Officer Federally Charged For Planting Evidence. Re: Willie Bingham, Jr.
After two trials for manslaughter where juries hung, now retired deputy Walter Grant is not being tried by the state for killing Willie Bingham, Jr. but rather, by the federal government for planting evidence as an excuse for killing him.
It happened in Bolivar County, Mississippi, in 2013.
Deputy Walter Grant shot 20-year-old Willie Bingham Jr. in the back of the head.
Willie was suspected of breaking into cars parked outside of an auto parts plant. Grant and other officers pursued a car carrying Willie and others. The car stopped, and Willie allegedly jumped out and ran into a cotton field. Grant caught up with Willie and shot him in the back of the head.
Grant told investigators that he thought Willie had a gun. No gun was found. What was found was a baton, and allegations that Grant planted it.
In 2015, Grant was indicted on state manslaughter charges. His first trial ended with a hung jury. He was retried, and that jury also hung. After the trials, Grant retired.
State court records show that in 2016, the judge remanded the case to Jim Hood, the State Attorney General.
The family has filed a civil lawsuit accusing Grant of planting the baton. A response by the Bolivar County sheriff’s office later said the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the attorney general’s office, while investigating the shooting, concluded Grant planted the baton.
On October 25, 2017, the DOJ announced that an indictment was unsealed against Grant. The indictment charges Grant, who is 51-years old, with planting evidence at a crime scene to justify a fatal shooting, to mislead investigators into believing that Willie Bingham, Jr. possessed a weapon.
If convicted of the federal charge, Grant faces a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He has pleaded not guilty and is out on $10,000 bail.
The Mississippi NAACP, among others, called for Grant’s prosecution in the case. The New York Post reports:
“We’re just happy to know that the FBI picked up the case and we hope that justice is served,” interim state NAACP president Charles Hampton said Wednesday. “In law enforcement, whether they’re black or white, we’ve got to make sure they stop shooting our young men.”
Both Willie Bingham, Jr. and Walter Grant are Black.