The family of an African-American man who died after being allegedly beaten by a group of white teens and run over by a truck is asking state and federal officials not to seek the death penalty in the case.

The family of James Craig Anderson asked the prosecutor to not impose the death penalty because it goes against their religious beliefs.

In a letter to the prosecutor, they explain that they would like to end capital punishment, which they say, has been historically used in Mississippi to execute African-American criminals disproportionately.

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“We also oppose the death penalty because it historically has been used in Mississippi and the South primarily against people of color for killing whites,” the letter states. “Executing James’ killers will not help to balance the scales. But sparing them may help to spark a dialogue that one day will lead to the elimination of capital punishment.”