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Former UM Student Sentenced to Federal Prison for James Meredith Incident

By Amelia Camurati
By Amelia Camurati

This morning in the U.S. District Court of Northern Mississippi, Judge Michael P. Mills sentenced former University of Mississippi student Graeme Phillips Harris to six months in prison for helping place the noose and the former Georgia flag with a Confederate emblem on the James Meredith’s statue last February.

Harris also has to serve 100 hours in community service for a nonprofit program. After serving the six months, he will be under supervised release for a year. He will begin serving the sentence this coming January so he may complete his classes beforehand.

On March 27, 2014, a federal grand jury indicted Harris on one count of conspiracy to violate civil rights, a charge that carried a heavy sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison, and one count of using a threat of force to intimidate African-American students because of their race or color. Harris then pleaded guilty to the latter charge on a plea agreement on June 18.

In the court documents provided by the U.S. District of Northern Mississippi attorney’s office after his guilty plea was entered this past June on intimidating African-American students and faculty at the university, Harris along with two other people identified as Austin Edenfield and Arthur McCarty were drinking at the former Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and decided to “create a sensation on campus” using a Confederate flag.

According to the court documents, Edenfield recalled Harris saying, “It’s James Meredith. People will go crazy.”

“Those who would use threats and intimidation to spread fear and hatred through our schools and workplaces should know that the Department of Justice will vigorously prosecute these cases,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “No one should have to endure threats or intimidation because of their race or the color of their skin.”

The investigation is ongoing. Austin Edenfield reportedly may face charges related to the incident.

Callie Daniels Bryant is the senior managing editor for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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