Ruston, Louisiana, Man Sentenced for Federal Hate Crime
WASHINGTON– Robert Jackson, 37, of Ruston, La., was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison for placing a hangman’s noose under the carport of the home of a Honduran immigrant who moved to Ruston from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Jackson was also sentenced to one year of supervised release upon his release from prison. Today’s sentence was handed down by U. S. Magistrate Judge Karen L. Hayes in Monroe, La.
Jackson entered a guilty plea on June 24, 2010, to violating the Fair Housing Act by intimidating and interfering with another’s housing rights because of race. According to court testimony, the victim and her children arrived home on June 13, 2008, and found a hangman’s noose suspended from a bird-feeder underneath the carport of her home. Jackson admitted that he hung the noose in order “to send a message” to African-American males who visited the victim’s home.
“A noose is an unmistakable symbol of hate in our country, and using this symbol to intimidate a family will not be tolerated.” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute those who resort to violent acts motivated by hate.”
“When a noose is used to interfere with federally protected rights, it is a crime which will be prosecuted by this office” said Stephanie Finley, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. “The victim and her family sought nothing more than to live in their home peacefully. Everyone should feel safe in their homes without being subjected to hateful acts.”
The case was investigated by the FBI, Monroe Resident Agency; and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Mudrick and Trial Attorney Myesha Braden of the Civil Right Division of the Department of Justice.