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Racially motivated violence : hearings before the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Ninety-seventh Congress, first session, on racially motivated violence, March 4, June 3, and November 12, 1981 online

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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JRacially motivated violence : hearings before the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Ninety-seventh Congress, first session, on racially motivated violence, March 4, June 3, and November 12, 1981 → online text (page 1 of 45)
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Serial No. 135

Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary













Serial No. 135

Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary

11-647 O WASHINGTON : 1983

PETER W. RODINO, Jr., New Jersey, Chairman



DON EDWARDS, California

JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan





SAM B. HALL, Jr., Texas

MIKE SYNAR, Oklahoma





BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts

HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
DAN LUNGREN, California


Alan A. Parker, General Counsel

Garner J. Cune, Staff Director

Franklin G. Polk, Associate Counsel

Subcommittee on Criminal Justice

JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan, Chairman

JOHN F. SEIBERLING, Ohio Wisconsin



Thomas W. Hutchison, Counsel

Michael E. Ward, Assistant Counsel

Gail E. Bowman, Assistant Counsel

Barbara Kammerman, Assistant Counsel

Bennie B. Wiluams, Clerk

Cheryl Reynolds, Clerk

Anne I. West, Clerk



Hearings Held


March 4, 1981 1

June 3, 1981 61

November 12, 1981 345


Beims, Constance, chairperson, Maryland Governor's Committee on Violence

and Extremism 345

Berry, Mary Frances, Vice Chair, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights 62

Prepared statement 79

Bonosaro, Carol A., Assistant Staff Director, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights . 62
Brenner, M. Harvey, Ph. D., sociologist. School of Hygiene and Public Health,

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md 17

Prepared statement 31

Carty-Bennia, Denise S., professor. Northeastern University School of Law 102

Prepared statement 108

Clark, Dr. Kenneth B., New York City 4

Prepared statement 14

Crooke, Bernard D., chief of police, Montgomery County, Md 404

Dean, Alan P., executive secretary, Montgomery County Human Relations

Commission 404

Gerebenics, Gail, Assistant General Counsel, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. 62

Gilchrist, Charles W., county executive, Montgomery County, Md 404

Prepared statement 410

Goode, Victor, Esq., executive director. National Conference of Black Lawyers. 132

Prepared statement 139

Green, Arthur L., director, Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and

Opportunities 187

Prepared statement 196

Hairston, George E., assistant general counsel, National Association for the

Advancement of Colored People 114

Prepared statement 123

Hughes, Hon. Harry, Governor of the State of Maryland 345

Prepared statement 353

Mitchell, Charlene, executive secretary. National Alliance Against Racist and

Political Repression 46

Prepared statement 55

Murphy, Patrick V., president. Police Foundation 417

Prepared statement 423

Reynolds, William Bradford, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Divi-
sion, Department of Justice 356

Prepared statement 363

Rinzel, Dan, Chief, Criminal Section, Civil Rights Division, Department of

Justice 356

Sanders, Robert E., Assistant Director, Criminal Enforcement, Bureau of

Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms 425

Prepared statement 436

Van Alstyne, William, Perkins Professor of Law, Duke University School of

Law : 385

Prepared statement 396



Winter, Steve, assistant counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational ^^^

Fund, Inc 153

Prepared statement 161


Pompa, Gilbert G., Director, Community Relations Service, Department of
Justice, prepared statement 439



House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Criminal Justice
OF THE Committee on the Judiciary,

Washington, D.C.

The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9:40 a.m., in room
2237, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon, John Conyers, Jr.
(chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Conyers, Edwards, Hall, Sensenbrenner,
Kindness, and McCoUum.

Staff present: Thomas W. Hutchison, counsel; Oliver Quinn, as-
sistant counsel; and Raymond Smietanka, associate counsel.

Mr. Conyers. The subcommittee will come to order.

This is the first of a series of hearings on what appears to be an
increase in incidents in recent years of criminal violence directed
against minority group citizens.

I welcome my colleagues who have joined us, and we will begin
the hearings by approving, as is necessary, the coverage of this
hearing by videotape and photography, that motion pictures and
other things be permitted in accordance with rule 5 of the rules of

If there is no objection, permission will be granted.

Mr. Sensenbrenner. I am reserving the right to object, Mr.
Chairman, and I will object. I am very strongly opposed to violence
against minority groups or anyone else in this society. But this is
the second hearing that has been held on this subject by a subcom-
mittee of the House Judiciary Committee.

In the last Congress the Subcommittee on Crime, which the gen-
tleman from Michigan chaired, held a hearing subsequent to the
election. That hearing proved to be a three-ring circus. There was a
representative of the Ku Klux Klan who deliberately obstructed
and interrupted the hearing, and as a result, the news media repre-
sentatives in attendance, in violation of subsection 6 of the commit-
tee's rule 5, went out in the middle of the hearing into the hallway.
The result was the Ku Klux Klan representative got more media
coverage than did the witnesses before the committee.

I would read that subsection. It says:

Equipment necessary for coverage by the television and radio media shall not be
installed in or removed from the hearing room while the committee or subcommit-
tee, as the case may be, is in session.

Now, in order to prevent this from happening, again, and ob-
structing a very serious hearing of the Congress, I think that it


probably would be wise for us to forgo having radio and television
cameras in the hearing room for the first couple of hearings, in
hopes that matters settle down.

For that reason, Mr. Chairman, I do object.

Mr. CoNYERS. All right.

Is there any further discussion?

Mr. Kindness. Mr. Chairman.

Mr. CoNYERS. The gentleman from Ohio.

Mr. Kindness. Mr. Chairman, it was my pleasure to serve with
the late Leo Ryan, who was chairman of a subcommittee of the
Government Operations Committee in the 95th Congress, who
stated we weren't going to have committee hearings; we were going
to have media events. That experience is one which I felt caused
more heat than light to be shed on the subject matter we dealt
with in that Congress, which had to do with the back end of the
nuclear fuel cycle. And, of course, there were emotions raised on
an issue such as that, just as there are likely to be emotions that
are raised in the hearings that the chairman has apparently pro-
jected for the future and for today.

I wish to state, with malice toward none in the news media or
certainly on this subcommittee, that we can conduct hearings of a
more meaningful sort, I believe, by not causing them to be media
events. The circus atmosphere is not one in which to get to the
heart of the issues and the determination of problems in a clear
light and to arrive at solutions.

I think we have seen subcommittees in this Congress used time
after time after time as events for publicity, for the chairmen of
subcommittees and members of subcommittees, and it doesn't help
us to get at the problems that are supposed to be dealt with.

In lieu of dealing with the real oversight questions, oftentimes
subcommittees are used for more popular emotional issues that are
counted on for more publicity. If that is the way the subcommittee
is going to operate, that will have to be determined by the mem-
bers of the subcommittee. But if that's the way it's going to be,
however, it is going to be a struggle for the whole Congress.

I join the gentleman from Wisconsin in objecting to the circus at-

Mr. CoNYERS. Does the gentleman from California seek recogni-

Mr. Edwards. Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I have served with the gentleman from Michigan, the chairman
of this subcommittee, for a number of years, and he previously
chaired the Subcommittee on Crime. I have always found him to be
a most responsible and scholarly chairman, whose hearings and
whose legislative proposals have done a great deal for the Ameri-
can people and, indeed, for Congress.

I think this is a very important issue that the subcommittee has
under consideration. I don't think that we ought to dig back into
history and because the Ku Klux Klan misbehaved at a previous
hearing, change our procedures and go into secret session

Mr. Sensenbrenner. Would the gentleman yield?

Mr. Edwards. I will yield in just a moment, of course I will.

But I think the American people are entitled to see what goes
on. I thought both political parties were for sunshine in all the
work that is done by Congress.

Now I yield to the gentleman from Wisconsin.

Mr. Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from Wisconsin does not ad-
vocate a secret session on this subject or any other subject. The
public is invited to participate in these hearings and attend these
hearings. It can be covered by the print media if the print media is
in attendance.

I would point out the electronic media violated the rules of this
committee in the last session on this subject, and it says very clear-
ly in the rules that:

Equipment necessary for coverage by the television and radio media shall not be
installed in or removed from the hearing room while the committee or subcommit-
tee, as the case may be, is in session.

The gentleman from California was not present at that hearing.
I sat through the whole thing. What happened was that a Ku Klux
Klan representative disrupted the hearing and was ejected by the
chairman, the gentleman from Michigan, and the news media just
migrated from that part of the room and went out the door, in vio-
lation of the committee rules, and duly recorded what was going on
in the hall by this spreader of hate.

Nov/, I am not going to judge for the news media what is news-
worthy and what is not. But if the news media does come into a
hearing room, they had better abide by the rules of the committee
that allows them there, and they did not do so last time. So I think
we ought to just "cool" the electronic media business for a little
period of time.

Perhaps if this subcommittee does calm down and we can hear
the witnesses in a dispassionate manner, then they might be al-
lowed back in and I certainly would change my position. But until
then, I don't think so.

Mr. Edwards. I thank the gentleman for his contribution. I am
sure that in the event any of the rules of the committee are violat-
ed, at this hearing or any future meetings, those of us who are
here will make a point of order and not allow it to happen.

Now, Mr. Chairman, pursuant to rule 5 of the Committee on the
Judiciary Rules of Procedure, I move to permit coverage of this
hearing, in whole or in part, by means of motion pictures, video-
tape, and still photography.

Mr. CoNYERS. Those members that support the motion will indi-
cate by saying "aye."


Mr. Edwards. Aye.

Mr. CoNYERS. Those opposed, by saying "no."

Mr. Sensenbrenner. No.

Mr. Kindness. No.

Mr. Conyers. With the addition of a proxy from a member of the
committee, Mr. Seiberling

Mr. Sensenbrenner. And another member of the committee, Mr.

Mr. Conyers. That makes it 3 to 3.

If we may — well, the motion fails, and the subcommittee will
stand in recess for 5 minutes.


Mr. CoNYERS. The subcommittee will come to order.

This hearing revolves around what appears to be an increase in
incidents in recent years of criminal violence directed against mi-
nority group citizens. No interruptions or disturbances will be per-
mitted at this hearing. Disrupters will be immediately ejected.

These hearings will focus on criminal violence and threats of vio-
lence committed by individuals or organizations, and not within
their exercise of constitutional rights protected by the first amend-
ment. It is our purpose to conduct a careful, objective, and thor-
ough study of such violence.

A number of citizens from across the Nation will testify before
the subcommittee from all walks of life, including the Department
of Justice.

There continues to be an abundance of evidence of criminal vio-
lence directed against minority group citizens. This violence has
manifested itself in a variety of ways — random shootings and
sniper attacks, assaults, attacks on civil rights leaders, firebomb-
ings, armed confrontations at political demonstrations, and intimi-
dations and threats of violence.

The violence is not confined to any one section of the Nation. On
the contrary, it is a serious national problem. This hearing and
future ones will examine the causes of this violence, the nature
and extent of the violence, the adequacy of local. State, and Feder-
al laws and their enforcement, and steps that might be taken to
prevent such violence in the future.

Is it mere coincidence in such a period as the present one, when
unemployment is rising and inflation continues unabated, that
there is an increase in violence? That is the question. Are popular
misconceptions among white Americans regarding the impact of af-
firmative action policies and the economic position of black Ameri-
cans exacerbating race relations? That is another question. Is there
a relationship between institutionalized racism and racial violence,
between the perceived retreat from earlier commitments and prom-
ises and increased violence, between an uncontrolled free market
economy and race relations? These are considerations that we hope
to get into.

Now, the problem of racial violence is not new. Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr., himself a victim of racial violence, was assassi-
nated 12 years ago while assisting in an attempt to address a labor
problem that he knew had the potential for violent eruption. These
hearings are a further step in the process of identifying and ad-
dressing the real causes of racial violence in this society.


Mr. CoNYERS. We are very honored to have as our first witness Dr.
Kenneth B. Clark, a distinguished professor emeritus of psychology at
the City University of New York, and past president of the American
Psychological Association, member of the board of regents of the State
of New York, member of the board of trustees of Howard Universi-
ty, and of the board of the University of Chicago. He is an author

noted for his work on the effects of segregation on children, which
was cited in the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Edu-

He is presently the head of a consulting firm specializing in com-
munity relations, affirmative action, and race relation issues.

Dr. Clark, knowing how rarely it is your disposition to testify
before subcommittees, we feel very honored to have you here. We
will have your prepared remarks introduced in full into the record
at this point by unanimous consent and invite you to the witness
table to proceed in your own way.

Welcome to the subcommittee.

Dr. Clark. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of your com-

I would like to address myself to what I suppose one could call it
"legal" violence, and raise mainly the undramatic problem of
police killings of minorities.

In the 1970's, while I was director of the Metropolitan Applied
Research Center, my staff was asked to make a study of persons
killed by the police in New York City during the period from 1970
to 1973.

We found in that study that a disproportionate number of indi-
viduals killed by police in New York City were black and Hispanic
youths. The results of that study were confirmed by other studies
that have come to our attention. In these studies, too, the evidence
is clear that blacks and other nonwhites and Hispanics were more
likely to be shot and killed by police officers than were whites; and
that younger blacks and Hispanics, below the age of 24, were more
likely to be killed by the police. These findings seem to be consist-
ent in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Detroit,
where there is a high proportion of minorities.

One of the certain things for me as I look over these studies is
the consistency of these findings. The evidence is there, consistent
and revealing. Even when these authorities offered explanations
such as minorities are more likely to perpetrate crimes than are
nonminorities, the fact remains that these killings are judgments.
When the police kill an alleged perpetrator, the perpetrator has no
trial, and there is no way of determining his guilt or innocence. In
fact, police killings are a form of capital punishment, a fait accom-

In recent years there have been some disturbing indications of a

complex set of racial factors operating in the area of police killings.
In the study of killings in New York City there were incidents of
the killing of young blacks where there was not even an indication
of crime.

One very dramatic example of this was a police killing of a
young, black teenager who was walking along the street, in which
there was no crime involved. However, the policeman pulled out
his gun and shot and killed the youngster. The policeman was tried
and acquitted on the grounds of temporary insanity. He was re-
quired to spend a few months in a hospital. At the end of the few
months of hospitalization, he was deemed no longer insane and was

I think, gentlemen, the pattern is clear, and persistent. So far
nothing is being done to address this disturbing problem of legal

violence — legal in the sense that it is violence perpetrated by law
enforcement officers along racial lines.

I present the facts in my prepared statement. I did not attempt
in the prepared statement to interpret these facts. It seems to me
that the interpretation in terms of a racial discrepancy here is
clear. The facts support the contention that race is a critical factor
in the police killings in our large urban centers.

I am prepared to answer any questions you, Mr. Chairman, or
members of your committee, would think to ask.

Mr. CoNYERS. What about the consideration of the violence that
is going on that is not being committed by law enforcement or Gov-
ernment personnel? Do you notice any change in the number of
people that are being assaulted in that capacity?

Dr. Clark. Well, the press has presented the problems of the kill-
ing of minorities, of blacks, in such cities as Buffalo, and the tragic
and incredible pattern of killings of young blacks in Atlanta. Those
cases have been presented by the press. They are dramatic in that
they form a pattern within time and place.

I chose to concentrate on this form of violence because it does
not have the same sort of dramatic press coverage. On the con-
trary, with few exceptions, it seems to be accepted as norm. The
killing of minorities by police generally is perceived by the Ameri-
can public as part of law enforcement, as part of law and order.

I am contending that that is a questionable perspective of this
particular problem which I am seeking to emphasize here. My per-
sonal opinion is that this racial disproportionate factor in police
killings is part of the same pattern and context of racism and vio-
lence in American society. However, it is not generally so per-

Mr. CoNYERS. Dr. Clark, is that legal violence increasing or di-

Dr. Clark. It seems to be remaining constant. As I look at the
studies over the last 10 years, the disproportionate number of
blacks and other minorities killed by police does not seem to be in-
creasing or decreasing.

Mr. CoNYERS. What about the efforts to change this pattern?

Dr. Clark. Mr. Chairman, I do not know of any systematic ef-
forts to change the pattern because, for one thing, in order to
change a pattern, you have to face the fact that there is a problem.
On the basis of the evidence which I have seen, my judgment is
that this is not generally perceived as a problem. Instead of being
perceived as a problem, it tends to be excused, tends to be ex-
plained away.

For example, when an officer kills a young person and is brought
before his peers or a jury, almost invariably these individuals are
found not guilty of a crime. The explanation is that they were per-
forming their duties as police officers. So the issue of dealing with
the problem is not existent because it is not seen as a problem.

I am presenting this testimony to assert that this is a problem. It
is a problem which should be faced if it is going to be remedied. I
don't know whether society is prepared to face it. If the society is
not prepard to face it, it will be an accessory to the perpetuation of
what I perceive as a problem.

Mr. CoNYERS. Thank you very much.

The gentleman from Wisconsin, Mr. Sensenbrenner.

Mr. Sensenbrenner. Dr. Clark, I am impressed with the thor-
oughness of your testimony and the studies that you have present-
ed to the committee. But I do have a couple of questions.

First, have you done any correlations between homicide victims
involving the police and whether the incident occurred in a high
crime area, which would bring along with it increased police pa-

Dr. Clark. I have not done the correlations, as you said, but the
fact is that these incidents do generally occur in high crime areas.
They generally occur — obviously — where the victims are minorities,
they are almost invariably occur in ghetto areas.

Mr. Sensenbrenner. If that's the case, wouldn't there be a
higher percentage of minority victims because minorities are gen-
erally concentrated in ghetto areas? Would that not be an addition-
al factor that has got to be considered in making a determination
on whether there was a greater percentage of incidents that oc-
curred in relationship to the higher number of incidents that are
investigated by police?

Dr. Clark. Yes, there is no question that these incidents, when
they occur, occur in areas in which the police are concentrated in
terms of high crime.

My point, Mr. Congressman, is that the fact of a high crime area
is not, in itself, a determinant in the use of a gun as a factor in
dealing with crime — or an alleged crime.

This precipitous, impetuous use of a gun is more likely to occur
in dealing with crimes in the minority areas than in dealing with
similar crimes in nonminority areas. The location of a problem is,
to me, not sufficient explanation of the fact that police officers are
more likely to shoot and to kill alleged criminals in ghetto areas
than they are to shoot and to kill alleged criminals in nonghetto

Mr. Sensenbrenner. Thank you. I have no further questions.

Mr. Conyers. The gentleman from California, Mr. Edwards.

Mr. Edwards. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

It is a great pleasure for me to join the chairman and the gentle-
man from Wisconsin in welcoming to this hearing a very distin-
guished author and scholar. Dr. Kenneth B. Clark. I really have
been an admirer of yours for many years.

Dr. Clark. Thank you, sir.

Mr. Edwards. On page 5 of your testimony, Dr. Clark, you quote
an article in the New York Times in 1973 by Mr. Burnham, to the
effect that about three out of five people in New York during a cer-
tain period who were killed by police were black, and it's about the
same as the arrest record. The arrest record for felonies was 62

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JRacially motivated violence : hearings before the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Ninety-seventh Congress, first session, on racially motivated violence, March 4, June 3, and November 12, 1981 → online text (page 1 of 45)