In a story that only recently received coverage from the major media despite coming to light last summer, it was reported last week that the Jackson Police Department and the Hinds County Detention Center and Penal Farm, in Mississippi, have been maintaining and regularly adding to a mass graveyard filled with supposed “paupers.” Marked only by metal rods and hand-numbered metal placards, there are hundreds buried there with no coffins, just in black plastic bags. While the numbers go as high as 672, only 215 bodies have been exhumed so far, and those are all believed to have been buried just from 2016 to today.
The only reason the mass graveyard came to light is because of the most recent person buried there, Dexter Wade, whose mother and attorneys pressed the Jackson police until they identified his body. In his case, he had been struck and killed by a police cruiser, then buried in the graveyard despite having a medication bottle with his name on it in his pocket. A lawyer for the family told an interviewer that he actually had a wallet with him, with identification inside, but that hasn’t been confirmed. He was buried in the unmarked grave anyway, and his family was never notified, despite his mother’s calls to the police and regular social media posts desperately searching for him. Six months after the death, when it finally became clear to the police who he was and that his family was searching for him, they charged the family $275 to have his body exhumed!
For the poor, working-class, mostly Black population of Hinds County, the news of this cemetery is a chilling reminder that the police don’t care about them or their families at all. And if cops are responsible for a death, they will likely face no consequences whatsoever.