Anthony Hill (Photo: The Newberry Observer)
Newberry, SC (WLTX) - The New Black Panther Party was in Newberry County Thursday demanding justice and equality in the murder investigation of Anthony Hill's death.
Investigators say Hill was killed by 19-year-old Gregory Collins accused of shooting Hill in the head, then dragging his body for more than 10 miles.
The group says investigators need to make this a federal case and investigate it as a hate crime. They say if the tables were turned and a black man killed a white man, investigators would treat the case differently.
"We are here to say this will not be hid under a rock! [sic]" shouted Minister Hashim Nzinga at a press conference in Newberry County Thursday.
Nzinga says the New Black Panther Party wants justice in Hill's Murder case, a killing he believes was a hate crime.
"You watch who they put in office and make sure they represent this case as a federal hate crime, and make sure they move fast on this case, so you won't have to worry about stopping at a BP service station or leaving the chicken plant and somebody blowing your head off and dragging you down the street by a rope," Nzinga said.
The New Black Panther believes the issue of race played a part in Hill's death.
"We didn't like the sheriff saying it's not a hate crime. That's totally ridiculous for him to even say that out of his mind and his head, when he knows he went to the crime scene and this 19-year-old kid had over 20 assault weapons stockpiled, and we know for a fact there was rebel flags and there was signs of white supremacy in his house," he added.
But Major Todd Johnson with the Newberry County Sheriff's Department says they haven't released what was inside Collins's house.
"Nothing inside the residence has been released for the integrity of the investigation, which is common practice," Johnson said. While johnson agrees the case is gruesome, he says investigators are doing all they can in the same name of justice.
"I don't think anyone would say this is okay, but I think the community has come together very well in coping and condemning this act. And I think law enforcement and the community has come together to bring this man to justice," Johnson added. Johnson disagreed with the activists, saying Collins is being prosecuted.
"He is in jail. He is being charged certainly at the state level if not farther, depending on what our investigation brings forward. Snd so, I think it would be a mischaracterization to say that he's not being prosecuted," Collins said. Right now, deputies are looking into the relationship between Hill and and Collins.
They have yet to say if Hill's death was the result of a hate crime, but The New Black Panther Party plans to continue their message of equality.
SLED, FBI and The Department of Justice are also working on this case.
Meanwhile, The New Black Panther Party is organizing a march against hate crimes in Newberry County, Saturday, June 26.
The Newberry County Sheriff's Department is asking you to contact the department if you'd like to help the family or have information on the case.