(Reuters) - A University of Mississippi student has been indicted on civil rights charges accusing him of draping a noose and a Confederate flag around the neck of a statue of the school's first black student, U.S. prosecutors said on Friday.
Graeme Phillip Harris conspired with others on Feb. 16, 2014, to hang a rope and an old version of the Georgia state flag featuring the Confederate battle symbol around the neck of the school's statue of James Meredith, prosecutors said.
Meredith braved white segregationist mobs in 1962 to integrate the school in Oxford, Mississippi.
Harris is charged with 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, prosecutors said.
“This shameful and ignorant act is an insult to all Americans and a violation of our most strongly-held values,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
"By taking appropriate action to hold wrongdoers accountable, the Department of Justice is sending a clear message that flagrant infringements of our historic civil rights will not go unnoticed or unpunished.”
(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Will Dunham)