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Terrence Crutcher Killer Gets a Walk

Yet another odd one from the courts. This one in my view, definitely falls under “The New Jim Crow”.  I am not familiar with the statutes in the State relative to murder, so this could be an issue of “overcharging” – but I cannot understand why this murderer wasn’t held culpable. At least under a lesser charge.

Tulsa police officer found not guilty in shooting of Terence Crutcher

Officer Shelby was acquitted by a jury in the shooting of unarmed black man Terence Crutcher

Tulsa police officer Betty Jo Shelby was acquitted of first-degree manslaughter after shooting and killing unarmed black man Terence Crutcher last year. The jury of nine white people and three were black people acquitted Shelby after nine hours of deliberation on Wednesday night, according to NPR.

The shooting took place last September and was captured on video which shows Crutcher with his hands above his head as he walks towards his vehicle that is stalled in the middle of the road. Aerial footage of the shooting was also taken by Shelby’s husband, a Tulsa police officer who was operating the department’s helicopter that evening.

Shelby said that she used lethal force because she feared for her life as she believed Crutcher attempted to reach into a car to, presumably, grab a weapon. The officer arrived at the scene where Crutcher’s car was stalled in the middle of the road, and a witness who dialed 911 claimed a man was running away from the vehicle delivering warnings that it may explode, according to CNN. Shelby testified that Crutcher was not complying with her commands to make his hands visible and that she had acted only as she was trained to. Shelby also said Crutcher was sweating and claimed that she had smelled PCP.

“We’re not trained to see what comes out of a car,” she said according to CNN. “We’re trained to stop a threat, and by all indications, he was a threat.” At the same time that Shelby shot Crutcher, another officer next to her deployed his taser.  An autopsy report found that PCP was in Crutcher’s system at the time of the shooting, according to CNN.  However, no weapon was ultimately found on his person or in the vehicle.

When asked if the outcome of the incident was Crutcher’s own fault, Shelby replied, “Yes,” in a “60 Minutes” interview. “I have sorrow that this happened, that this man lost his life. But he caused the situation to occur,” Shelby said “So in the end, he caused his own,” death.

The ruling delivered a devastating blow to the family who believed that Shelby should have faced consequences for her actions. “Let it be known that I believe in my heart that Betty Shelby got away with murder, and I don’t know what was in the mind of that jury,” Crutcher’s father said, according to NPR.

The incident is the latest in a string of shootings of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement across the country. Officers have seldom been convicted of crimes. Critics say that Shelby, who is white, overreacted and used unnecessary force. Protesters gathered peacefully outside the courtroom shortly after the verdict, condemning the decision, according to CNN.

“No justice, no peace, no racist police!” the crowd chanted.

Leaders in Tulsa, Oklahoma have urged for peace after the verdict. “This verdict does not alter the course on which we are adamantly set,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said in a news conference, according to the Associated Press.

“It does not change our recognition of the racial disparities that have afflicted Tulsa historically. It does not change our work to institute community policing measures that empower citizens to work side by side with police officers in making our community safer.”

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Tulsa Cop Who Shot Terrence Crutcher Charged With Manslaughter and Arrested

Wow! That was quick.

Tulsa officer who fatally shot Terence Crutcher charged with first-degree manslaughter

The white Tulsa, Okla., police officer captured on video fatally shooting an unarmed black man on a city street will face first-degree manslaughter charges, Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler announced at a news conference.

The prosecutor filed the charges against officer Betty Shelby on Thursday, a full six days after multiple cameras showed her shooting 40-year-old Terence Crutcher as he stood beside his  stalled sport-utility vehicle. Moments earlier, cameras had captured Crutcher walking away from Shelby with his hands in the air.

“The tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Crutcher are on the hearts and minds of many people in this community,” he said, according to NBC affiliate KJRH. “It’s important to note that despite the heightened tensions felt by all, which seemingly beg for an emotional response and reaction, our community has consistently demonstrated the willingness to respect the judicial process.”

“I do not know why things happen in this world the way they do,” Kunzweiler added. “We need to pray for wisdom and guidance.”

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin released a statement saying she hopes the charges provide “some peace to the Crutcher family and the people of Tulsa.” The statement also urges the public to remain patient and remember that officer Shelby is innocent until proven guilty.

“No matter how you feel about the prosecutors’ decision in this case, I hope Oklahomans will respect the views of your friends and neighbors because we still have to live peacefully together as we try to make sense of the circumstances that led to Mr. Crutcher’s death,” the statement added.

Video shows Crutcher walking toward his vehicle with his hands above his head while several officers follow closely behind him with weapons raised. He lingers at his vehicle’s driver’s side window, his body facing the SUV, before slumping to the ground a second later.

“Shots fired!” a female voice can be heard yelling.

Tulsa police say Crutcher did not have a gun on him or in his vehicle.

After Crutcher is hit, footage shows his limp body lying on the roadway beside his vehicle. Officers appear to wait more than 2½ minutes before approaching Crutcher while he bleeds in the street.

The footage does not offer a clear view of when Shelby fired the single shot that killed Crutcher. Her attorney has said Crutcher was not following police commands and that Shelby opened fire when the man began to reach into his SUV window.

Shelby’s attorney, Scott Wood, told the Tulsa World that Shelby opened fire and another officer used a stun gun when Crutcher’s “left hand goes through the car window.”

Wood told told the Tulsa World earlier in the week that when his client arrived at the scene, several minutes before the camera footage begins, she found Crutcher’s vehicle in the middle of the road with the engine on and the doors open. Shelby, he said, wasn’t “really sure what [was] going on,” Wood said.

Shelby thought Crutcher was behaving like someone under the possible influence of PCP, Wood told the World, noting that Crutcher ignored the officer’s commands to stop reaching into his pockets. Shelby feared Crutcher might have a gun in his pocket, because people carrying weapons repeatedly touch their pockets to confirm the weapon is still there, Wood added.

Shelby, he said, had already checked the driver’s side of the SUV when Crutcher approached her from the east. At that point, the attorney said, a backup officer arrived and drew his stun gun. Wood said the stun gun and service weapon were fired simultaneously.

Police told the Associated Press that Shelby had a stun gun but did not use it.

A warrant has been issued for Shelby’s arrest, Kunzweiler said Thursday, and arrangements were being made with her lawyer for her surrender to the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department. Shelby, who was hired in 2011, had been placed on administrative leave with pay.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Another Cop Murder of An Unarmed Black Man in Tulsa

Here we go again…Another BS situation…Another cop murder of a unarmed innocent man.

 

Oklahoma Officer Fatally Shoots Unarmed Black Man In Alarming Video

The man appears to be walking with his hands above his head.

The Tulsa, Oklahoma, police department on Monday released several videos showing last week’s fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white female officer.

Terence Crutcher, 40, was shot and killed Friday after officers responding to an unrelated call spotted his vehicle stalled in the middle of the roadway, Tulsa World reports. The police department earlier said Crutcher refused orders to put up his hands, but the footage appears to show him walking toward his vehicle with his hands above his head.

The officer who fired the fatal shot has been identified as Betty Shelby. A second officer, Tyler Turnbough, deployed a stun gun, the Associated Press reports.

During a press conference on Monday, Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan called the video footage “very disturbing — it’s very difficult to watch.” He said there was no gun found on Crutcher or in his vehicle.

“I will just make this promise to you: We will achieve justice in this case,” Jordan said. “I want to assure our community and I want to assure all of you and people across the nation who are going to be looking at this: We will achieve justice ― period.”

At a separate news conference, Damario Solomon-Simmons, an attorney for Crutcher’s family, said the department’s claim that Crutcher died at the hospital was not true.

“Terence died on that street in his own blood, without any help,” the lawyer said.

“We saw that Terence did not have any weapon,” Solomon-Simmons said. “We saw that Terence did not make any sudden movements. We saw that Terence was not being belligerent. We did not see Terence reach into the car. We did not see Terence attacking the officers.”

As seen in the video, more than two minutes go by before officers begin administering aid to Crutcher after he was shot.

The police chief said an investigation of the incident is ongoing. The U.S. Department of Justice will conduct a separate civil rights inquiry into the shooting, AP reports.

Protests are not a problem,” Jordan said on Monday, but he urged the community to stay peaceful

“Let’s not have any more death over this,” he said.

So far in 2016, 19 people have been killed by police officers in Oklahoma, giving the state the sixth highest per-capita rate of killings by police in the U.S, according to statistics compiled by The Guardian. Last year, Oklahoma ranked No. 4 per capita with 37 killings, the Guardian data showed.

In April, Robert Bates, a former volunteer reserve Tulsa County sheriff’s deputy, was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter for the 2015 shooting death of Eric Harris, another unarmed black man.

Like many other states, Oklahoma has a disproportionately high rate of black people being killed by police, according to the website Mapping Police Violence.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Pretend Cop Gets Manslaughter In Eric Harris Murder

Some justice served here, even if it wasn’t what he should have gotten for a sentence…

Tulsa pay-to-play reserve deputy Robert Bates found guilty of manslaughter

Tulsa County reserve sheriff's deputy Robert Bates appears on NBC's 'Today Show' on April 17, 2015.

Tulsa Rooter Tooter Pretend Cop, Robert Bates

The Oklahoma volunteer reserve deputy who fatally shot an unarmed suspect being subdued by regular deputies last year was found guilty of manslaughter on Wednesday by a jury that recommended he serve the maximum of four years in prison.

Prosecutors told jurors that Robert Bates, 74, an insurance executive who volunteered as a reserve sheriff’s deputy, deserved to be sent to prison for thrusting himself into the situation when there were several qualified deputies on the scene who could subdue the man.

It took the jury about three hours to reach a verdict.

Lawyers for Bates contended that he mistakenly thought he had a Taser in hand when he shot Eric Harris, 44, not realizing he had a pistol.

Bates is white and Harris was African-American. The shooting, captured on video, was one in a series that raised questions of racial bias in U.S. policing.

Harris was fleeing from deputies last April in Tulsa during a sting targeting illegal gun sales.

“You can expect human error,” defense lawyer Clark Brewster told the all-white jury. “It is not a mistake one goes to prison over.”

Prosecutor Kevin Gray told jurors in closing arguments that Bates made the decision to leave his car, join the deputies and draw a weapon on Harris, who was on the ground.

“People make mistakes all the time, but to equate the shooting of Eric Harris with that is absurd,” he said.

In a video seen previously in the media and played in court at the start of the trial a week ago, a Tulsa County deputy subdues Harris and a voice identified as Bates’ says, “Taser, Taser.”

A gunshot is then heard. A man Oklahoma authorities identified as Bates is heard saying “Oh, I shot him. I’m sorry.”

Harris is heard screaming, “He shot me. Oh my God.”

A deputy replies, telling Harris to “shut up,” and shouts a profanity at him.

Harris, who said in the video he was having trouble breathing, later died at a Tulsa hospital.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Remembering Rosewood

In about 1820, due to the new “Black Codes” implemented in Virginia denying gun rights to free blacks, my g-g-g-Grandfather and Uncle petitioned the Court as free black men to have the ability to carry guns. They lived in a rural area of Virginia, not far from where Virginia Tech University is located in Blacksburg, Va. They owned fairly productive land on the banks of the New River which winds and wanders for 350 miles though North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, and is the only river I know of in America which travels north, it eventually joins the Ohio River.

The family had settled the area, then considered the “Frontier”, shortly after the Revolutionary War, along with other free black families – some of whom won their freedom by fighting on the side of the British, and less frequently the Colonial Armies. They had built a “Plantation” on a large tract of land, adjoining one of the most prosperous white settlers in the area of the time, with whom they regularly traded tools and equipment manufactured by them for other manufactured goods, and perhaps labor.

One of the biggest fears at that time by free blacks was “slave catchers” an unscrupulous and bankrupt group of individuals who would on opportunity kidnap and family member they could get their hands on to sell into slavery further South. Aside from dangers of the native wildlife (bears and Mountain Lion were common at that time), they had to keep an eye out for the slavers in the sparsely populated area. The answer quite simply was, the slavers went up the mountain…and never came down. I confirmed this family legend one year while hunting on the property and discovering the entrance to a limestone cavern, and upon going back to get a bright spotlight to look in, finding the skeletons of at least half a dozen bodies at the bottom of the shaft, one of which appears to have had the remnants of a confederate uniform. Of course, nobody knew when the slavers would sneak into the area, as their business was illegal even by the laws of the time, and they didn’t exactly report their presence to. the local sheriff.

The bothers petitioned the court for the right to (continue to) carry guns as local landowners and citizens and won. Somewhere in the family there is an old octagon barrel Kentucky style rifle which belonged to them. In my inherited collection is one 44-40 Winchester rifle going back to the 1870’s that belonged to one of their sons or grandsons. At nearly 150 years old it certainly isn’t fire-able, even if you could find black powder cartridges for it. The fact that they continued to defend the home place from nefarious scumbags is evidenced by the dead confederate, placing their activity as late as the 1860’s during or after the Civil War.

With the emergence of the Second KKK in 1900, attacks on black communities, often for flimsily manufactured reasons and lynching s accelerated until “Red Summer” in 1919. What radically changed was that the black soldiers who had fought in WWI came home, not only with military training but sometimes with their rifles. Resulting in blacks fighting back against the wholesale community attacks similar to those in Rosewood and Tulsa,  in the “race riots” in Washington, DC, Chicago, IL, and Knoxville, TN – where things were substantially less one sided. Faced with folks who would shoot back, and not easy victims… The KKK and other racist organizations…blinked. It didn’t stop the lynchings – but it was no longer safe to attack a large black community. One of the things forgotten by history is that the folks in Tulsa did set up a defense, and the center of the town was designed to be defense-able. They just didn’t have enough guns. Rosewood was a small community of only about 16 houses.

With the rise of the Fourth KKK, or the Fourth Reich under Trump, and his like minded cohort of fools in the Reich Wing Clown Bus, at least to my belief, it is time for the black communities, and individuals to arm up again. We need to take the attitude of the Jews, “Never Forget”. Now this doesn’t mean going to to the store and buying a little Glock popgun pistol. The only reason any US Army soldiers carry a pistol, is to have a little something when their rifle runs out of ammo. They know full well that a guy and his “9” will last about a NY millisecond against someone armed with an AK, or AR-15 variant rifle… Or even a modern shotgun.

Sometimes the only way to get peace is out of the barrel of a gun. White people are not your enemy, but those deluded racist fools following the neo-fascist right, who happen to be white, are. We seem to be barreling down the road to a parallel with Nazi Germany, where a virulent minority can grab control of an entire nation. I don’t know about you – but I ain’t going in that cattle car peacefully in this here New American Reich.

Rosewood…After the Massacre

Remembering Rosewood: The racist lie that set off the destruction of a black Florida community

Four black schoolchildren raced home along a dirt road in Archer, Florida, in 1944, kicking up a dust cloud wake as they ran. They were under strict orders from their mother to run – not lollygag or walk or jog, but run – directly home after hitting the road’s curve.

The littlest, six-year-old Lizzie Robinson (now Jenkins), led the pack with a brother on each side and her sister behind carrying her books.

“And I would be [running], my feet barely touching the ground,” Jenkins, now 77, said at her home in Archer.

Despite strict adherence to their mother’s orders, the siblings weren’t told why they should race home. To the children, it was one of several mysterious dictates issued during childhood in the Jim Crow south.

As Jenkins tells it, the children didn’t know why Amos ’n’ Andy was often interrupted by revving engines and calls from her father to “Go upstairs now!”, or why aunt Mahulda Carrier, a schoolteacher, fled to the bedroom each time a car drove down their rural road.

Explanations for demands to hide came later, when Jenkins’s mother, Theresa Brown Robinson, whispered to her daughter the story of violence that befell the settlement of Rosewood in 1923.

The town was 37 miles south-east of Archer on the main road to the Gulf. Carrier worked there as the schoolteacher, while living with her husband Aaron Carrier. On New Year’s Day 1923, a white woman told her husband “a nigger” assaulted her, a false claim that precipitated a week of mob violence that wiped the prosperous black hamlet off the map, and led to the near lynching of Aaron Carrier.

Jenkins now believes that all of it – the running, calls to go upstairs, her aunt fleeing to the bedroom – was a reaction to a message her parents received loud and clear: don’t talk about Rosewood, ever, to anyone.

But after Jim Crow laws lifted, and lynch mob justice was no longer a mortal threat, survivors did begin to talk. So egregious were the stories of rape, murder, looting, arson and neglect by elected officials, that Florida investigated the claims in a 1993 report.

That led to a law that eventually compensated then elderly victims $150,000 each, and created a scholarship fund. The law, which provided $2.1m total for the survivors, improbably made Florida one of the only states to create a reparations program for the survivors of racialized violence, placing it among federal programs that provided payments to Holocaust survivors and interned Japanese Americans.

News of Florida’s reparations program ran nationwide when it was passed in 1994, on the front page of the Wall Street Journal among others. Hollywood picked up the tale. Don Cheadle starred in a 1997 film about the pogrom. Several books were written about Rosewood.

Though the legislation was never called such, the program now represents one of just a handful of reparations cases in the United States, as calls to compensate victims of racialized violence have grown louder in the last two years.

2015 brought renewed calls to compensate victims of race-related violence from college students, theologians and criminal justice advocates. The city of Chicago started a $5.5m reparations fund for the more than 100 victims tortured at the hands of police commander Jon Burge.

Last month, students at Georgetown University demanded that the administration set aside an endowment to recruit black professors equal to the profit from an 1838 slave sale that paid off university debt. The 272 slaves were sold for $400 each, the equivalent of about $2.7m today. One day after protests began, students successfully renamed a residence hall named after Thomas Mulledy, the university president who oversaw the sale (it was renamed Freedom Hall).

At least one progressive Christian theologian is pushing Protestants to reckon their own history with slavery with reparations. In 2014, Atlantic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates breathed fresh life into the debate in his widely lauded article The Case for Reparations .

Rosewood burning

Where Rosewood once stood is now little more than a rural scrubland along state road 24, a lonely highway in central Florida bordered by swamp, slash pine and palmetto. A placard on the side of the road describes the horror visited upon the hamlet.

But in 1923, the settlement was a small and prosperous predominantly black town, with its own baseball team, a masonic temple and a few hundred residents. It was just three miles from the predominantly white town of Sumner, and 48 miles from Gainesville.

On New Year’s Day 1923, white Sumner resident Fannie Taylor was bruised and beaten when her husband returned home. The Taylors were white, and the residents of Sumner were in near universal agreement that Fannie’s assailant was black.

A crowd swelled in Sumner to find the “fugitive”, some from as far away as Gainesville, where the same day the Klu Klux Klan held a high-profile parade. Over the next seven days gangs of hundreds delivered lynch mob justice to the once-affluent town of Rosewood.

“I blame the deputy sheriff,” Robie Mortin, a Rosewood survivor, told the Seminole Tribune in 1999. “Because that lady never dropped a name as to who did what to her. Just said a negro, black man. But when the sheriff came along with his posse and everything, he put a name to the person: Jesse Hunter.”

Mortin died in 2010 at age 94 in Riviera Beach, Florida. She was believed to be one of the last survivors of the New Year’s riots in 1923. After years of silence she became one of the most vocal. Though Florida completed an investigation into the events that took place in Rosewood, some narratives remain disputed.

“They didn’t find Jesse Hunter, but noticed that here’s a bunch of niggers living better than us white folks. That disturbed these people,” Mortin said. Her uncle, Sam Carter, is believed to have taken the man who beat Taylor, a fellow Mason, to safety in Gulf Hammock, a few miles away. When Carter returned he was tortured, shot and lynched by the mob looking for Taylor’s assailant.

“My grandma didn’t know what my uncle Sammy had done to anybody to cause him to be lynched like that,” Mortin told the Tribune. “They took his fingers and his ears, and they just cut souvenirs away from him. That was the type of people they were.”

Carter is believed to be the first of eight documented deaths associated with the riots that would worsen over the next three days.

The settlement itself was wiped off the map. Several buildings were set on fire just a few days after New Year’s, and the mob wiped out the remainder of the town a few days later, torching 12 houses one by one. At the time, the Gainesvile Sun reported a crowd of up to 150 people watched the dozen homes and a church set ablaze. Even the dogs were burned.

“The burning of the houses was carried out deliberately and although the crowd was present all the time, no one could be found who would say he saw the houses fired,” a Sun report said, describing the scene.

At least two white men died, including CP “Poly” Wilkerson of Sumner and Henry Andrews of Otter Creek, when they attempted to storm a house Rosewood residents had barricaded themselves in.

A state report on the violence identifies murdered black Rosewood residents as Sam Carter, matriarch Sarah Carrier, James Carrier, Sylvester Carrier and Lexie Gordon. Mingo Williams, a black man who lived nearby, was also killed by the mob.

Aaron Carrier, Mahulda’s husband and Jenkins’s uncle, was nearly killed when he was dragged behind a truck and tortured on the first night of the riots. At death’s door, Carrier was spirited away by the Levy county sheriff, Bob Walker, she said, and placed in jail in Bronson as a favor to the lawman.

Mahulda was captured later the same night by the mob, Jenkins said, and tortured before Walker eventually found her.

“They got Gussie, that was my aunt’s name, they tied a rope around her neck, however they didn’t drag her, they put her in the car and took her to Sumner. Don’t know if you know – a southern tradition is to build a fire … and to stand around the fire and drink liquor and talk trash,” Jenkins said.

“So they had her there, like she was the [accused], and they were the jury, and they were trying to force her into admitting a lie. ‘Where was your husband last night?’ ‘He was at home in bed with me.’ They asked her that so many times so she got indignant with them … And they said, ‘She’s a bold bitch – let’s rape the bitch.’ And they did. Gang style.”

Another Rosewood resident, James Carrier, was shot over the fresh graves of his brother and mother after several men captured and interrogated him. He was first told to dig his own grave, but couldn’t because two strokes had paralyzed one arm. The men left his body splayed over the graves of his family members.

But despite widespread coverage of the incident – the governor was even notified via telegram – the state did nothing.

Not for one month, when it appears a feeble attempt to indict locals was made by a grand jury, after all the residents of Rosewood had long fled into the nearby swamps and settlements of central Florida.

The oral history of Rosewood was a secret, passed through several families with each recipient sworn to silence, as black Americans endured decades of terror in Florida. When Jenkins was six her parents would have had fresh memories of lynchings.

From 1877 to 1950, the county where the Robinsons lived, Alachua, had among the largest sheer volume of lynchings of any community in the nation, according to the Equal Justice Initiative. Per capita, Florida lynched more people than any other state. And counties surrounding Alachua were not friendlier.

Hernando, Citrus, Lafayette and Taylor counties had some of the highest per capita rates of lynchings in the country. By volume, nearby Marion and Polk counties had among the most in the US.

Legislation, reparations and state reckons with ugly past

The story only came to light in 1982, after a reporter at the then St Petersburg Times exposed the forgotten riot. The reporter, Gary Moore, had traveled to Cedar Key, 10 miles south-west of Rosewood on the coast, to explore a Sunday feature on the rural Gulf town.

“Like the public at large, I personally had never heard of Rosewood,” Moore wrote in a synopsis of research published in the 1993 report that was submitted to the Florida Board of Regents. “I held dim assumptions that any such incident would long ago have been thoroughly researched and publicized by historians, sociologists, anthropologists, advocacy organizations, or others.”

That it wasn’t, Moore blamed on “psychological denial” and “blindness”.

“There were many things thought better left unquestioned,” Moore reasoned.

By 1993, before the report was issued, Moore’s story had made a wide impact, becoming a 60 Minutes documentary and earning follow-ups by other news outlets. Moore, however, recounted in detail his struggle for academic and political acceptance of the narrative, and said even 11 years after his story appeared many attempted to deny the massacre occurred.

One of Moore’s sources, Arnett Doctor, would later devote much of his life to lobbying for Rosewood reparations. Doctor, a descendant of survivors, spent untold hours eliciting detailed narratives of the event from survivors. He is often cited as the“driving force” behind the reparations bill, as the man who brought his findings to high-powered attorneys at Holland & Knight, who helped lobby the legislature for reparations.

Doctor died at the age of 72 in March 2015, in Spring Hill, Florida, a few hours south of Rosewood.

“We deliberately avoided anything but compensation for the losses they incurred,” said Martha Barnett, an attorney at Holland & Knight who helped lobby the Florida legislature on behalf of the survivors of Rosewood. Barnett said the term “reparations” can’t be found in the law passed in Florida.

Instead, attorneys focused on private property rights. She said she and other attorneys needed “to make it something legislators could find palatable in the deep south some 20-some years ago”.

Barnett said the then Democratic governor, Lawton Chiles, promised his support from the beginning. By April 1994, the House passed a bill to compensate victims of the attack with a 71-40 vote. Four days later, on 9 April 1994, the Senate passed a matching bill with a vote of 26-14, to cries of “Praise the lord!” from those Rosewood descendants present.

“It’s time for us to send an example, a shining example, that we’re going to do what’s right – for once,” Democratic senator Matthew Meadows said at the time. Chiles diedless than four years after signing the bill.

Now, near Rosewood, Rebel flags are common. Businesses bear the name, and some locals would be as happy to again forget the incident.

Information on the pogrom is notably muted in some local historical societies.

“What it takes to make someone whole, what it takes to repair the past, is probably different for every person, and some things are more effective than others,” said Barnett.

Many of the survivors invested the money they received into their homes. Willie Evans, 87 when he received the $150,000 payment in 1995, put a new roof , windows and doors on his home. Mortin considered traveling to Greece. Jenkins’s mother, who received $3,333.33 from the fund, placed ledgers on the graves of her sister, three brothers and parents.

“The thing that mattered most to [survivors] was that the state of Florida said, ‘We had an obligation to you as our citizens, we failed to live up to it then, we are going to live up to it today, and we are sorry,’” Barnett said.

For Doctor, whose own identity seemed wrapped up in the Rosewood story (the license plate on his truck read “ROSEWOOD” ), even the unique success of the legislation was not enough. He dreamed of rebuilding the town.

“The last leg of the [healing process] is the redevelopment and revitalization of a township called Rosewood,” Doctor told the Tampa Bay Times in 2004 , as the plaque along State Road 24 was dedicated by then governor Jeb Bush. “If we could get $2bn, $3bn of that we could effect some major changes in Levy County.”

 

 

 

 
 

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