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The Miami Riot of 1980

Janet Reno

The officers used a marked police vehicle to ride up on to the motorcycle to make it appear that the bike had been damaged when McDuffie lost control. In an attempt to give credence to the lie, they used their nightsticks to break the glass of the gauges on both sides of the gas tank of the motorcycle. But when the medical examiner, Doctor Ronald Wright, examined the motorcycle he could not understand why, if the victim fell off the bike, the gauges on both sides of the gas tank were broken? He also looked at McDuffie’s injuries and did not believe they were the result of a fall from a motorcycle. To him, it appeared that McDuffie had been beaten to death.

McDuffie was the father of two children. On that Christmas Eve, Officer Charles Veverka was at home with his family. He could not get McDuffie off of his mind. He couldn’t get the McDuffie children out of his mind. He called his father who was a high-ranking officer with the county police department. His father advised Veverka to contact the state attorney, Janet Reno (who became the Attorney General of the United States in the Clinton administration). After he was given immunity from prosecution, Veverka told Reno what actually happened to McDuffie. As a result, Reno ordered the arrests of six Metro-Dade officers: Alex Marrero, Ira Diggs, Michael Watts, Mark Mier and William Hanlon all of whom were charged with manslaughter and tampering with evidence. She charged Officer Herbert Evans, Jr. with tampering with evidence.[1]Dunn, p.4.

The late Judge Lenore Nesbitt

“The charges against Hanlon were dropped and he was also given immunity. He would testify for the state. On January 1, 1980, Reno announced that suspended Metro Officers Charles Veverka and Mark Mier had been granted immunity and would also testify as witnesses for the state. And the following day, with Veverka and Mier now apparently willing to say that Alex Marrero struck the blows that caused McDuffie’s death, and with Hanlon saying that McDuffie was handcuffed when Marrero struck him, Reno announced that the charges against Marrero would be raised to second-degree murder. The black community had been outraged at the charges feeling manslaughter was not sufficient. Many wanted first-degree murder. But Reno said she increased the charges against Marrero not because of pressure from blacks but did so after hearing the testimony regarding the viciousness of the Marrero attack.On January 3, 1980, the first public demonstration regarding justice for McDuffie took place in front of the county’s criminal justice building near downtown Miami. A story about the demonstration appeared in Newsweek as the case began to attract national attention. On March 3, Judge Lenore Nesbitt agreed to move the trial to Tampa in order to give the officers a fair trial because of the excessive media coverage of events. The media coverage in Dade County had saturated the community, however, the NAACP in Tampa warned that a strikingly similar incident had occurred in that city in which an all-white jury exonerated a white Tampa police officer in the shooting death of a black motorcyclist after a routine traffic stop. The trial was moved to Tampa anyway.

The trial began on March 31, 1980 in Tampa and immediately the lawyers for the five defendants pooled their 34 preemptory challenges and removed all of the potential black jurors from the jury pool assuring that the case would be heard by an all-white jury. The preemptory challenges are the ones that a defendant can use without giving a reason for excluding a perspective juror. The number of preemptory challenges depends upon the crime alleged. Together the defendants in this trial had more than thirty preemptory challenges. Since there were fewer than thirty blacks in the jury pool, the defendant’s lawyers removed all of the blacks from the jury pool by using preemptory challenges. The jury was ultimately composed of six white males.

It was a closely-watched trial with every detail reported back to an anxious Miami. Television stations provided almost gavel to gavel coverage. For weeks it appeared that all of Dade County was fixated on what was going on in Tampa as the details of what took place that night emerged. Some of those details were especially gory and infuriating. For example, the Medical Examiner, Dr. Ronald Wright, testified as to the injuries McDuffie received:Prosecutor: Would you describe to the members of the jury, as best you can, what amount of force would be necessary to cause that particular fracture, the one between the eyes?

Wright: It’s the equivalent of falling from a four-story building and landing head first.

Prosecutor: On what?

Wright: On concrete.

Veverka testified that as he was holding McDuffie in a bear hug several officers literally yanked McDuffie from his grasp. He described what was said during the attack on McDuffie:

Prosecutor: What did Officer Marrero say?

Veverka: The words I heard were, “Easy. One at a time. “Prosecutor: What did Marrero do?

Veverka: I observed him with either a Kelite or a nightstick, holding it with both hands and bringing it over his head and come down twice across the top back area of Mr. McDuffie’s head. It was a horrific blow. Since McDufflie’s head was against the curb it could not recoil from the blow. His skull was cracked. Veverka said, “I was standing about four or five feet east of Mr. McDuffie and Marrero. I got splattered with blood.” Veverka described what he knew about the effort to cover up what had happened. He implicated Sergeant Herbert Evans saying that Evans was the leader of the cover up effort:

Prosecutor; what happened next?

Veverka: I heard Sergeant Evans say something. These words are not exact, but as best I can recall, it was, “The bike needs more damage.” And he looked at Hanlon and said, “Go get in the car and ride up on it.”

Prosecutor: What, if anything, did you observe or hear?

Veverka: That would be a crashing sound. When I heard the sound, I looked up. I saw a ——police unit sitting on top of the motorcycle. But Veverka and Mier had participated in the cover-up leaving them open for attack by the defense attorneys who argued that the immunized officers may be more culpable than the officers they were testifying against. A major blow to the state’s case came when Officer John Gerant from the City of Miami was called to testify. He too was white but he was from the City of Miami Police Department, not Metro. He was an observer of events, not a participant. His testimony was crucial because unlike the other officers who testified for the state, Gerant was not charged with anything and had not been given immunity. He was the most credible witness for the state.In his initial testimony, Gerant supported Veverka’s account of the way the fatal blows were dealt to McDuffie. He said the man who struck McDuffie hit him in a chopping overhead fashion, as Veverka had testified. Gerant, however, seriously damaged the state’s case and shocked the courtroom when he was asked to point to the man who struck the killing blows. Instead of pointing to Marrero, he pointed to another defendant, Michael Watts. Incredibly, key state witnesses had contradicted each other on the stand leaving the jury to determine who had actually caused McDuffie’s death.This problem was caused by the fact that McDuffie was actually beaten twice. Gerant saw only one beating; the one in which Watts was involved which took place before Marrero was engaged. This was never made clear to the jury. Marrero attacked McDuffie after he was subdued and on the ground. Gerant never saw that. When he testified Marrero claimed McDuffie tried to grab his gun and that this was the reason he hit him. This account was greeted with high skepticism back in Miami.

At 11: 52 AM on Saturday, May 17, after almost four weeks of testimony, the case went to the jury. After two hours and forty-five minutes of deliberation, the jury returned to the courtroom. Radio and television crews were standing by to relay the news live to Miami. The court clerk read the verdicts:

We, the jury . . . this 17th [day of May 1980, find the defendant, Michael Watts, as to count three of the information, manslaughter by unnecessary killing, not guilty. We, the jury…. find the defendant, Herbert Evans, Jr., as to tampering with or fabricating physical evidence as charged in count five of the information, not guilty. We, the jury … find the defendant, Ira Diggs, as to count three of the information, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, not guilty. We, the jury… find the defendant, Alex Marrero, as to count one of the information, second-degree murder, not guilty. Sitting at home in Coconut Grove, I listened in utter shock as the verdicts were read. It took about thirteen minutes. Despite the judge’s warning to the contrary the courtroom was rent with wailing from the McDuffie family. Alex Marrero dissolved into tears. McDuffie’s mother, Eula, exclaimed as she was being escorted through a crush of reporters, “My son. My son,” She cried out, “They are guilty in God’s sight and they have to live with this.”[2]Dunn, A History of Florida Through Black Eyes, p.7.

Janet Reno looses the McDuffie case

But Veverka and Mier had participated in the cover-up leaving them open for attack by the defense attorneys who argued that the immunized officers may be more culpable than the officers they were testifying against. A major blow to the state’s case came when Officer John Gerant from the City of Miami was called to testify. He too was white but he was from the City of Miami Police Department, not Metro. He was an observer of events, not a participant. His testimony was crucial because unlike the other officers who testified for the state, Gerant was not charged with anything and had not been given immunity. He was the most credible witness for the state.

In his initial testimony, Gerant supported Veverka’s account of the way the fatal blows were dealt to McDuffie. He said the man who struck McDuffie hit him in a chopping overhead fashion, as Veverka had testified. Gerant, however, seriously damaged the state’s case and shocked the courtroom when he was asked to point to the man who struck the killing blows. Instead of pointing to Marrero, he pointed to another defendant, Michael Watts. Incredibly, key state witnesses had contradicted each other on the stand leaving the jury to determine who had actually caused McDuffie’s death.

This problem was caused by the fact that McDuffie was actually beaten twice. Gerant saw only one beating; the one in which Watts was involved which took place before Marrero was engaged. This was never made clear to the jury. Marrero attacked McDuffie after he was subdued and on the ground. Gerant never saw that. When he testified Marrero claimed McDuffie tried to grab his gun and that this was the reason he hit him. This account was greeted with high skepticism back in Miami.

At 11: 52 AM on Saturday, May 17, after almost four weeks of testimony, the case went to the jury. After two hours and forty-five minutes of deliberation, the jury returned to the courtroom. Radio and television crews were standing by to relay the news live to Miami. The court clerk read the verdicts:

We, the jury . . . this 17th [day of May 1980, find the defendant, Michael Watts, as to count three of the information, manslaughter by unnecessary killing, not guilty. We, the jury…. find the defendant, Herbert Evans, Jr., as to tampering with or fabricating physical evidence as charged in count five of the information, not guilty. We, the jury … find the defendant, Ira Diggs, as to count three of the information, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, not guilty. We, the jury… find the defendant, Alex Marrero, as to count one of the information, second-degree murder, not guilty. Sitting at home in Coconut Grove, I listened in utter shock as the verdicts were read. It took about thirteen minutes. Despite the judge’s warning to the contrary the courtroom was rent with wailing from the McDuffie family. Alex Marrero dissolved into tears. McDuffie’s mother, Eula, exclaimed as she was being escorted through a crush of reporters, “My son. My son,” She cried out, “They are guilty in God’s sight and they have to live with this.”[3]Dunn, A History of Florida Through Black Eyes, p.9.

NW 62nd Street and 12th Avenue in Liberty City where the riot began. I drove to this location and saw a body lying in this median stripThe Associated Press broke the news of the McDuffie verdicts at 2: 42 PM and most Miami radio stations interrupted their programming to announce the verdicts. I poured a double Jack Daniels Black over ice and descended into sullenness. An hour or so later, I got a call from Michael Fowler, a reporter for United Press International (UPI). He told me that white people were being attacked in Liberty City. He asked whether I knew anything about this. I did not but I got into my car and drove to the Liberty Square Housing Project on Northwest Sixty-Second Street and Twelfth Avenue.

While driving, I tuned in to the popular black-oriented radio station, WEDR. Calls were pouring in. People wanted something done! The tone of the calls was very deep and unfiltered anger. Some callers were saying that we had waited on justice to work and look what happened. An avalanche of recent police abuse stories were aired yet again over the air waves. When I arrived at the housing project, I saw hundreds of people gathering in groups along 62nd Street. Some elderly people set themselves up in lawn chairs to watch the growing chaos.[4]Dunn, A History of Florida Through Black Eyes, p.10.

The Miami Riot of 1980

Sitting at home in Coconut Grove, I listened in utter shock as the verdicts were read. It took about thirteen minutes. Despite the judge’s warning to the contrary the courtroom was rent with wailing from the McDuffie family. Alex Marrero dissolved into tears. McDuffie’s mother, Eula, exclaimed as she was being escorted through a crush of reporters, “My son. My son,” She cried out, “They are guilty in God’s sight and they have to live with this.

”The Associated Press broke the news of the McDuffie verdicts at 2: 42 PM and most Miami radio stations interrupted their programming to announce the verdicts. I poured a double Jack Daniels Black over ice and descended into sullenness.

About exactly this time 35 years ago, I got a call from Michael Fowler, a reporter for United Press International (UPI). He told me that white people were being attacked in Liberty City. He asked whether I knew anything about this. I did not but I got into my car and drove to the Liberty Square Housing Project on Northwest Sixty-Second Street and Twelfth Avenue. While driving, I tuned in to the popular black-oriented radio station, WEDR. Calls were pouring in. People wanted something done! The tone of the calls was very deep and unfiltered anger. Some callers were saying that we had waited on the justice to work and look what happened. An avalanche of recent police abuse stories were aired yet again over the air waves.

When I arrived at the housing project, I saw hundreds of people gathering in groups along 62nd Street. Some elderly people set themselves up in lawn chairs to watch the growing chaos. I arrived on the scene during the last minutes of the attack on the Kulps. I saw one of the victims lying in the median strip beneath a palm tree. I thought it was a bundle of disheveled clothing, until it moved. There were hundreds of people standing on the south side of 62nd Street watching the attack. I parked at a convenience store near Twelfth Parkway.

By the time I arrived, Shanreka had been taken to the hospital. I saw a group of about twenty young black men surrounding one of the victims. Looking from across the street, I saw the attack on the prone body of Jeffrey Kulp. A man was using a metal Miami Herald newspaper dispenser to strike Kulp’s head. The victim was not moving. There was no ranting of encouragement from the onlookers most of whom watched in silence as I did for a moment. “We go git the Uncle Tom niggers next,” I heard one of the attackers exclaim. I realized they were talking about me and the other so-called black leaders of the historical moment who they felt had failed the black community.

I got back into my car and drove to a police sub-station about a mile away on 46th Street where police, mainly Florida state troopers, were gathering. I approached Clarence Dixon, a major in the City of Miami Police Department who would later become the city’s first black police chief. I told him what I had seen. I told him that there were two white men lying in the street. The Miami police tried three times to reach the scene of the Kulp attack but were driven back by angry crowds. It was late that night before using an armored vehicle, the police removed the Kulps from the scene barely clinging to life. Michael Kulp lived but was left severely limited in his physical abilities. His brother Jeffrey died on June 12 in Jackson Memorial Hospital.

About an hour after the Kulp beatings another car driven by whites somehow stumbled into the riot area and was attacked at almost the same location where the Kulps had been attacked. Benny Higdon, 21, his brother-in-law, Robert Owens, 14, and Robert’s friend Charles Barreca, 15, were stoned and beaten. Of the three, only Barreca made it alive to the hospital, where he died shortly afterward.[5]Dunn, p.11.

NW 62nd Street and 12th Parkway. I drove to this location arriving after the Kulp brothers were beaten. One body was lying in this median strip.

The first car to enter the riot area was a cream-colored 1969 Dodge Dart with eighteen-year- old Michael Kulp at the wheel. His brother, Jeffrey age 22, was in the front seat and Debra Getman, a friend age 23, was asleep in the rear seat. The brothers were from Spring City, Pennsylvania and had recently moved to Miami to work in a department store called Burdines. They had spent the day at the beach. The car had no radio and the trio had heard nothing about McDuffie verdicts.” It did not matter. They were white. Once they crossed 27th Avenue they were in the maelstrom. Large chunks of concrete rained down on the car at 13th Avenue where the largest mass of people were gathering. One large chunk struck Michael in the head. He lost control of the car and it swerved across the median strip and into a building on the opposite side of the street where it struck 75- year- old Albert Perry. It only fractured his ankle. Far more damage was done to a little girl who was standing close by.[6]Dunn, A History of Florida Through Black Eyes, p.12.

The current occupant of the apartment where the Perry child was struckI arrived on the scene during the last minutes of the attack on the Kulps. I saw one of the victims lying in the median strip beneath a palm tree. I thought it was a bundle of disheveled clothing, until it moved. There were hundreds of people standing on the south side of 62nd Street watching the attack. I parked at a convenience store near Twelfth Parkway. By the time I arrived, Shanreka had been taken to the hospital. I saw a group of about twenty young black men surrounding one of the victims. Looking from across the street, I saw the attack on the prone body of Jeffrey Kulp. The men were using a metal Miami Herald newspaper dispenser to strike Kulp’s head. The victim was not moving. There was no ranting of encouragement from the onlookers most of whom watched in silence as I did for a moment. “We go git the Uncle Tom niggers next,” I heard one of the attackers exclaim. I realized they were talking about me and the other so-called black leaders of the historical moment who they felt had failed the black community.

I got back into my car and drove to a police sub-station about a mile away on 46th Street where police, mainly Florida state troopers, were gathering. I approached Clarence Dixon, a major in the City of Miami Police Department who would later become the city’s first black police chief. I told him what I had seen. I told him that there were two white men lying in the street. The Miami police tried three times to reach the scene of the Kulp attack but were driven back by angry crowds. It was late that night before using an armored vehicle, the police removed the Kulps from the scene barely clinging to life. Michael Kulp lived but was left severely limited in his physical abilities. His brother Jeffrey died on June 12 in Jackson Memorial Hospital.[7]Dunn, p.14.

The Miami Riot of 1980 (secondary students)

Local whites were shocked, confused and most of all, frightened. The country had not seen race riots since the 1960s. Why, they wondered, was this happening in Miami? Remarks in the media about the competition for jobs between African Americans and newly-arriving immigrants from Cuba and Haiti led some pundits to conclude that this was a root cause of the riot.But nothing could have been farther from the truth. It was not the arrival of Cuban or Haitian immigrants that caused this riot. It was not competition for jobs. It was not outrage about the beating itself; after all, blacks did not riot as the startling details of how McDuffie had been beaten became public.

The riot was caused by outrage in the black community that five white county police officers had beaten a black man to death for what should have been a speeding ticket and were declared not guilty by an all-white jury. It was caused by a deep sense among African Americans of race-inspired injustice, not just in the McDuffie killing, but in other instances of abuse by white police officers which had taken place preceding the McDuffie incident. It was caused by the same police-community dynamics that today keeps the nation on edge. (In 1989, Alex Marrero was arrested by federal agents for attempting to smuggle cocaine into Miami.)[8]Dunn, A History of Florida Through Black Eyes, p.20.

On June 9, President Carter came to Liberty City. He had not wanted to come, but local black Democrats prevailed on him to make a showing. It was a mistake. The meeting was held in the community center for the James E. Scott Homes, the public housing projects near which some victims were attacked. About twenty black and white leaders were invited to meet with Carter. I was not among them, but I got various estimates of the meeting from some of the people who did attend.

The meeting disappointed everyone. The local leaders thought Carter was coming to tell them how much money the federal government was going to give for riot recovery. Carter, on the other hand, discussed disappointment that the local leaders did not have a recovery plan to present to him. He would later dispatch Attorney General Benjamin Civilette to Miami to discuss federal support, but very little of what the president said was really heard. M. Athalie Range, the first black to serve on the Miami City Commission and the most important black leader at the time, left the meeting in the presidential limousine with the president. There was a large crowd gathered outside the meeting place. Some of the people who were waiting outside were there specifically to make trouble. As the president and Range were driven away from the community meeting, a few rocks and bottles were tossed at the presidential limousine from the back of the crowd. Some of them actually struck the car. It was an embarrassing moment for all concerned. The president took Range’s hand and assured her that there was no need to worry.[9]Dunn, p.24.

In the end, eighteen people died in the riot, most of whom were black, and over 100 million dollars in damages were done to properties in the city through arson and looting. By the time this image was taken the riot had burned itself out. The police were unprepared for this eventuality. At the outbreak of the riot they were only able to establish a perimeter around the core of Liberty City. It required the presence of the National Guard to actually take back the streets. Whether to bring in the National Guard at the outbreak of rioting should be a very short discussion. A race riot, whether by white or black rioters, is no time to seek political correctness.[10]Dunn, p.25.

There were many fires set during the four days of rioting. At night, the northwestern portion of the city appeared to be consumed in flames, especially in the area along 27th Avenue where a tire dealership had been set ablaze. It was that image that made it around the world, showing Miami on its worst day ever. Despite the extensive arson in several areas of the community, only three people were convicted of arson. On March 7, 1982, after three and a half hours of deliberation, a Dade County biracial jury found Ira Lee Pickett, a black man, guilty of first-degree arson and burglary with assault. Pickett had been part of a mob attack that left Emilio Munoz burned beyond recognition.[11]Dunn, p.27.

The riot could not have happened on a more beautiful day. Under a cloudless, diamond blue sky, thousands of Royal Poinciana trees were in their most extravagant bloom in years painting the city in fiery red. I had flown into Miami a few days before and had remarked to someone that the city appeared to be in flames. A few days later the city was actually burning. On that Saturday in May 1980, blacks began killing whites in the streets of Miami in broad daylight as hundreds of onlookers stood by watching; including me.

By the mid-1970s, I had become increasingly concerned that race and ethnic relations in Miami were deteriorating. There had been a series of questionable police actions involving blacks including a sexual assault on a nine-year-old black girl by a Florida State trooper in his patrol car. He was not punished and vanished without paying state ordered restitution. Unrelenting poverty was not being addressed and there was a growing sense among Miami blacks that black concerns and priorities were being displaced by Cuban American concerns and priorities. Although these and other issues were pressing in Miami in 1980, by far the greatest concern was for police brutality in the killing of an unarmed black insurance agent named Arthur McDuffie. It was that killing that tipped the scale and pushed Miami into the abyss.[12]Dunn, p.1.

Looking west on NW 62nd Street. The riot developed mainly between Seventh and Twenty-Seventh avenues. The Liberty Square housing project is on the right. “The police were totally unprepared and overwhelmed almost immediately. In an effort to contain the disturbance, police units were placed on either end of 62nd Street between 7th and 27th Avenues. A rumor spread among blacks that a black child had been shot by a white man speeding along 62nd Street. This turned out to be untrue, but the rumor brought even more people out of the housing project and close by apartments and into the streets. The first attack on whites occurred because the metro police units that were guarding the western entrance to Liberty City at 62nd Street, left their post at 27th Avenue to look for a reported white drunk who had allegedly been attacked by blacks. There was no such person, but in their futile search for the victim, the police left the western approach into Liberty City wide open. Disaster followed.

The first car to enter the riot area was a cream-colored 1969 Dodge Dart with eighteen-year- old Michael Kulp at the wheel. His brother, Jeffrey age 22, was in the front seat and Debra Getman, a friend age 23, was asleep in the rear seat. The brothers were from Spring City, Pennsylvania and had recently moved to Miami to work in a department store called Burdines. They had spent the day at the beach. The car had no radio and the trio had heard nothing about McDuffie verdicts.” It did not matter. They were white. Once they crossed 27th Avenue they were in the maelstrom. Large chunks of concrete rained down on the car at 13th Avenue where the largest mass of people were gathering. One large chunk struck Michael in the head. He lost control of the car and it swerved across the median strip and into a building on the opposite side of the street where it struck 75- year- old Albert Perry. It only fractured his ankle. Far more damage was done to a little girl who was standing close by.”[13]Dunn, p.9.

Arthur McDuffie was buried on December 29 wearing his full-dress U.S. Marine Corps uniform. The church had standing room only. A large crowd listened to loud speakers and the area was awash in media. The McDuffie children were remarkably composed. At the end of the service, McDuffie’s mother, Eula dressed in full-black, was seen live on all of the television stations leaving the church in great distress and calling upon God to “take care of it.” She had to be supported as she descended the church steps. The street outside the church was filled with television station mobile trucks. Every shriek of Eula’s pain echoed through the community.

The following day, newspapers showed her anguished face as she was being led from the church. Black Miami seethed but was not moved to riot. It was not just blacks who were upset about what had happened to McDuffie. Many whites and Hispanics expressed concerns too. The local media also demanded justice. But for blacks, McDuffie’s death for what amounted to a traffic violation, cut deep. The killing reminded blacks of their own vulnerability and raised new concerns about young black males and their special vulnerability to police abuse..[14]Dunn, p.6.

Arthur McDuffie was buried on December 29 wearing his full-dress U.S. Marine Corps uniform. The church had standing room only. I attended. A large crowd listened to loud speakers and the area was awash in media. The McDuffie children were remarkably composed. At the end of the service, McDuffie’s mother, Eula dressed in full-black, was seen live on all of the television stations leaving the church in great distress and calling upon God to “take care of it.” She had to be supported as she descended the church steps. The street outside the church was filled with television station mobile trucks. Every shriek of Eula’s pain echoed through the community.

The following day, newspapers showed her anguished face as she was being led from the church. Black Miami seethed but was not moved to riot. It was not just blacks who were upset about what had happened to McDuffie. Many whites and Hispanics expressed concerns too.The local media also demanded justice. But for blacks, McDuffie’s death for what amounted to a traffic violation, cut deep. The killing reminded blacks of their own vulnerability and raised new concerns about young black males and their special vulnerability to police abuse, a problem that continues to plague America today.[15]Dunn, A History of Florida Through Black Eyes, p.5.

The police were totally unprepared and overwhelmed almost immediately. In an effort to contain the disturbance, police units were placed on either end of 62nd Street between 7th and 27th Avenues. A rumor spread among blacks that a black child had been shot by a white man speeding along 62nd Street. This turned out to be untrue, but the rumor brought even more people out of the housing project and close by apartments and into the streets. The first attack on whites occurred because the metro police units that were guarding the western entrance to Liberty City at 62nd Street, left their post at 27th Avenue to look for a reported white drunk who had allegedly been attacked by blacks. There was no such person, but in their futile search for the victim, the police left the western approach into Liberty City wide open. Disaster followed.[16]Dunn, A History of Florida Through Black Eyes, p.11.

Under attack from rioters, the Kulp car swerved across the street and struck a building in the housing project. A ten year old black girl named Shanreka Perry was standing in front of the building. The impact severed her leg cleanly. The site of this moved the growing mob to outright violence. Someone took sheets from a clothesline to wrap the leg and put it in the trunk of a cab and sent Shanreka to the hospital. Then they proceeded to try to kill the Kulps and Getman. With the help of some residents the girl escaped and was helped to get out of the danger. The boys were not so lucky.[17]Dunn, p.10.

References

References
1 Dunn, p.4.
2 Dunn, A History of Florida Through Black Eyes, p.7.
3 Dunn, A History of Florida Through Black Eyes, p.9.
4 Dunn, A History of Florida Through Black Eyes, p.10.
5 Dunn, p.11.
6 Dunn, A History of Florida Through Black Eyes, p.12.
7 Dunn, p.14.
8 Dunn, A History of Florida Through Black Eyes, p.20.
9 Dunn, p.24.
10 Dunn, p.25.
11 Dunn, p.27.
12 Dunn, p.1.
13 Dunn, p.9.
14 Dunn, p.6.
15 Dunn, A History of Florida Through Black Eyes, p.5.
16 Dunn, A History of Florida Through Black Eyes, p.11.
17 Dunn, p.10.