Jesse Jackson, White House Tepid Responses on Lane Murder Spur Race Debate

Image: Jesse Jackson, White House Tepid Responses on Lane Murder Spur Race Debate Jesse Jackson, left, and Josh Earnest.

Thursday, 22 Aug 2013 10:24 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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The murder of Australian Christopher Lane by three "bored" Oklahoma teens last week has set off a firestorm of controversy about what role race played in the shooting, and now the White House and Rev. Jesse Jackson are taking heat for their treatment of the crime.

Prosecutors say the teen suspects shot and killed Lane "for fun" Friday while he was out for a jog in Duncan, Okla. Lane, 22, of Melbourne, Australia, was in the U.S. attending Oklahoma's East Central University on a baseball scholarship.

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"They saw Christopher go by, and one of them said: 'There's our target,'" Police Chief Danny Ford told reporters Monday. "The boy who has talked to us said, 'We were bored and didn't have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody.'"

Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and 15-year-old James Francis Edwards Jr. were charged with first-degree murder, while 17-year-old Michael Dewayne Jones, who police say drove the getaway car, was charged with using a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon and with accessory to first-degree murder after the fact.

James Johnson, the man who called police on the alleged shooters, spoke out this week, saying he believes the crime was not "for fun," as reported, but a gang initiation. He says the three youths once tried to recruit his own 17-year-old son to join, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Supposed racist tweets from one of the suspects, Edwards, were also revealed this week.

"90% of white ppl are nasty. #HATE THEM," one posting read, according to the Daily Caller.

"Ayeee I knocced out 5 woods since Zimmerman court!:)" another said.

"Woods" is reportedly a derogatory slang term for white people.

White House 'Not Familiar' With Lane Murder

Meanwhile, White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday he was "not familiar" with the Oklahoma teens' thrill kill.

Fox News' Ed Henry questioned Earnest about the murder and President Barack Obama's opinion on it during a press briefing Wednesday, but Earnest said he had not heard about the shooting.

"I'm not familiar with that actually," he said before Henry explained it to him. "This sounds like a pretty tragic case. I wouldn’t want to get ahead of the legal process here and it’s clear that law enforcement officials are involved and are investigating."

Henry then pressed him on why Obama chose to comment on the Trayvon Martin case but not the Oklahoma one.

Earnest's comments sparked outrage from Twitter users and conservative pundits alike.

Jesse Jackson: Violence 'Frowned Upon'

Rev. Jesse Jackson also stirred debate with a tweet posted Wednesday.

Many conservative media outlets criticized Jackson's tweet for being tepid.

"A young black person gets shot while assaulting a Hispanic person, and we're back to the days of Emmett Till," the Daily Caller wrote. "A young white person gets shot because he jogged past a black person’s house, and it's 'frowned upon.'" 

Twitter users were similarly outraged by Jackson's response to the murder.

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Related stories:

Malzberg: Bored Teens' Murder of Christopher Lane Raises Race Issues

Shooting Death of Black Teen Puts Florida Law Back Under Spotlight

Black Friend Defends Shooter of Florida Teen  

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