Imagine a beloved family member goes missing. You search and go to the police for help, but nothing brings you closer to finding them safe and sound. Then, months later, you're told by police exactly where you can find them -- in an unmarked grave.
This is exactly the nightmare that Bettersen Wade had to endure during the search for her son, Dexter Wade. Dexter was struck and killed by an off-duty police officer in March of 2023; his family did not find out what happened until October of the same year.Sign the petition asking that the Department of Justice conduct a complete investigation of the Jackson Police Department and find out exactly how this tragedy was allowed to happen.
Dexter Wade was a loving father to his two daughters, Johnelle and Joselyn. He enjoyed gardening and making popsicles for the kids in his neighborhood. He helped out with homeless folks in his community by handing out food from time to time.
His loved ones described him
as "sweet and loving," and lamented that his experience in and out of the prison system since his teenage years had clearly had an awful effect on him. But once he was diagnosed with and medicated for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, it seemed as though he had a safe, happy way forward.
But then, on March 5, that way forward was cut off when an off-duty corporal of the Jackson Police Department ran Dexter over as he was crossing an interstate highway. Police confirmed Dexter's identity a few days later. A couple of days after that, his mother Bettersen Wade reported him missing.
But instead of alerting Bettersen of her son's death, Jackson Police Department allowed his body to go unclaimed for months
before burying him at the county penal farm.
Dexter's death was utterly tragic. But not allowing his family to be reunited with his body, to grieve and mourn him as they saw fit, was not just sad. It was inhumane and cruel.
The Jackson Police Department seemingly made a concerted effort to cover up Dexter's death -- possibly because they are already embroiled in a legal battle over the death of Dexter's uncle, who "died after a Jackson officer slammed him to the ground."
No matter the motivations for hiding Dexter's death from his family, the Jackson Police Department must be held accountable. The Department of Justice must investigate, and keep the rest of Jackson, Mississippi safe from corruption. Sign the petition to demand justice for Dexter and the Wade family.