A Mississippi man who died after being struck by a police SUV was buried in a pauper’s cemetery months before his family was even told of his death — despite having his state ID and health insurance card in his pocket, according to civil rights attorney Ben Crump.

Dexter Wade, 37, died after he was hit by an off-duty Jackson Police Department officer while crossing Interstate 55 in Jackson on March 5, according to authorities.

But his family, who filed a missing person’s report just days after they last saw him on March 5, say it took local officials until August to notify them of his death.

By then, the father-of-two had already been buried in the cemetery for months.

Wade’s relatives have now accused authorities of trying to cover up the manner of his death and are calling on the Justice Department to investigate, their attorney, Crump, said Thursday.

Dexter Wade, 37, died after he was hit by an off-duty Jackson Police Department officer while crossing Interstate 55 in Jackson on March 5.
Facebook / Bettersten Wade
Wade’s body was exhumed earlier this week and an independent autopsy was carried out by a medical examiner.
AP

“The fact that Dexter had a state identification card and several other identifying items shows us that there was a concerted effort to keep the truth and manner of his death from his family,” Crump said.

“There is no excuse, not even incompetence, for not notifying a next of kin of an identified man’s death.”

The items were discovered in the pocket of the jeans Wade had been buried in after his body was exhumed earlier this week. The address on Wade’s ID card found in his wallet matched that of his mother, Bettersten Wade, Crump said.

“If they had a wallet and knew where his address was, why didn’t they just visit his address when he was laying out on the freeway and come get me so I could have seen my son?” his mother said, according to NBC News.

“I could have gotten a last glimpse of my son. I could have been there, since they had all that information. And what took them so long after they had all that information just to come to my door, just to knock on my door?”

Wade’s relatives have accused authorities of trying to cover up the manner of his death.
Facebook / Bettersten Wade
Wade’s mom, Bettersten Wade, says she wasn’t informed of her son’s death until August — several months after he died.
AP

A subsequent independent autopsy carried out by Dr. Frank Peretti, at the family’s request, found that Wade had suffered multiple blunt force injuries and his left leg had been amputated.

His body had also not been embalmed before he was buried, Peretti concluded.

The Hinds County coroner’s office said it called a number listed for Wade’s mother at the time, but didn’t hear back.

Wade’s mother, however, insists she never received the call.

The coroner’s office also told Jackson police multiple times to contact Wade’s mother, Crump said.

City officials, including Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, have said the communication breakdown was an accident and that there was no malicious intent.

An autopsy found that Wade had suffered multiple blunt force injuries and his left leg had been amputated.
AP

“The accident was investigated, and it was determined that it was, in fact, an accident and that there was no malicious intent,” Lumumba said last month.

Crump, as well as Rep. Bennie Thompson, whose district includes most of Jackson, have since called for the DOJ to probe Wade’s death.

The Jackson Police Department and the Hinds County Coroner’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

With Post wires

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