Mistrial declared in case of men accused of shooting at Black FedEx driver

A Mississippi judge has declared a mistrial in the trial of a white father and son who allegedly chased and shot at a Black FedEx driver in January 2022.

The judge made the declaration on Thursday, citing mistakes made by a detective at Brookhaven police department.

A grand jury indicted Gregory Charles Case and his son Brandon in November 2022 for attempted murder and conspiracy when they shot at D’Monterrio Gibson while he was delivering a package in the Junior Trail neighborhood. Prosecutors say Gregory Case used a white pickup truck to block Gibson’s van from leaving a dead-end road, and Brandon entered with a gun. When Gibson fled, shots were fired. Gibson was not injured.

The shooting, just an hour south of the state’s capital of Jackson, sparked outrage on social media. Gibson’s attorney, Carlos Moore, likened his client’s case to that of Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot and killed in Georgia in 2020 after three white men chased him down. They were sentenced to life in prison on murder charges and face another trial on federal hate crime charges.

In February 2022, Moore called for a federal hate crime investigation into Gibson’s shooting. The justice department told the Associated Press that they received a request to look into the case. Moore has also requested an investigation into Brookhaven police for misconduct.

The trial against the Cases ended earlier than anticipated after Brookhaven detective Vincent Fernando said under oath that he failed to give prosecutors and defense attorneys Gibson’s videotaped statement to police. Fernando also wrongly testified about guns and shell casings in and around one of the Case’s homes, the Associated Press reported.

Judge David Strong heard a motion from Case’s defense attorney and accepted it, adding of the errors by the detective: “In 17 years, I don’t think I’ve seen it.”

A new trial is not expected to take place until next year.

Earlier this year, Gibson filed a civil lawsuit against FedEx, the city of Brookhaven, the city’s police chief and the Cases for $5m in damages, accusing the company of “intentionally discriminating” against him when they put him back on the same route after the shooting and “intentionally inflicting emotional distress”. The lawsuit also accused the city and police chief for “deliberately” delaying the investigation and arrest of the Cases.

Last week, a judge dismissed Gibson’s lawsuit for failing to show that FedEx discriminated against him. Moore told the Associated Press he plans to file another suit in state court.

After the judge’s decision to dismiss the trial on Thursday, Moore told reporters that the mistrial “represents not just an administrative setback but also a delay in justice for Mr Gibson and his family”. He added that it was “concerning” that Brookhaven police withheld a “crucial piece of evidence” and believes it fits into a “pattern of obstruction” by Brookhaven police.

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