Monday, December 23, 2013

This Day in History: Dec 23, 1984: Bernhard Goetz goes on the lam

 Crime: During the trial, Ramseur testified that they were panhandling on this subway car, and not demanding money from Mr Goetz, but it later emerged that the group was intending to mug him

Bernhard Goetz, who shot four young black men on a subway car the previous day, flees New York City and heads for New Hampshire after becoming the central figure in a media firestorm.!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/goetz2n-2-web.jpg

On the afternoon of December 22, Troy Canty, Barry Allen, Darrell Cabey, and James Ramseur reportedly approached Goetz as he was riding the subway and demanded $5. Goetz pulled out a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver and shot each of the boys in response. He then shot Cabey a second time, severing his spinal cord. After refusing to give up his gun, he walked to the end of train, jumped onto the tracks, and disappeared.

 Here officers clear a path for limousine carrying Goetz from court. The shooting sparked a race debate in New York City


Immediately catching the public's attention, the case ignited serious debate and controversy. While the so-called "Subway Vigilante" was on the lam in New Hampshire, police discovered that three of the shooting victims had been carrying screwdrivers in their pockets during the attempted mugging and all had significant criminal records. Many observers immediately used this information as justification for Goetz's behavior, congratulating him for standing up to the boys.

 Public figure: After the subway shooting, Goetz gained much attention from both supporters and critics, and he ran a failed bid for the city's Mayoral spot in 2001

Goetz turned himself in to New Hampshire police on December 31. Back in New York, he was released on $50,000 bail while a grand jury was convened. Goetz was initially indicted on only three counts of illegal gun possession, but prosecutors were dissatisfied with the insignificant charges, and the grand jury reconvened in March. This time they charged Goetz with four counts of attempted murder. The victims also instituted civil suits.!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/goetz2n-9-web.jpg

During the criminal trial, which began in December 1986, Goetz attempted to persuade jurors that he had acted in self-defense. To this end, the defense highlighted the fact that Goetz had been mugged in 1981 and the accused attacker was charged only with "mischievous mischief." Goetz was found not guilty on all criminal charges but was found guilty for violating one minor gun statute, for which he received a one-year sentence. However, in the civil trial, Goetz was ordered to pay a multimillion-dollar sum for paralyzing Darrell Cabey, although it is unlikely that Cabey will ever receive the money.


 Out and about: Bernie Goetz, 64, has been a free man since he served eight months in jail for a criminal weapons charge after a long and highly-publicized trial for having shot four men he believed were going to mug him

Taken from: [23.12.2013]

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