Race in America: White Veteran Kills Black Man in NYC to 'Make A Statement'

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A New York City Police officer patrols near the World Trade Center in New York City, New York, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Updated 3/27, 4:30 p.m. EDT:  James Harris Jackson, who turned himself in after stabbing to death a black man in order to "make a statement," will be charged with a hate crime, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced Monday. The DA's office released a statement that Jackson, who killed Timothy Caughman, an African-American man, would be charged with one count each of murder in the first and second degrees "as an Act of Terrorism," and murder in the second degree "as a Hate Crime." He will also be charged with three counts of weapons possession.

“James Jackson prowled the streets of New York for three days in search of a black person to assassinate in order to launch a campaign of terrorism against our Manhattan community and the values we celebrate,” Vance said. "We must never take for granted New York’s remarkable diversity."

The official statement noted that the charges filed are allegations, "and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty."

Original story: A white Army veteran traveled from Maryland to New York City to kill a black man to "make a statement" in the media capital of the world, New York Police Department officials said Wednesday. James Harris Jackson, 28, turned himself in at a Manhattan police station after he stabbed his victim on a sidewalk. 

Jackson was carrying a handful of knives in his pocket when he arrived at the police station, Reuters reported. Shortly after coming across Timothy Caughman, who was searching through garbage on the street, he stabbed him in the chest and back, police said.

Jackson told police he left Baltimore Friday and traveled to New York City by bus "because it is the media capital of the world and he wanted to make a statement," Bill Aubrey, a deputy chief at the New York Police Department, told reporters. "It was revealed that the attack on Timothy Caughman was clearly racially motivated. It is believed that he was specifically intending to target male blacks."

Jackson, who was deployed by the U.S. military to Afghanistan, faces murder charges. Video footage showed him fleeing after the stabbing while dressed in a black coat.

Caughman, 66, died at a local hospital where he was being treated for his injuries. On his Twitter page, he called himself a “can and bottle recycler” and “autograph collector.” He lived in transitional housing for people with HIV/AIDS, the New York Daily News reported. He went by the nickname "Hard Rock," 

The Southern Poverty Law Center has warned non-whites living in the U.S. about potential hate crimes. “The country saw a resurgence of white nationalism that imperils the racial progress we’ve made," said Mark Potok, senior fellow and editor of the report, in a recent statement about racial attacks in 2016.

New York police have not linked Jackson to any group.