Coahoma – Events

Denzill Turner Murder

(1951) Denzill Turner was an epileptic black man who had a seizure at a local Greyhound bus station in Coahoma County. White men claimed that he was drunk and touching white women during his seizure, which they did not understand. The police were called and, upon arrival, attempted to restrain him. Turner broke free and ran down the street where he was shot to death in the back of the head. The three policemen called to the scene were exonerated by the Justice of the Peace. The police captain refused to suspend them.

Sources:

Henry, Aaron, and Curry Constance. Aaron Henry: the Fire Ever Burning. Jackson: University P of Mississippi, 2000.

Louis Stapleton Murder

(1960) Louis Stapleton died in jail, most likely of a beating. The police claimed that he died of heat exhaustion. The matter was never resolved.

Sources:

Henry, Aaron, and Curry Constance. Aaron Henry: the Fire Ever Burning. Jackson: University P of Mississippi, 2000.

Beating of Bessie Turner

(1960’s) Bessie Turner was arrested and beaten in jail. She was humiliated in jail by police who forced her to strip and then beat her over her buttocks and genitals. Turner claimed that her arrest arose out of her attempt to register to vote in a testimony in 1965. Medgar Evers and Aaron Henry tried to get an indictment by a grand jury in Oxford for police brutality but did not succeed.

Sources:

Henry, Aaron, and Curry Constance. Aaron Henry: the Fire Ever Burning. Jackson: University P of Mississippi, 2000.