Black FedEx driver D’Monterrio Gibson, 25, is seeking $5 million in damages in a lawsuit a year after he reported that two white men in Brookhaven, Miss., chased and fired a gun at him while he was out delivering packages.
He filed the federal civil lawsuit on Friday, Jan. 20, against FedEx; the City of Brookhaven; Brookhaven Police Chief Kenny Collins; and Brandon and Gregory Case, the father-son duo who he said chased and shot at him on Jan. 24, 2022, in Brookhaven’s Junior Trail neighborhood.
The lawsuit before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi includes accusations of “intentional racial discrimination” against FedEx. In it, Gibson accuses Collins of “civil assault and battery” and “civil obstruction of justice.” The lawsuit also accuses Brandon Case and Gregory Case of “civil assault and battery” and “general/gross negligence.” Gibson is accusing all defendants of “negligent/intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
A Lincoln County grand jury indicted the Cases on Nov. 15, 2022, for attempted murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and for shooting into a motor vehicle. The Cases, who are out on $500,000 bonds, are awaiting a criminal trial scheduled for later this year after pleading not guilty to the charges in November 2022.
“We believe FedEx acted as they did based on racial discrimination,” Attorney Carlos Moore, who represents Gibson, told the Mississippi Free Press on Monday. “We don’t believe they would’ve sent a white man back to the job the very next day had two Blacks attacked him on the job.”
In a statement FedEx provided to the Mississippi Free Press yesterday, the company said, “We strongly disagree with the claims made against FedEx and will defend the lawsuit.”
“FedEx has a diverse workforce, and our focus in the aftermath of the incident was to support Mr. Gibson,” the statement said.
The lawsuit accuses FedEx of “subjecting him to disparate treatment because of his race, by attempting to coerce him into delaying filing any charges with the Brookhaven Police Department, by attempting to force Plaintiff to work the same route where the traumatic incident of January 24th, 2022, took place, and by demanding more than once that Plaintiff return to work following the January 24th, 2022, incident.”
Gibson Accuses Police Chief of ‘Assault’
City of Brookhaven Attorney Bobby Moak declined to comment on the litigation on Monday. “We’ve not been served with a copy of the lawsuit, we don’t comment on pending litigation, and we speak through our response and our actions in filing,” he told the Mississippi Free Press.
Brandon Case’s attorney, Dan Kitchens, did not reply to multiple attempts to reach him by phone and email on Monday and Tuesday. Gregory Case’s attorney, Williams Scruggs, said, “I have no comment,” when the Mississippi Free Press reached him by phone Tuesday.
In an interview, Gibson’s attorney, Carlos Moore, alleged that “Chief Collins obstructed justice and added unnecessary delay in presenting the file to the district attorney so that the Cases could be indicted.” He told the Mississippi Free Press that the “10-month delay” in the indictment “was very unnecessary.”
In his Jan. 20 lawsuit, Gibson also accused the police chief of assaulting him. “Chief Collins assaulted Plaintiff at the peaceful rally after the shooting,” the lawsuit alleges.
The Mississippi Free Press asked Collins for comment on the allegations in the lawsuit, but he did not respond to repeated attempts to reach him, including voicemail messages on Monday and Tuesday morning.
The lawsuit says that after Gibson reported the incident to the police on Jan. 4, 2022, “Defendant City and Chief Collins did not make an arrest until much later.”
“In fact, Defendants City and Chief Collins gave Defendants Case time to turn themselves in, which was eight (8) days later,” the lawsuit says. “Defendants Case were only in custody for approximately one (1) hour.”
“Defendant Chief Collins Chief Collins (sic) deliberately and intentionally delayed the presentation of critical evidence and documentation pertinent to the incident on January 24th, 2022, for nearly ten months, and failed to properly investigate the crime,” the lawsuit continues. “As a result, the process of securing justice for Mr. Gibson has been upheld for several months, as well as, the upgrade to the criminal charges against Defendants Brandon and Gregory Case.”
‘The Cases Think They Own Junior Trail’
“In the recording, Collins says that before the incident with Gibson, the Cases attacked other people on the same road, Junior Trail, where Gibson delivered his packages,” Mother Jones Senior Reporter Samantha Michaels reported. “‘They think they own the whole street,’ Collins said of the Cases, mentioning white residents who were allegedly harassed or assaulted by them, including a family named Steele.
In the recording, Collins mentioned other local residents who allegedly had run-ins with the Cases, saying the father-son duo “ran” one family’s “asses off of Junior Trail” and alleging they were “pulling guns and shooting these cars down there.” The police chief also claimed the Chases confronted a white former Brookhaven alderman, Mother Jones reported. “The Cases think they own Junior Trail,” Collins said in the recording.
The police chief, who is Black, also expressed doubts about whether the Cases had racial motivations. “I don’t see how it’s going to be a hate crime, but I thank God it’s not my decision to make,” he said at the end of the recording.
The lawsuit described the continued effects of the January 2022 incident on Gibson.
“As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant FedEx’s unlawful discriminatory (conduct) in violation of 42 U.S.C. §1981, Plaintiff has suffered and continues to suffer financial and economic damages as well as severe mental anguish and emotional distress, including but not limited to, depression, stress and anxiety, loss of sleep, and emotional pain and suffering,” the lawsuit says.
“The conduct of the Defendants was a substantial factor in causing Plaintiff’s serious emotional distress; including but not limited to: anguish, fright, horror, nervousness, anxiety, shock, humiliation, and shame that an ordinary, reasonable person would be unable with which to cope. Plaintiff is also suffering from severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the negligent or intentional actions of Defendants.”
Moore told the Mississippi Free Press that Gibson “is still having difficult days.”