March 2017

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

« Haggard and gay marriage | Main | Springfield as Iraq »

Nov 05, 2006

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

meblogin

Why do you think the juries of twelve each found them not guilty?

Was it a hung jury or were all 12 in each case in agreement to find the accused not guilty?

Jill Foster

Hi Ed - You've probably already viewed this but here's a link to Andy Coon's documentary related to that day entitled 'Greensboro's Child' (http://www.greensboroschild.com/). Apparently there have been a few public and televised screenings of this as well. Take care ... Jill F.

Lex

"This is truth: Nobody should be shot dead in the street and have their killers go unpunished."

No, this is truth: A minority of Americans -- but, I think, quite a substantial and vocal one -- believes that some people espouse beliefs so annoying that it's quite OK for physical harm to come to them without any obligation on the part of society in response. We've seen it over decades w/r/t union organizers, we see it w/r/t the CWP members, and we've seen it within the past week w/r/t liberal blogger Mike Stark, attacked by some of Sen. George Allen's retainers.

As a kid, I got my ass kicked quite a bit just for mouthing off, but my parents, teachers, ministers, coaches, Scout leaders, etc., always assured me that the grownup world didn't work that way. Of course, up to a point, they also assured me there was a Santa Claus.

meblogin

Maybe it does not matter that 2 juries found the "killers" not guilty.

Don't get me wrong...I was amazed and sickened by the not guilty verdict then and now. Apparently 24 people disagreed. Should we ignore them?

Mick

Am I wrong... Did'nt some or all of the CWP folks refuse to testify during the trial? Does that not make a diff to anybody.

If true, I see the Prosecution has somewhat hindered. I may not have made a diff but we will never know now.

sean coon

mick, check out this clip regarding the prosecution being hindered. the circumstances of the trials were complex to say the least.

meblogin

Does anyone believe that if a shooting like this took place today in Greensboro that the court outcome would be the same? I don't.

John D. Young

On page 414 of the T&R Report Bob Peters, one of the Commissioners, quotes the Judge in the first trial -- "He (Judge Long) concluded that there was enough evidence to convict as well as evidence to acquit."

Bob Peters, himself an attorney, said in his Concurring Opinion that he did not have the benefit of the courtroom testimony nor the full arguments of the excellent defense attorneys. However, he felt that the self-defense strategy that proved successful in both criminal trials should have lead to at least a man-slaughter conviction. Especially since it can be argued the Klan/Nazis violated the law by using excessive force in defending themselves.

By reading Judge Long's statement to the T&R Commission one can also begin to understand how the jury reached its decision. In Judge James Long’s statement before the Commission dated 8/26/05 he said:

“As I indicated earlier, the FBI was able to determine the precise location of the weapons which fired each of the shots related to this incident. The prosecutors were reluctant to introduce any of the evidence because it concluded shots were fired from both sides of the street and that the evidence might lead jurors to believe testimony of the defendants that they were acting in self-defense.”

“The analysis of the gunshot location was preformed by FBI specialist Bruce Koenig. His experience was analyzing sound recordings. Those videotapes contained the sounds of gunshots and the various echoes from those shots. By magnifying the shot sounds, and the various echoes and timing the elapses of time between the shots and the several echoes, he could determine where the shots were fired from if he knew the location of the TV camera which recorded the sounds, and the location of any building, trees of other objects which would cause an echo. In a truly heroic effort to determine the location from which the shots were fired, a team of FBI specialists obtained a survey of the neighborhood showing the exact location of camera positions and all echo causing building or objects and spent more than one and one half man years of time plotting possible sources of gunfire in a trial and error process until the locations of the gunshots and all the echoes matched perfectly the sound recording on the videotape. By this process, FBI Agent Koenig was able to pinpoint the precise location from which all 39 shots were fired. When called to testify by defense attorneys, he testified that 18 of the 39 shots were fired from the positions occupied by demonstrators, including three shots that occurred during the stick fight between demonstrators and Klansmen, just before the videotape showed Klansmen abandoning the stick fight to get their guns.”

Judge Long continues later in his statement in response to a question:

“I think if you slow it down (videotape of Nov. 3rd) it will show that someone in the first vehicle way down there beside that school bus fired a black powder pistol up in the air and you can see the ring of smoke coming up from the muzzle of the gun. Now that shot was the first shot, and the second shot came from that same location, but apparently the second car in that pileup and if I’m not mistaken that shot is also recorded because the cameras were trained down the street. Somebody with a long gun got out of the vehicle and fired a shot up in the air, apparently thinking that if two warning shots were fired, that if one or more warning shots were fired, then everyone would calm down and give up the fight. But then he said, Agent Koenig said, the third shot was fired four and a half seconds, or 4.1 seconds after the second shot and it came from the area north along Carver Street, which was occupied by demonstrators. The forth shot, which came less than a second later, also was pinpointed from the area along Carver Street in the position occupied by demonstrators. And the fifth shot, he said, came approximately four and a half seconds later also from the area north along Carver. And then , some nine seconds later, gunfire started east on Everett Street near the van and the Fairlane automobile that was seen, and so the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh shots were fired from the area of the van and the Fairlane. And the twelfth, fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, twenty-first and 24th shots, he said, were fired from positions occupied by demonstrators.”

Judge Long's complete statement to the Commission is at --

http://www.greensborotrc.org/long.doc

It needs to be added that on page 190 (also more on 272 and 273) of the T&R Report that the Commission concluded that they, unlike all three trials, found Bruce Koenig testimony unreliable: "...we find the multiple revisions by the FBI of it own testimony make it unreliable evidence."


sean coon

@meblogin - if a similar event were to take place in greensboro today, ripe with the same degree of build-up between two polar opposite groups, i'd hope that:

1) police would be present to serve and protect
2) if such a violent, murderous event unfolded, the internet would play a part in holding individuals and municipalities accountable to justice.

meblogin

I hope, pray and believe that you are right Sean.

John, great work and thanks.

Jill Williams

John,
"Trials" do not conclude that testimony is either reliable or unreliable. Juries make decisions on the charges and may make a decision about the reliability of testimony, but those are internal conversations. Furthermore, your recounting of Judge Long's public hearing statement above does not include the other information about Koenig's testimony included in the report -- namely that Koenig's testimony changed through the trials. So yes, indeed, he did say what Judge Long recounted, but he also offered contradictory testimony that shots 3-5 came from the front of the caravan where Klan and Nazi caravan members were. I am not sure how the Commission could have done anything but determine that Koenig's testimony was unreliable.

Of Koenig's testimony, Jim Coman (part of the prosecution team in the state murder trial) said:

I was outraged at what he did. I wrote the FBI and told them Koenig was a perjurer and should be disciplined, and I never even got a letter back . . . Even if the Klan claimed self-defense because of provocation by the CWP banging on cars, we believed the response was grossly excessive. The Klan were the ones who introduced shooting into the equation, so they were responsible for the firearms being used. The CWP had guns too, we knew that. But they didn’t fire first. But that’s where we got screwed by Koenig … In my view, he lied to us. He told us before the trial that the first two shots happened at the front of the caravan where the Klan was. But he winds up changing his testimony … Koenig gets on the stand and draws a big box around the entire caravan and says this is where shots 3, 4 and 5 came from. Then when we come back from lunch, he all of a sudden draws this little bitty box in front of the truck in the intersection and said 3, 4 and 5 came from there, where the CWP were. But you can’t see anything on the video because the pickup truck is in the way. So Bob Cahoon can then say that shots 1, 2 from Mark Sherer at the front of the caravan, which you can see on the video – they didn’t mean anything. They were “friendly shots.” They can say, “Our guys were shooting from the back of the caravan because they (the CWP) were firing back from shots 3, 4 and 5.” And that’s how they fell on this defense theory. Before that, it was all this patriotism stuff, not self-defense. I was flabbergasted. We were stuck with what he said because we couldn’t rebut him (because the CWP didn’t testify that they had not fired those shots).

John D. Young

Jill, My point in quoting Judge Long above was to show that the juries agreed that Koeing's testimony was important. That was clearly the opinion of Judge Long in the first trial.

The CA

"As a kid, I got my ass kicked quite a bit just for mouthing off, but my parents, teachers, ministers, coaches, Scout leaders, etc.,"

Obviously, it didn't work.

It's good to know you think so highly of the people in Greensboro, Lex.

The comments to this entry are closed.