Civil rights attorney Ben Crump asks the FBI to investigate Jelani Day’s case as a hate crime.
Day, a 25-year-old black student, was reported missing in August and found dead in the Illinois River days later.
Crump’s remarks were made at a press conference in Chicago on Friday with members of Day’s family.
National civil rights lawyer Ben Crump calls on the FBI to investigate the death of Illinois State University graduate student Jelani Day as a hate crime.
At a press conference in Chicago, Illinois on Friday, December 3, alongside Carmen Day, Jelani’s mother, Crump said they “demand that the United States Attorney General direct the FBI to investigate on this case as a hate crime investigation because none of it adds up. “
Day, a black man, was reported missing by his family in late August. Authorities said the 25-year-old’s body was discovered in the Illinois River days later on September 4. A local coroner determined that Day had drowned, although officials indicated “the manner in which Mr. Day entered the Illinois River.” remains unknown.
Family members have always asked for more answers and raised questions in Day’s case. In an interview with Insider’s Ashley Collman in October, Day’s brother Seve said he was not convinced the body he saw was Jelani. Carmen Day previously said she believed her son had been murdered and, during the press conference, stressed that the family “was losing faith” in local authorities.
Crump also said Day’s case had not received the same attention or resources as Gabby Petito, 22. Experts told Insider that missing people of color are not “focused” on national media coverage.
“If this was your child, would you accept what the local police are trying to tell this mother?” Said Crump. “We can’t say just because he’s a young black man that we’re going to let them sweep his death under the rug and we’re not going to give him the dedication and attention we give to white kids like Gabby Petito who caught the world’s attention. “
Crump added: “They were determined to get answers for this family. Why is it that when someone is black and they are missing, they are not taken seriously? And they try to l ‘erase like they killed themselves. We won’t accept it. “
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