James Brazier

Background

On August 20, 1958, James Brazier’s father was arrested and beat by a Dawson County police officer on a charge of driving under the influence. James Brazier protested his fathers arrest and was subsequently arrested at his home by Officer “X” for interfering with an arrest. Brazier resisted and was violently subdued by several officers in front of his wife, children and several neighbors.  Brazier’s 10 year old son pled with the officers to stop beating his father. “X” kicked Brazier twice in the groin, slammed the car door on his legs, threw a hat full of sand onto his bloody face, and drove off.

A police report attributes these words to Brazier: “When I first entered the door of the jail, “X” hit me on the back of the head and knocked me down and said, ‘You smart son-of-a-bitch, I been wanting to get my hands on you for a long time.’  I said, ‘Why you want me for? “X” said, ‘You is a nigger who is buying new cars and we can’t hardly live.  I’ll get you yet.’”

Brazier died five days later at a hospital in Columbus, GA, from brain damage and a fractured skull.

Legal Status

Chief of Police Howard L. Lee, County Sheriff Z.T. Matthews and other officers that helped in the Brazier beating were never charged for their involvement in his murder. In 1957, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a five volume report. The Brazier matter is included in Volume Five.