WASHINGTON–Three Arkansas men were sentenced Friday for burning a cross in the yard of a African-American resident.
Bradley Branscum, 23, and Tony Branscum, 26, who are first cousins, of Salado, Ark., and Curtis Coffee, 19, of Batesville, Ark., were sentenced for charges relating to their roles in the burning on Aug. 28, 2010. Tony Branscum was sentenced on Jan. 20 to 18 months in prison. Bradley Branscum and Curtis Coffee were sentenced Friday. Bradley Branscum was sentenced to seven months in prison and Curtis Coffee was sentenced today to 18 months in prison.
On Aug. 28, 2010, the three men and a juvenile constructed a cross, placed it in the yard of an African-American resident of Salado and lit it on fire. The defendants then drove away. The resident did not suffer injury, and his home was not damaged. All three men had previously pleaded guilty in this case to interfering with the housing rights of another.
“The defendants acted to instill fear because of the victim’s race,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice remains committed to protecting our communities from such violence and will continue to aggressively prosecute these acts.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by AUSA John Ray White, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Trial Attorney Cindy Chung of the Civil Rights Division.