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Arkansas Men Sentenced in Cross Burning Case

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A group of three southerners had the idea to construct a large wooden cross, bring it to the yard of a local African-America resident of Arkansas, and light the cross on fire before driving away; now the three have been sentenced to 18 months in prison, the FBI announced in a statement on Friday.

Bradley Branscum, 23, and Curtis Coffee, 19, of Batesville, Ark., were sentenced for charges relating to the Aug. 28, 2010 crossburning incident. Tony Branscum, 26 and first cousin to Bradley, was sentenced on Jan. 20.

The African America resident was not injured, according to the FBI, and there was no damage to his home. Still, the defendants had pleaded guilty to interfering with the housing rights of another, says the FBI.

“The defendants acted to instill fear because of the victim’s race,” Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, said. “The Department of Justice remains committed to protecting our communities from such violence and will continue to aggressively prosecute these acts.”


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