JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) -- A man has been indicted on federal civil rights charges connected to a noose being put on a statue of the African-American student who integrated the University of Mississippi, the U.S. Justice Department said Friday.
The noose, a symbol of the era when African-Americans were commonly lynched, was placed on the James Meredith statue on the campus in Oxford in February 2014. In 1962, Meredith had to be escorted by armed federal agents as he became the first black student admitted to the university known as Ole Miss under court order.
The Justice Department said in a news release Friday that Graeme Phillip Harris of Georgia has been indicted on one count of conspiracy to violate civil rights and one count of using a threat of force to intimidate African-American students because of their race or color.
"This shameful and ignorant act is an insult to all Americans and a violation of our most strongly-held values," Attorney General Eric Holder said in announcing the indictment.
"No one should ever be made to feel threatened or intimidated because of what they look like or who they are," Holder said.
Harris, who is white, was an Ole Miss student when the noose was placed on the statue.
It wasn't immediately clear whether Harris had an attorney to contact for comment.
A university spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.