News Clipping Reveals the Seriousness
of Carter's 1957 Robbing and Beating Spree

A check of Paterson News microfilm has unearthed a detailed news story about Rubin Carter's 1957 robbing and beating spree. The newspaper report offers considerably more information about the severity of the crime than is found in books written by Carter and James Hirsch. Both books report that Carter simply punched a man. The newspaper reveals that the man was severely kicked and beaten and required 10 stitches.

The news article, therefore, provides a means of gauging the accuracy of the books and measuring Carter's willingness to distort the truth:

  • In his "autobiography," Carter minimizes the violent crimes of July 1, 1957 by calling his acts "folly," a "dastardly thing" and "stupid shit."
  • He further minimizes one attack by saying he "hit a man." This is the man who was kicked and beaten so badly he required stitches!
  • He fails to mention that the woman he attacked was almost twice his age, and one of the men he attacked was 61!
  • He doesn't tell you that when the police grabbed his accomplice, he ran away and left his pal to fend for himself.
  • He gives the impression that some anonymous "stool pigeon" in the community turned him in when it was actually his friend and accomplice.
  • He doesn't mention that he lied and denied the crime to the cops. Instead he says that weeks later they "copped out to the charges" and went to prison.

Hirsch's so-called reporting is equally biased. Does Hirsch not know how to use microfilm, or does he think it's good reporting to take a confessed criminal at his word over a newspaper report? He writes:

"Carter left Hogan's [club] one day after a good deal of drinking. Walking through Paterson, he went on a brief, reckless crime spree. He ripped a purse from a woman, a block later struck a man with his fist, then robbed another man of his wallet. ... When Carter reported to work the next day, the police arrested him. He pled guilty to the charges of robbery and assault but could never explain or excuse why he committed the crimes."

Although this incident was an important event in Carter's life and resulted in a lengthy prison term, Hirsch minimizes it by calling it a "brief, reckless crime spree."

Also examined here is Carter's account of the crime spree as it appeared in Sports Illustrated in 1963 and the pro-Carter book, "Lazarus and the Hurricane."

BOOK, P. 158-9
July 2, 1957
(with comments)
"Life was beautiful to me, and never mind if I had to go to work tonight, I still felt good. Then out of the clear blue sky, without rhyme or reason, I snatched a woman's pocketbook — right there in broad daylight." The crime spree actually started at 10:40 p.m.
"I don't know why I did it. With my pockets loaded down, jam-packed full of my own money, it was the most dastardly thing I'd ever done, I simply snatched that poor lady's purse and ran like hell — laughing, no less...."

In typical fashion, Carter minimizes his crime by saying he was laughing.

The 37-year-old woman's purse contained $2.60

"Little A ran with me ... and no questions were asked. That was his mistake. Because down the street farther, still giddy with my folly, I hit a man."

"Hit a man" is putting it mildly!! His "folly!" And — oops — he fails to mention the stolen wallet!

News Report: "Ray Harrison, 30, ... was accosted ... by the thugs, punched and kicked. His wallet containing $10 was stolen. He suffered severe cuts of the head and hands in the mugging which required 10 sutures to close."

"Still on the run from the first shameful deed, now compounded by this second, I went hog-wild and did it again."

Minimizing again: "shameful deed," "hog-wild."

News Report: "Police said that while running away from the Harrison robbery, the muggers met Edward Simon, 61.... They punched him in the face and would have robbed him but he began to scream. Instead, they continued their flight."

Note that this was two 20-year-olds beating a 61-year-old man — and the 61-year-old scared them off!

"Finally we stopped running and parted company for the night. ... I was sure glad when [Little A] dropped me off at work. He was too, I suppose."

Ah, he's relieved that their youthful indiscretion is over. But that's not even close to how it really ended....

News Report: "Simon [the 61-year-old victim] followed them and when he saw Sgt. White at Broadway and Straight St. called to him to stop the fugitives. White grabbed Harris by the belt while [Carter] fled."

The detectives arrest Carter at work. Carter writes: "The only thing that really puzzled me was why it had taken them so long to get there. Paterson was full of stool pigeons, and everybody in the neighborhood had witnessed the stupid shit that I did."

He can't bear to tell you that his pal 'Little A" Harris turned him in!

News Report: "At police headquarters, Harris identified his companion [Carter] and admitted the crimes, police said."

Carter says "everybody in the neighborhood" witnessed what he did. In reality, he was blocks away from his street and committing these crimes at 11 p.m., according to the news report. How many witnesses could there be?

Carter makes no mention of denying the crime and writes: "Two weeks later, Little A and I copped out to the charges." News Report: "Carter was arrested at the Plastics Horizons Co.... Police said he admitted knowing Harris but denied the crimes."


"'When I came out [of Annandale Reformatory] I had nothing. I started hurting people in the street.' Let's see ... in his book (see above), Carter says he has everything — lots of money in his pockets, a good job. But here we have him justifying his spree by saying he has nothing.
"On July 1, 1957, Carter and a buddy went on a two-man crime wave. The record reads: Robbery Victim: Mary E. Deary; Robbery Victim: Ray Harrison Assault with intent to rob Victim: Edward Simon"  
"Yet at this late date Carter pleads innocent, sort of. 'Look, I’ve done all kinds of things,' he says. 'I broke into parking meters, broke bus windows, anything. But I never robbed those people.” "Never robbed those people" he tells Sports Illustrated! No ... he simply used violence to relieve those people of their valuables.
"It was, Carter insists, merely booze and naked aggression. All they did was snatch a woman’s purse ('It had no money in it,' he says), beat up a pedestrian, smack another in the jaw and laugh all the way."

"All they did" was rob and beat people — and they thought it was funny!

He blames it on booze. Interesting, because if it happened during the day, as he claims, he was getting drunk awfully early.

His book and the news report indicate that he went to work right after the 11 p.m. spree. He tells Sports Illustrated he was arrested at 2 a.m. Does that mean he got drunk before going to work?

As noted earlier, Carter and his pal got Mrs. Deary's purse with her $2.60.

“It was right on the street where I lived,” Carter says...."

He apparently wants you to think his youthful romp was done in broad daylight in front of his neighbors. Not true.

First, it started under the cover of darkness at 10:40 p.m., according to the news report.

Second, the purse snatching was about five city blocks from his house (two blocks east and three blocks south). The other incidents were six and nine blocks from his house and on the other side of Broadway.

“' We were having fun. After I grabbed the lady’s pocketbook she fell down. We were both laughing so much my friend ran into a wall. It was broad daylight. If anybody was chasing us they coulda caught us easy. Then this fella came walking along, and we beat him pretty good. We started running and ran into this other fella and we hit him, too. He didn’t fall down. He leaned against a tree.'"

Knocking 37-year-old women to the ground is Carter's idea of fun!

In his book, he says "hit a man." Here, at least, he admits he "beat him pretty good."

Again he repeats that they were "laughing" and doing all this in "broad daylight," as if daytime crime is OK.

Apparently they hit the 61-year-old man so hard they expected him to fall!

”The wounded man pointed out his attackers to a policeman, who approached the pair from behind, grabbed the friend with one hand and reached for his revolver with the other. Carter seized the opportunity to escape. He could have been shot down, but there was no need to shoot. The policeman recognized him easily." This seems to be Carter pumping up his own importance by claiming they cop recognized him and pulled a gun. But how recognizeable was Carter? From 1951 until the night of this crime spree in 1957, he spent all but three months in reformatories or in the Army.
"It did not occur to Carter to become a fugitive. 'They came at 2 o’clock in the morning to arrest me,' he said. This makes it sound as though the cops rousted him from a peaceful slumber, but the news report and his book say he was arrested at work.
"A sharp lawyer might have had the charges reduced to three counts of simple assault. But Carter pleaded guilty to the more serious charges. 'My father got a colored lawyer,' Carter says with bitterness. 'He was for real estate. He didn’t know anything about it.'"

Blaming others for his woes is a Carter specialty. Here he's saying that he went to prison because his father hired a "colored" real estate lawyer.

In his book, he makes no mention of the lawyer and brags about copping a plea.

"Not that Carter was helping himself much. The first thing he did in county jail was get into a fight with a cellmate. 'He got pretty well hurt,' Carter says, as though the man had been hit accidentally by a car. 'So no bail for me.'" More violence. More bragging. More Carter.


"It wasn't long before, mechanically and without knowing why, he snatched a woman's handbag and knocked down two men in the process. He called it 'the most humiliating moment of my life.' He felt relieved when he was arrested. Pleading guilty to the charges, he was sentenced to serve three to nine years."

The authors have Carter feeling humiliated, as though he was sorry for what he did, and "relieved" when he was arrested.

They fail to mention the beating of Mr. Harrison and the theft of his wallet. They also fail to mention the attack on the 61-year-old man. In short, they're not interested in giving you an accurate picture of what happened.















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