Axel Cox, a 23-year-old man, has been detained and charged with burning a cross in front of a Black family on the grounds of race and hurling racial epithets at them.
In order to intimidate his Black neighbors, the Mississippi man burned a cross in his front yard, according to a federal hate crime charge filed against him on Friday by the U.S. Justice Department.
Cox was accused of using fire to conduct a federal offense and one count of criminal interference with the right to fair housing.
Records indicate that on December 3, 2020, Cox burned a cross in front of a Black family out of animosity. He allegedly used racial slurs when speaking to the family, the records indicate.
The Gulfport man, according to the prosecution, infringed on the housing rights of his neighbors. Cox is also charged with breaking provisions of the 1968 Civil Rights Act. According to the 1968 Rights Act, it is unlawful to interfere with anyone’s right to housing on the basis of race.
Cross burnings, according to Vangela M. Wade, head of the Mississippi Centre for Justice, are reminiscent of the open racism of the Jim Crow South.
A grand jury indicted Cox in September, according to AP. Prior to his initial court appearance on Friday, court documents were disclosed. Cox was ordered held without bond by Judge Robert Myers until the jury trial, which will begin on November 7.
If found guilty, Cox may be sentenced to several years in jail and pay a $250,000 fine for each offense.