A former Mississippi cop has been indicted for evidence tampering after shooting a man in the back of his head and placing a weapon next to make it appear that the victim was armed, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.
Walter Grant, 51, was a sheriff’s deputy in Bolivar County, Miss. when he killed Willie Bingham Jr. on March 12, 2013. Grant approached Bingham and a group of men for allegedly breaking into a car. Bingham and the men fled in a vehicle and Grant pursued. Bingham’s vehicle stalled and he ran into a cotton field. Grant caught up to Bingham and fired, killing the 20-year-old.
Grant then allegedly placed a wooden baton next to Bingham’s body in an effort to make it appear that Bingham had a weapon when he fired, the DOJ said.
Grant has denied planting the wooden baton and said he believed Bingham had a gun. Investigators found that Bingham was not armed.
Mississippi state prosecutors charged Grant with manslaughter in 2015. He has been tried twice in state court but both trials resulted in a hung jury.
Bingham had no prior criminal record prior to the shooting, according to the Mississippi NAACP, which has advocated for charges against Grant. Both Bingham and Grant are black.
Grant has since retired from the Bolivar County Sheriff’s Department.