New York, NY — Alfred Wright, a 28-year-old Black husband and father of three from Jasper, Texas, went missing in Sabine County, an area of Texas notorious for racial violence directed against Black folks. Sabine County Sheriff Tom Maddox called off the investigation after only four-days without locating Alfred’s body, which was later found by a family-organized search party in a wooded area where police claimed they searched repeatedly with trained dogs.
The county’s autopsy has been called into question by a separate, family-ordered autopsy which found evidence of severe head and neck trauma and a “high likelihood of homicidal violence.” Alfred’s family and their supporters in Texas and across the country have lost confidence in the Sheriff’s Department’s investigation, and suspect foul play and a police cover-up.
Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org, said, “The botched investigation when the victim is Black is an old story in this part of Texas, and raises questions about the Sheriff’s commitment to good police work and justice.
Law enforcement officers often form dangerous notions about suspected drug use and nefarious or criminal activity when the victim is Black. These notions lead to a culture of police violence, impunity, and racial profiling where Black folks like Alfred are seen as undeserving of police resources, including a thorough investigation.
“Growing doubt with the official story, fueled in part by the two conflicting autopsies, have forced the Department of Justice and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to launch independent investigations into Alfred’s disappearance and death. But an investigation is not enough. Unless federal and state officials make this investigation a high priority — and dedicate the resources necessary to find the truth — the investigation, like so many others when the victim is Black, may go no where.
“Nearly 40,000 ColorOfChange.org members are demanding that the Department of Justice, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott conduct a thorough investigation into both Alfred’s d’eath and the Sabine County Sheriff’s Department’s mishandling of the initial investigation.”
Robinson continued, “Texas state officials have a responsibility to ensure that the criminal justice system equally protects Black life, and that swift action is taken to give the Wright family the answers and closure they deserve. By shining a national spotlight on the Sheriff’s mishandling of the case and pressuring state and federal authorities to uncover the truth, we can hold law enforcement to a high standard of conduct and ensure that the murders of Black people do not go unsolved.”
**VIEW PETITION HERE: http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/alfred_wright/