Quantcast
Connect with us

Sentence in racially charged NY shooting commuted

Published

on

NY’s Paterson commutes sentence of black man in racially charged NY shooting of teenager

New York Gov. David Paterson commuted the sentence Thursday of a black man imprisoned for the racially charged shooting death of a white teenager on Long Island, a decision in the final days of his administration that infuriated the lawyer who prosecuted the case.

ADVERTISEMENT

Paterson said the five months John Harris White has served was enough time for the emotion-fuled 2006 shooting death of Daniel Cicciaro. Paterson said everybody connected with the case had suffered enough.

A judge sentenced White to two to four years in prison, a fraction of the maximum. He finally went to prison in July of this year after his appeals were rejected.

White teenagers were feuding with John White’s 19-year-old son when they went by the carload to their home in August 2006. White was convicted of manslaughter for shooting one of the teenagers in what he referred to as a lynch mob.

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas J. Spota blasted Paterson, who is also black, for the decision.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I strongly believe the governor should have had the decency and the compassion to at least contact the victim’s family to allow them to be heard before commuting the defendant’s sentence,” Spota said.

Spota said a court, upheld by an appellate court, agreed that a reasonable person wouldn’t have believed deadly force was needed that hot summer night.

In a courtroom secured by 18 police officers because of the racial tensions, White testified that he was trying to protect his family when the white teenagers turned up at his house. He claimed his pistol fired accidentally when Cicciaro lunged for it.

ADVERTISEMENT

The victim had a blood-alcohol reading above the legal limit for driving and was just 3 inches from the pistol when he was shot.

White had said his son, Aaron, woke him around 11 p.m. to say teens he had argued with at a party were headed to the Whites’ house in Miller Place, a predominantly white community on eastern Long Island.

The younger White had earlier complied with a request to leave the beer bash after he was suspected of posting online threats against a teenage girl at the party. The story of the threats turned out to be bogus, but when Cicciaro and others heard about what happened, they headed for Miller Place, making cell phone calls to Aaron White.

ADVERTISEMENT

John White testified that he grew up in Brooklyn hearing stories about how the Ku Klux Klan had torched his grandfather’s business in Alabama in the 1920s. He said he feared a similar attack was about to happen.

“Our society strives to be just, but the pursuit of justice is a difficult and arduous endeavor,” Paterson said in the commutation, one of his last acts in office.

“While the incident and Mr. White’s trial engendered much controversy and comment, and varying assessments of justice were perceived, its most common feature was heartbreak,” Paterson said. “My decision today may be an affront to some and a joy to others, but my objective is only to seek to ameliorate the profound suffering that occurred as a result of this tragic event.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The Rev. Al Sharpton praised Paterson’s decision.

“We salute Gov. Paterson’s decision and hope that all families involved will move towards healing,” Sharpton said. “There are no winners in this situation. The governor in my judgment showed great courage and fairness.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Elementary school cheer squad parents raffling off an AM-15 automatic weapon as a fundraiser

Published

on

Just weeks after a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio killed nine people, only 200 miles away in Richmond, the cheer squad is selling raffle tickets to sell a semi-automatic gun.

Fox19 reported Wednesday that the Junior Lions Cheer Team have infuriated Heather Chilton, who's 7-year-old daughter is on the squad for the first time.

"This is absurd, you're having elementary kids sell your AR-15. Why?" Chilton said. "I highly doubt that something would happen with the gun, but say it did. Say one of the kids in the high school got a hold of it — got the AR-15 or AM-15 and shot up a school with it, and I'm the one that sold the raffle ticket to his dad?"

Continue Reading

Facebook

I think Trump’s people sit around ‘thinking up new ways to be cruel’: Senator

Published

on

On Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's "All In," Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) tore into the Trump administration for its treatment of migrant children, as yet more reports come in of children being denied basic services in squalid conditions, and as Trump considers ways to get around the federal consent decree placing limits on how long they can be detained.

"We already know from so many child specialists that detaining children in these kinds of facilities does irreparable damage to them," said Hirono. "There are alternatives to family detention this administration could care less about ... the only way to get around the consent agreement is by getting around it by proposing or having this rule, which will be immediately challenged. They want to detain families indefinitely, children indefinitely, held in situations that do them absolutely no good when there are alternatives."

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Maddow: You have to watch what the lying White House does — and not what they say

Published

on

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow opened her show with a quick assessment of her thoughts on the ridiculous that the president of the United States regurgitated into the mouths of his supporters Wednesday.

She began by noting that they don't do press briefings at the White House anymore; instead, they've turned to talking to the president directly as he enters or exits the building to go off on his campaign trips or vacations.

"Today the president held a long one of these," she said. "One of the ones where he tried to push everyone's buttons, the president is denouncing the prime minister of our allied Denmark. He's calling her nasty. That will get some headlines. The president attacked American Jews for a second straight day today, saying they have dual loyalty because they're Jews. Americans of other religions don't have that dual loyalty or his suspicions of dual loyalty, Jewish-Americans do, because of their religion."

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image