Racism & the Case Against
Hurricane Carter

Many people have written to me about the role of racism in this case. Most of them are African Americans who have seen the ugly hand of racism at work in our society. They know what it's like to be watched and challenged and suspected when they're doing nothing wrong. They find it easy to believe that a black man could be unjustly accused of murder and thrown into jail for the rest of his life. They find it uplifting to see a black man beat a hostile justice system. And they find it upsetting that the facts in this web site are contrary to what they had been led to believe about Rubin Carter.

After viewing these pages, some people -- black and white -- have assumed that I am a racist pig, and they have told me so in angry, hateful messages.

They are wrong.

I think racism is one of the worst aspects of American society. It is evil, destructive and the product of small, hateful minds.

There is no doubt that, because of racism, many black people have been falsely accused, convicted and sent to prison  -- even executed -- for crimes they did not commit. If I thought Rubin Carter's conviction was the result of a conspiracy by fat, white, racist cops, you wouldn't be seeing these web pages. It's more likely I would be standing by Carter's side, speaking in his defense and calling for the prosecution and imprisonment of the people responsible.

But I believe he is guilty, and I am not going to be dissuaded from saying so because people who don't know me find it easier to call me a racist than to consider the weight of the evidence. In all the work I've done on this case, I've seen nothing credible to support the argument that Carter was framed by racist police and prosecutors. Nothing.

Carter, on the other hand, seems to be playing the race card in an attempt to discredit prosecutors, the press and anyone else who dares to say he is guilty. If people react with racist-hating emotion, they'll think the evidence is tainted and disregard it. That's the idea.

That's why I urge you to look at the evidence through colorblind eyes. Instead of assuming the worst about the police and prosecutors, assume that they did their jobs fairly and honestly because they were determined to get the people who committed this horrible crime.

Then perhaps you'll see why I believe Rubin Carter is guilty.

-- Cal Deal


 

Points to Consider

1. Rubin Carter and John Artis were convicted in 1976 by a jury that included two blacks.

2. Artis said "there was an atmosphere of racism on both sides in 1967, but he doesn't feel that atmosphere now," according to WABC-TV reporter Bob Miller. "The attitudes at that time [1967] were quite different," Artis said, adding that "the judge seems to be pretty straight in his judgments." Artis made those comments as he was awaiting the jury's verdict on Dec. 21, 1976.

3. The prosecutor in charge of the second trial, Burrell Ives Humphreys, was a member of the NAACP and a civil rights activist.

  • RACIAL REVENGE LETTER: After the second trial, Prosecutor Humphreys writes to the Governor about racial revenge, fairness and truth. View the letter.

4. A racist conspiracy would have required the cooperation and participation of scores if not hundreds of people -- a conspiracy so huge that it would have been impossible to keep secret. As Jack Newfield wrote in The New York Post, "If Carter and Artis were innocent, then they were railroaded by the entire Paterson, N.J. criminal justice system, not just one cop with a vendetta."

5. The racist cop in the movie is a ficticious character. The real "Lt. Vince" was Lt. Vince DeSimone, who was not a racist. As he said on the night of Carter's second conviction:

"I couldn't live with myself if I knew I was responsible for a man spending one night in jail for a crime he didn't commit."

6. Carter's accusers have included blacks. Some of Carter's black alibi witnesses said he urged them to lie at his 1967 trial, and one of his top black supporters accused Carter of beating her in 1976.

7. A black legislator -- working with a black investigator -- examined the case for N.J. Governor Byrne. The legislator concluded that racial revenge was the only plausible explanation for the killings -- and he placed Carter and Artis at the murder scene as accomplices.

8. A racist conspiracy against Carter would have meant letting the real killers go free -- and that was unthinkable, according to James Lawless, the first cop to enter the murder scene. He told The Miami Herald:

"My biggest problem is that the movie would have you believe that it was a racially motivated arrest. ... We were sure we had the right people. ... [The victims] were our neighbors, our friends. Only an idiot would think we could see what we saw that night and then try to convict an innocent man."

 

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