GULPORT, Miss. (AP) – A Mississippi coroner says he’s “colorblind” when it comes to spending public money at funeral homes, but attorneys for six black-owned funeral homes say two white-owned companies receive a disproportionate share.
The Sun Herald reports Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove testified Wednesday in the black-owned funeral homes’ discrimination lawsuit against the county and Hargrove.
Hargrove has jurisdiction over bodies that need autopsies, are unclaimed or are without pre-arrangements.
Plaintiff attorney David Owens said more than 80 percent of county payments from 2012-2016 went to one white-owned funeral home, where Hargrove said the county’s forensic pathologist had insisted on performing autopsies. The other white-owned funeral home received most of the remaining funds.
Owens said numbers showed black funeral homes continued to be left out after the pathologist died in 2015.