Statement by Pat Valentine


This statement was read on her behalf at the press conference held by the family members of the Lafayette Grill victims in Paterson, N.J. on Feb. 8, 2000.


After 34 years, I can't believe this is all coming back to haunt me again. I lived in fear and endured two trials because I was determined to do what's right and tell the truth ­ and that's just what I did. Not once did anyone ever ask me to lie, and I told the truth to the best of my ability.

But when I saw that movie, I saw a screen full of lies. I saw Vince DeSimone ­ a wonderful guy and an honest cop ­ portrayed as a lying racist bum. I saw the killers' getaway, which I witnessed from my second-floor window, depicted in a way that completely misleads the viewers. The car was not parked in shadows just outside the front door; it was parked in the middle of the side street ­ and I got a good, clear look at it as it pulled away from the murder scene. I knew something terrible had happened downstairs and that I had to remember what it looked like, so I stared at it as long as I could. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it was Rubin Carter's car. I identified it outside the bar less than an hour after the murders, I identified it again in the police garage, I picked it out of a book of photos, I identified it at two trials, and I say it again today: It was Rubin Carter's car that took the killers from the Lafayette Grill.

Now, after all that I've been through, I have to watch Denzel Washington embracing Rubin Carter and saying "This man is love." Give me a break. To me, Rubin Carter is an evil man in love's clothing. I wonder how much time Mr. Washington spent reviewing the facts of this case before he publicly insulted the police, the prosecutors, the jurors and the witnesses with his ill-informed statements. I hope Mr. Washington will take a good long look at the case against Carter. If he does, I think he will come to believe, as so many people have, that Rubin Carter is guilty of triple murder.

Although no judge or jury has ever found him innocent, Rubin Carter is free - free to taunt me and the families and friends of the victims with his claims of innocence. But he is not free of the memory of what really happened that night.

Neither am I.

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