has been fueled by the New Black Panthers, a black activist group that is planning a July 17 march in downtown Newberry.
“This is a Ku Klux Klan thing when you drag somebody 11 miles behind a truck,” county resident Steve Bouknight said to loud cheers and applause.
Law enforcement officials said they had not ruled out federal hate crime charges, but they must complete their investigation before reaching that conclusion.
Gregory Collins, 19, has been in jail on murder charges since Hill’s death.
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