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.