Photo: Rubin Carter outside the Lafayette Grill
35 minutes after the murders. He was picked up by police about
five minutes earlier because his car matched
the description of the getaway car (white, out-of-state plates,
butterfly taillights). From left, Patrolman Angelo DeChellis,
Patrolman Bill Nolan, Patrolman Salvatore Santora, Patrolman
Rudolph Fiduccia, Rubin Carter. The vehicle is a police car.
Carter's description of the scene
In his book, "The Sixteenth Round," Carter tells
of an "angry white mob" standing outside the bar. He
"Their attention was momentarily diverted as a five car
siren-screaming cavalcade sped around the corner and screeched
to a grinding half in front of the tavern. Several shotgun-bearing
policemen leaped out of their cars and scrambled around a white
Dodge that they had just escorted to the scene.
"The chattering mob pressed closer as the police forced
the two black occupants of the car out onto the street. The two
men were confused by the hostile reception the mob gave them,
and they had reason to be. I know because I was one of them."
Later in the book, Carter says the crowd "wore very tense
expressions. They whispered too loudly, cussed too profusely,
and appeared in my mind's eye to be all on the verge of nervous
hysteria. There were tears everywhere. Few people seemed to be
actually aware of what they were doing.
"Suddenly I knew exactly how a black man in the South
must feel when a white mob is about to lynch him and the law
is going to turn its head."
Carter says a "bull-faced cop" ordered him to "stand
up against that wall over there" and not to move. The cop
drew his gun and pulled the hammer back when he questioned the
order, Carter claims.
He did not recognize Carter at the time and did not realize
Carter was a suspect. "I had to think 17 times before I
decided to take the picture," he said. (The photogrpaher
did not wish to be identified.)
Pat Valentine's testimony, 1967: 2 cars
(The number of police cars that brought Carter to the scene
was not an issue in the trial, but she describes what she saw.)
VALENTINE: I was about here and the police car came
up this way. The first one pulled around. The white car pulled
behind it and the other police car came this way.
THE COURT: All right, indicating that it was coming
up East 18th Street in a northerly direction. It turned left
onto Lafayette and came to a stop?
BY MR. HULL (prosecution): And the police car was facing
on Lafayette Street going towards East 16th?
HULL: The white car that came in was facing the same
V: Same direction. And the other car was facing up
In a 1975 interview, Valentine said: "There wasn't
an angry white mob. I don't think [the bystanders] really knew
what had happened." She said she doubts that they knew the
extent of the crime, much less the description of the car.
Sergeant Capter's comments
Sergeant Ted Capter is one of the two men who apprehended
Carter 30 minutes after the murders. He was interviewed about
Carter's claims in November of 1975.
"I don't think that's accurate at all," Capter said.
There were only two police cars, no sirens were used, no shotguns
were brought out, no guns were drawn, and there was no angry
white mob, he said. There were 50 to 75 curious residents who
were kept across the street, he said. (At Carter's trial, Capter
testified that there were just two police cars.)
Carter chatted with police
After being brought to the murder scene, Carter was there
less than 30 minutes and spent most of that time talking with
police officers. Their conversation was described as "pretty
calm" by Sergeant Capter, "casual and friendly"
by one news reporter and "businesslike" by another.
ABOUT THIS PHOTO
Clinton State Prison, N.J., Dec. 12, 1975.
BOB MILLER, WABC-TV, New York: I think you said in
the book that when you were brought back to the scene of the
crime there was an angry white mob.
RUBIN CARTER: Brought back? I never said "brought
MILLER: When you were brought to the scene of the crime,
there was an angry white mob there. Now this is a picture that
was taken at the time and admittedly it's an instant out of what
may have been a half hour or an hour. I want you to take a look
at it yourself. You don't look that disturbed and I don't see
a mob around you. I see two people across the street looking
the other way, as a matter of fact, not really interested, it
seems, in what you were doing.
CARTER: Well again, look at the trial transcript. Look
at the description of the scene when John Artis and I were brought
to this scene by the police themselves. There was 75 to 100 people.
John Artis and myself were brought up to the side at gunpoint.
This picture was taken shortly after the police searched our
car at the scene of the crime. I remember this picture very vividly.
That was taken shortly, but we were off to the side from the
people, from ... the mob was, was in the background.
MILLER: You felt threatened at that time?
CARTER: It's a wonder we didn't get lynched at that
time because the description, the general description, was of
two black men in a white car. Well, the police brought just that.
Two black men, John Artis and myself, in a white car sandwiched
between five or six other police cars with machine guns and shotguns
hanging out. And at this particular time in 1966, that was a
predominantly white area, and so, therefore, the people who were
in the street were predominantly white people, and very angry.
CAL DEAL: Four people -- Sergeant Capter,
Pat Valentine and two reporters who were there --
told me that there was no angry white mob and that there was
just a group of 50, perhaps 75 curiosity seekers who stood across
the street. Four people said that.
CARTER: Let me say one thing. Again. Let me reiterate.
I refused to be lured into a battle of the wits with an unarmed
man here. I've come here to sit here and talk to you about the
truth. This man is sitting here talking about what somebody told
him, somebody who is not here.
DEAL: Four eyewitnesses.
MILLER: ...you'll admit that somebody is telling me,
too, and somebody is telling our television audience. It's pretty
much the same thing. It's a matter of who we believe and I think
it's to your advantage if you can knock down things like this.
Interview Margin Notation Made in 1975
As far as I know, the car was not searched at the scene. It
was searched in Police Headquarters at 3:45 a.m. by Detective
June 17, 1966, 23rd paragraph
"A crowd of about 50 persons gathered outside the three-story
yellow frame building as police converged at the scene."
No other mention is made of the bystanders.
Bello's description of gunman's clothes
June 18, 1966 (to compare with photograph): White sport
jacket, black pants, vest, no hat and a goatee. (It would be
four months before Bello would attach
Carter's name to that description, although he
identified Carter to a friend on June 17.)