A Mississippi Republican judge has been indicted on an assault charge after striking a mentally disabled man and hurling racial slurs at him last spring at an event in Canton, Miss.
The Clarion-Ledger reports:
[Madison County] Justice Court Judge Bill Weisenberger turned himself in to the Madison County sheriff Thursday, according to a spokeswoman with the Attorney General’s office. He was released on $10,000 bond…
If convicted, the charge of simple assault against a vulnerable adult carries a fine of up to $1,000 or up to 5 years imprisonment, or both. The charge against him is a felony.
The charge comes after the family of a 20-year-old African-American man, Eric Rivers, filed a police complaint against Weisenberger after the May 8 incident at a flea market. He reportedly slapped Rivers and yelled “Run, n–ger, run,” the report says.
“From the beginning of this matter, Judge Weisenberger, has cooperated with each law enforcement and investigatory agency that wanted to know what actually occurred at the Canton Flea Market last spring,” an emailed statement from Weisenberger’s lawyer, Bill Kirksey, said. “Judge Weisenberger has denied and continues to deny any wrong doing or the commission of any crime against any person.”
Questions abound about why prosecutors took so long to present the case to a grand jury.
Kirksey said the AG’s office allowed four grand juries to come and go before presenting the case.
Madison County Supervisor Karl Banks said last month the slowness was costing taxpayers as Weisenberger is still being paid his annual salary of $45,700, though he voluntarily stepped down from the bench.
Rivers was not the only alleged victim to land in Weisenberger’s crosshairs, including one man who was hit with a nonexistent charge of “roaming livestock,” the report says.
He is accused of imposing an illegal DUI sentence against an African American in his courtroom. The Attorney General’s office said it could not confirm or deny whether it was investigating that matter, though District Attorney Michael Guest said it had turned the matter over to the AG’s office.
Weisenberger also had a lawsuit filed against both him and the county in November. The attorney for Charles Plumpp said Weisenberger arrested and jailed her client, who is African American, on the nonexistence charge of “roaming livestock.”
Weisenberger qualified last month to run for re-election for the position he has held since 2011 and a trial date in the Rivers case has been set for June 8.