The family of Dexter Wade is demanding justice following his alleged fatal collision with a Jackson, Mississippi Police Department cruiser in March, and the subsequent burial of his body in an unmarked grave without his family’s knowledge.
In an emotional press conference held in Jackson, Dexter Wade’s mother, Bettersten Wade Robinson, expressed her anguish, saying, “My son—I never thought in a million years that he would leave me. He was my oldest son, and I wouldn’t have ever thought this would happen to him.”
Wade Robinson reported her son as missing on March 14, nine days after she had last been in contact with him on March 5. Shockingly, she only discovered on August 24—more than five months after his death—that Dexter Wade had been struck and killed by an off-duty Jackson police officer on the night of March 5 while crossing a local highway.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family, revealed that an investigator from the coroner’s office identified Dexter Wade through fingerprints and relayed this information to Jackson Police on March 9, a mere four days following Wade’s demise.
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, during his State of the City address on October 26, disclosed that Dexter Wade had no identification on his person, but he did have a prescription drug bottle. The Jackson Police Department used this information to contact Dexter Wade’s medical provider, who provided authorities with a contact number. However, this number turned out to be inaccurate, rendering any further communication impossible, Lumumba explained. Notably, this occurred before Bettersten Wade Robinson reported her son as missing. Dexter Wade’s body languished in a morgue for months before being discreetly buried in a pauper’s field.
The mayor acknowledged the failure in communication among the missing persons division, the coroner’s office, and accident investigation, leading to a lack of timely notification to the family. He emphasized that the incident had been investigated, affirming that it was an accident without malicious intent.
However, Ben Crump raised questions about why the police did not visit Robinson Wade’s residence to inform her of her son’s death. He asserted that such a notification lapse defied logic and common sense.
The Hinds County District Attorney’s Office issued a statement declaring its collaboration with the Jackson Police Department, Hinds County Coroner’s Office, and other relevant agencies to probe Wade’s death, the failure to promptly inform his next of kin, and the “irregularities surrounding the disposition of Mr. Wade’s body.” They appealed for public patience as this crucial work unfolds.
Dexter Wade’s family is urging the exhumation of his body to conduct an independent autopsy and arrange a proper funeral and burial. Currently, his grave is unmarked and identified only by a number in a pauper’s field.
Mayor Lumumba, during his State of the City address, affirmed that there had been no identification of police misconduct in this process. He termed the extended delay in notifying Wade Robinson of her son’s death as a “failure” and expressed the added difficulty of not being able to provide a proper burial for the deceased.
During the mayor’s address, Jackson Police Chief Joseph Wade, who has no relation to Dexter Wade, extended his condolences to the family, expressing his commitment to preventing similar incidents under his watch.
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Ben Crump accused the police of an alleged “cover-up” in their failure to promptly notify Robinson about her son’s death. He emphasized the need to challenge the prevailing police narrative and vowed to continue the fight for justice, declaring that they would not let Dexter Wade be forgotten or swept under the rug.