[sixties-l] Kill all the niggers you can,' said the cop. So they made him mayor (fwd)

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Date: Tue Oct 08 2002 - 15:02:42 EDT

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    Date: Sun, 06 Oct 2002 21:27:27 -0700
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Kill all the niggers you can,' said the cop. So they made him mayor

    'Kill all the niggers you can,' said the cop. So they made him mayor


    Ex-policeman on trial for complicity in murder during American race riots

    Ed Vulliamy in York, Pennsylvania
    Sunday October 6, 2002
    The Observer

    The blast that gunned down young Lillie Belle Allen was so strong it blew
    her out of her shoes. Her assailants pumped another 100 rounds into the car
    from which Lillie had emerged, while she tried to crawl across the Tarmac,
    dying by the railroad line.
    Lillie had had the temerity to venture with her sister Dickson on to the
    white side of town. Dickson, driving, saw a sniper's barrel pointing at her,
    panicked and froze. Lillie took the wheel and opened the passenger door to
    move round. 'Don't shoot! Don't shoot!' she screamed. The fusillade
    continued until a police armoured van arrived and a man stepped out of it.
    'It's me,' he said, apparently the man in charge, 'Charlie.'

    That was July 1969. But only last week has 'Charlie' faced his accusers in
    court - along with two of the armed white gang he greeted - charged with
    Lillie's murder. The trial - following others in Alabama and Mississippi
    over the past eight years - forms part of America's attempt to stare a past
    of racist violence in the face.

    But the case of Charlie Robertson is different from others. This was no
    'Mississippi Burning'; this is not the formerly segregated South, this is
    the industrial North: York, Pennsylvania, a heavy manufacturing town, the
    home of Harley Davidson motorcycles. And Charlie is no backwoods redneck or
    Ku Klux Klansman.

    He was a cop at the time of Lillie's murder, then became the popular mayor
    of Harley town, the 'White Rose City' of York. His arrest in May 2001 came
    just before primary elections that would almost certainly have led to a
    third term in office.

    The York City Council voted last week to ask the US Justice Department to
    investigate further police involvement in the murder. But one of those who
    voted against the motion was its leader, city president Mary Bacas - seen as
    loyal to Robertson - who said the mayor had been unduly singled out.

    The all-white jury in this 96 per cent white town sat stone-faced as the
    prosecution read out its case; so did Lillie's family, up from South
    Carolina. Her sister, Jennie Settles, shed a tear.'

    The police of the predominantly white police force made an uneasy alliance
    with the white gangs in town,' said prosecutor Thomas Kelley, pointing at
    the man in the dock. But the mayor is charged with more than forging an
    alliance with racist murderers - he is charged with complicity in the murder

    This - gleaned from the trial thus far - is what happened on the night of 21
    July 1969, the subject of collective amnesia in York ever since

    A young black boy died of burns and the African-American community blamed
    the police - wrongly, as it happens, but the incident was a spark to ignite
    decades of frustration and repression.

    On the third night of rioting, a young patrol officer, Henry Schaad, was
    shot dead. Next day, a rally of white mobs was addressed by Robertson, who
    led a chant of 'White power!'

    That, says his defence, is all he did. 'He did some dumb things but it's not
    murder,' insisted lawyer William Costopoulos.

    But the evidence of Robert son's co-defendants - as well as the prosecutor's
    account - suggest he did more than whip up the crowd. After the rally,
    Robertson drove to a cigar shop that was a meeting point for the Newberry
    Street Gang, one of those whom police officers had advised to arm up to help
    'protect' their neighbourhood.

    There, he is accused of having given out ammunition to the vigilantes and
    other residents, urging them to 'kill as many niggers as you can - the score
    isn't even.'

    'I got the impression from Mr Robertson's actions that we were kind of in
    the right, and we had somebody backing us up,' said Stewart Aldinger, one of
    the gang.

    Another, Fred Flickinger, said Robertson told him: 'You know, if I weren't a
    cop, I'd be out leading commando raids in the black neighbourhoods.'

    This was the tinderbox Lillie Belle Allen and her sister drove into as they
    turned down Newberry Street.

    Robertson had been little liked as a policeman and was promoted only twice
    in 29 years. He made no bones about his hatred of blacks and was reprimanded
    for slapping a black woman he was taking into custody. He was and is a
    religious man, and decided his devotion to sports made it impossible for him
    to marry.

    He won his popularity through involvement in baseball and basketball. Teams
    were named after him: 'Robbie's Chargers' and 'Robbie's Racers'. By being
    elected mayor, Robertson achieved his only ambition in life. He did the job
    well, they agree in York's pizza parlours.

    For 30 years, the toll of the riots was buried and forgotten. Robertson
    himself gave the brutally candid assessment of their forgotten history
    shortly after his arrest: 'Everyone knew who had been involved, but everyone
    just thought it was even. One black had been killed, and one white. Even.'

    But 1999 arrived: the local paper, the York Despatch, put together a
    thirtieth anniversary riots issue. Reporters from the paper tried to trace
    the Newberry Street Gang, and kept bumping into the name of the esteemed

    On the basis of the reports, the district attorney's office reopened the
    files on the Schaad and Lillie murders.

    Three of the Newberry Street Gang had committed suicide, but a fourth, Mark
    Barr - suffering from terminal cancer - agreed to talk. Another, Donald
    Atland, settled down into a stable, churchgoing life, told the investigators
    little, but all that night his wife heard the full story.

    Next morning, he drove to a favourite fishing spot on the Susquehanna river
    and shot himself. Soon after, a detective and state trooper asked the mayor
    for an appointment. A month later, York's first citizen was led from his
    office in handcuffs.

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