October 20, 1993 |
I am much more interested in Reginald Denny, the white trucker who was the victim of a tortuous beating at the beginning of the LA riots, than I am in the fate of black defendants Damian Williams and Henry Watson. It seems to me that the defendants, as individuals, were incidental to the heart of the trial, while Denny stood out as a giant among men. Denny's only offense was his color. He became a victim simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time in a country whose perspective, when it comes to race, is as poisonous today as it has ever been.
April 24, 1993 |
It is safe in Los Angeles. Or is it? Some thoughts: The guilty verdicts told police in Los Angeles and elsewhere that there is a line they may not cross. Democracy requires that, yes, even young black males with criminal records - the urban specter used by racists to rationalize letting cops run wild - be protected from police brutality every bit as much as the most law-abiding of white citizens. The decision will not tie the hands of police facing life-threatening situations.
October 22, 1993
We'd like to think that this newspaper's editorial reaction to the verdicts in the Reginald Denny beating case would have been the same no matter what those verdicts had been. We believe in the jury system, and question verdicts only in extraordinary cases. The initial verdict acquitting the police officers in the Rodney King case was one of those rare instances. The Reginald Denny verdicts are not. Many Americans regard the Denny verdicts as outrageously lenient, as were the findings of the first jury dealing with the officers in the King case.
July 10, 1993 |
Former District Attorney Ira Reiner testified he did not consider the race of the three men accused in the Reginald Denny beating when charging them with crimes punishable by life in prison. "The fact that they are African-Americans had nothing to do with it whatsoever," said Reiner, who was called to the witness stand yesterday in a pre-trial hearing by defense attorneys who want charges dismissed on grounds of discriminatory prosecution. Reiner said that charges of attempted murder, aggravated mayhem and torture were "appropriate.
November 2, 1993
VERDICT IN DENNY CASE CONTINUES TO TOUCH A NERVE I concur with Claude Lewis' column of Oct. 20 on the compassion of Reginald Denny. Mr. Denny's sensitive response to our racial problems is a constructive lesson not only for our children but also for ourselves. Last month, I was stunned to learn that a Reading-based Ku Klux Klan leader had notified authorities that he planned to hold a prayer vigil in support of Reginald Denny on the steps of Pennsylvania's Capitol. Many who were in Harrisburg the day this story broke were angered by this blatant attempt to use the trial in Los Angeles to promote hatred and manipulate public opinion.
November 6, 1993
MORE ON THE L.A. VERDICTS The Los Angeles community response was "generally calm . . . Defendants' relatives pleased by verdict. " Leonard Jackson of 1st Ave. AME Church said: "We saw justice working at its best. " Oh yes, of course, because had it not, had Watson and Williams been convicted, as was deserved, another riot would have ensued. When the police, doing their job, stopping a law breaker, Rodney King, were acquitted, a riot was the result. Another trial took place and now the police are in jail.
September 29, 1993 |
LOS ANGELES DENNY TRIAL NEARS ITS END Jurors can see for themselves that two men charged with beating Reginald Denny are the same ones in the videotape that has come to symbolize the 1992 riots, a prosecutor said in closing arguments yesterday. "We have seen that videotape. It is burned in our brains. We all know what happened to Reginald Denny," Deputy District Attorney Janet Moore told the jury. "You saw Henry Watson put his foot on (Denny's) neck and hold him to the ground, and Damian Williams threw the brick," Moore said.
May 13, 1992 |
There are some striking parallels between the beating of Reginald Denny during the Los Angeles riots this month and the beating of Rodney King during a traffic stop last year. Both incidents were captured on videotape, broadcast repeatedly across the country and used by authorities to bring criminal charges against suspects. Arrested yesterday in the beating of Denny were Damian Williams, Henry Watson and Antoine Miller. A fourth man, Gary Williams, surrendered. And both incidents had a racial component that exposed the country's deep racial divisions.
October 2, 1993 |
This time, the scene is remarkable for what isn't happening. Panicky homeowners are not crowding into gun dealerships to load up on arms and ammunition. Shopkeepers are not boarding up windows and installing riot screens. And Police Chief Willie L. Williams is not omnipresent on TV, appealing for calm and asking citizens to "take a deep breath. " For the most part, Los Angeles appears to be breathing easy as it awaits verdicts in the racially charged trial of two black men accused of beating white truck driver Reginald Denny in the opening moments of the 1992 riots.