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Dean Kahler Speaking to News MediaPlease READ the attached Settlement Statement by the Kent State University Students Wounded and by the Parents of the Students Killed on May 4, 1970 in Cleveland, Ohio offered and signed on January 4, 1979. StatementOfKentStateFamilies


Contents of Kent State Massacre Civil Settlement Statement:

A STATEMENT BY

THE STUDENTS WOUNDED AND BY THE PARENTS OF THE

STUDENTS KILLED AT KENT STATE UNIVERSITY ON

MAY 4, 1970

in

Cleveland, Ohio

January 4, 1979

A settlement of the Kent State civil suit has been reached out of court in an agreement mediated by Federal Judge William Thomas, and for this we are grateful.

The settlement provides for the payment of $675,000 in damages by the State of Ohio and for a signed statement of regret and intentions by Governor James A. Rhodes, Generals Del Corso and Canterbury, and officers and men of the Ohio National Guard.

We, as families of the victims of the shootings by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University, May 4, 1970, wish to interpret what we believe to be the significance of this settlement.

We accepted the settlement out of court, but negotiated by the court, because we determined that it accomplished the greatest extent possible under present law, the objectives toward which we as families have struggled during the past eight years. These objectives have been as follows:

  1. Insofar as possible, to hold the State of Ohio accountable for the actions of the officials and agents in the event of May 4, 1970 at Kent State University,
  2. To demonstrate that the excessive use of force by the agents of government would be met by a formidable citizen challenge,
  3. To exhaustively utilize the judicial system in the United States and demonstrate to an understandably skeptical generation that the system can work,
  4. To assert that the human rights of American citizens, particularly those citizens in dissent of government policies, must be effected and protected,
  5. To obtain sufficient financial support for Mr. Dean Kahler, one of the victims of the shooting, that he may have a modicum of security as he spends the rese of his life in a wheelchair.

The State of Ohio although protected by the doctrine of sovereign immunity and consequently not legally responsible in a technical sense, has now recognized its responsibility by paying a substantial amount of money in damages for the injuries and deaths caused by the shooting.

State officials, national guard command officers, and guardsmen have signed a statement submitted to the families of the victims of the shooting which not only expresses request and sorrow — eight years belatedly — but also recognizes that another method than the use of loaded combat rifles could have resolved the confrontation at Kent State University. The statement also asserts that better ways must be found for future confrontations which may take place.

The Scranton Commission which investigated campus disorders in the Summer of 1970 said that the Kent State Shooting was, “unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable.” The signed statement of the officials and the guardsmen at least now agrees that the shooting and killing was unnecessary, and now at least, the State of Ohio has assumed responsibility for the act.

We recognize that many others related to the May 4th event have also suffered during the past eight years – including Kent State University students, faculty and administrators, as well as Ohio National Guardsmen and their families. Indeed, we believe that some of the guardsmen on Blanket Hill on that fateful day also became victims of an Ohio National Guard policy which sent them into a potential citizen confrontation with loaded combat rifles. We did not want those individual guardsmen to be personally liable for the actions of others and the policy of a governmental agency under whose orders they served.

Yet the doctrine of sovereign immunity which protects the State of Ohio from being sued without its permission, made it necessary for us to take individuals to court. Only then did the State respond — furnishing more than two million dollars for the legal costs of the defense of officials and guardsmen and finally being willing to pay costs and damages of the victims of the shooting.

We want to thank those that sustained us in our long struggle for an expression of justice. More than 40,000 individuals made contributions of money for our legal costs, students and faculty members on many campuses, but particularly at Kent State University have furnished us effective support. The American Civil Liberties and its volunteer attorneys — as well as many other lawyers — have skillfully and devotedly served us throughout these years. The Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church has faithfully supported and coordinated our struggle from the beginning. We are grateful to all of them.

Because of the experience that we have had during the past eight and one-half years, there are other words, which we are compelled to speak. We have become convinced that the issue of the excessive use of force — or the use of deadly force — by law enforcement agencies or by those acting with the authority of law enforcement agencies, is a critical national issue to which the attention of the American people must be drawn.

President Carter, on December 6, 1978, in his speech on the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, said, “Of all human rights, the most basic is to be free of arbitrary violence . . .” He then noted that citizens should have the right to be free of violence which comes from governments.

We deplore violence in every form for any cause and from every source. Yet we believe the average American is little aware of the official violence which has been used across our land indiscriminately and unjustifiably. Twenty-eight students have been killed on campuses in the past ten years. A long but unnumbered list of residents in minority communities have been killed by police unnecessarily.

We find it significant that just a few weeks ago the United States Commission on Civil Rights held a consultation in Washington, D.C. on, “Police Practices and the Preservation of Civil Rights” in preparation for the conducting of hearings on the use of deadly force in selected cities. That is the issue with which we have had to be concerned. I tis an issue with which a growing number of citizens are becoming concerned.

Through our long legal and political struggle we have become convinced that the present federal law which protects citizens from the deprivation of their civil rights by law enforcement agencies or those acting with their authority, is weak and inadequate. It is a provision which is little used — but when it is used, it has little use. A citizen may be killed by those acting under the color of Law almost with impunity. The families of the victim of those shootings or killings have little recourse and then only through an expensive and lengthy process.

We believe that citizens and law enforcement must, in the words of the signed statement of the settlement, find better ways. We appeal for those better ways to be used not only on campuses but in cities and communities across the land. We plead for a federal law which will compel the consideration and use of those better ways.

We are simply average citizens who have attempted to be loyal to our country and constructive and responsible in our actions, but we have not had an average experience. We have learned through a tragic event that loyalty to our nation and it’s principles sometimes requires resistence to our government and its policies — a lesson many young people, including the children of some of us, had learned earlier. That has been our struggle — for others this struggle goes on. We will try to support them.

For Allison, Sandra, Jeffrey and William
For Peace and Justice
Shalom

Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Krause
Mr. and Mrs. Louis Schroeder
Mr. and Mrs. Martin Scheuer
Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Holstein
Mr. Dean Kahler
Mr. Joseph Lewis
Mr. Alan Canfora
Mr. John R. Cleary
Mr. Donald Scott MacKenzie
Mr. Douglas Wrentmore
Mr. Thomas M. Grace
Mr. James Russell
Mr. Robert Stamps

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JOHN MANGELS, Cleveland Plain Dealer, November 4, 2010

A congressional probe into new revelations about the Kent State University shootings will be hampered — or may be curtailed — by voters’ decision Tuesday to hand Republicans control of the House of Representatives.

Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich had launched an inquiry in October into the May 4, 1970, killing and wounding of 13 students and Vietnam War protesters by Ohio National Guardsmen. The notorious incident hardened sentiment against the war, while also raising national alarm about campus unrest.

Kucinich, who chairs a House subcommittee with oversight of the FBI and the Justice Department, began the inquest after The Plain Dealer published articles containing new details gleaned from a long-forgotten audiotape of the shootings.

Though he won re-election Tuesday, Kucinich will lose his subcommittee chairmanship and its investigative power when Republicans gain control of the House in January. His office was scrambling Wednesday to adjust the inquiry’s timetable to the suddenly looming deadline.

Kucinich and the subcommittee’s staff “are working to see if it is possible to hold a hearing before the end of this year,” spokesman Nathan White said via e-mail. The congressman “has personally talked to several witnesses” who have agreed to testify, White said, though he declined to identify them. Kucinich “believes that holding this hearing swiftly is important to ensure that the information is entered into the public record before any more time passes.”

A forensic audio expert who examined the 40-year-old recording earlier this year at The Plain Dealer’s request, using modern sound-filtering and analyzing software, reported hearing an altercation and four pistol shots roughly 70 seconds before the Guardsmen opened fire, and later, a male voice commanding the Guard to prepare to shoot.

Previous investigations had determined that the Guardsmen wheeled and fired spontaneously, even though they were not at imminent risk. Some Guardsmen claimed to have heard an order to fire. Others reported reacting to pistol shots, possibly from a sniper, though much more immediately than the 70 seconds that pass between the apparent pistol shots on the tape and the Guardsmen’s volley.

No officer ever admitted issuing a firing command, and none of the criminal, civil or independent reviews identified anyone other than Guardsmen as having fired their weapons.

It is difficult to determine how, if at all, the apparent altercation and pistol shots and the subsequent firing command captured on the tape are related. The violent confrontation between members of the protest crowd and someone – with shouts of “Kill him!” and “Hit the [expletive]!” – are followed by what forensic audio expert Stuart Allen believes are four shots from a .38-caliber revolver.

After The Plain Dealer reported the latest findings, some speculated that the altercation involved Terry Norman, a Kent State law enforcement student who was carrying a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol during the May 4 protest rally and was taking photos of demonstrators for the university police department and the FBI.

Norman claimed he was assaulted by crowd members angered by his picture-taking and told investigators he drew his gun to warn them away. But he denied firing, and insisted that the dust-up happened after the Guard gunfire, not before.

Several witnesses said they heard a Kent State policeman who inspected Norman’s pistol exclaim that it had been fired four times. The officer later denied making the remark. An FBI lab test determined the gun had been fired since its last cleaning, but could not pinpoint when.

In 1973, then-U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh pressed the Justice Department to look into Norman’s activities, saying he may have been the catalyst for the Guard’s shootings. A federal grand jury questioned Norman in December 1973, but he was not charged.

“As far as we were concerned at the time, [Norman] was a non-issue in the overall events of what happened that day,” Robert Murphy, the Justice Department lawyer who led the grand jury probe, said in a telephone interview Monday.

The grand jury indicted eight low-ranking Guardsmen on civil rights violations for the shootings. A federal judge later dismissed the charges (pdf). Norman joined the Washington, D.C., police department several months after the Kent State incident. His precise whereabouts today are not known.

Kucinich has asked the FBI to produce records that might show whether Norman was working as a confidential informant or some other capacity, and whether the bureau helped him get the D.C. police job. He has said the subcommittee will attempt to locate and interview Norman, and that he may be called to testify.

In addition to the House inquiry, the Justice Department’s civil rights division is weighing whether to re-open an investigation of the Kent State affair based on the potential new audio evidence. No decision has been reached, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Cleveland attorney Terry Gilbert and Alan Canfora, who was wounded by the Guard’s gunfire, recently met with Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez and U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach to discuss the possibility of a renewed federal review.

Since the statute of limitations for civil rights violations has long since expired, Gilbert said some of the discussion involved the basis for a federal case, assuming there’s evidence to warrant moving forward. “We told Mr. Perez that we’re not looking to put people in jail,” Gilbert said. “We’re looking for some answers and acknowledgment that this evidence is compelling. We’re researching whether, within the Justice Department, there’s some kind of fact-finding process that’s designed to further justice, but not prosecute.”

Gilbert said the department’s inspector general, for example, might be able to provide an impartial, independent review of the FBI’s role at Kent State.

The political changeover and its potential effect on Kucinich’s investigation of Kent State is a setback, Gilbert acknowledged, but he remains optimistic.

“We’re in a worse position now in getting politicians to look at this case than we were yesterday, but we’re not giving up,” he said. “As long as people are around who remember that day, there are going to be some serious efforts to try to get to the truth.”

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Editor’s Note: To learn more about the Kent State Truth Tribunal 2010, please go to www.TruthTribunal.org and pre-register to participate as well as support us with your generous donation. Thanks!

Allison wants the Truth Out in 2010, won't you help?

Allison asks for your help now

Winter 2010

The Kent State Truth Tribunal in 2010

We invite you to join us for the 40th anniversary of the 1970 Kent State Massacre.

If Kent State matters to you, please come to participate in the Kent State Truth Tribunal, early May 2010, at the Kent State University campus in Ohio.

The Truth at Kent State Calls to be Revealed in 2010

Inviting the extended family of the 1970 Kent State Massacre:

  • All witnesses of the 1970 Kent State Massacre
  • Kent State protesters or students
  • Ohio National Guardsmen
  • Ohio/federal government and public servants
  • Kent State Univ. administrators/educators
  • Local residents
  • Families damaged by the killings
  • Citizens that deeply care about the truth at Kent State
  • Leading practitioners in consensus-building, truth and forgiveness

Please join us by traveling to Kent, Ohio and participating in early May 2010.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Kent State Massacre at Kent State University in Ohio. On May 4, 2010 the Kent State Truth Tribunal will reveal the truth surrounding the murder of four young American protesters and the wounding of nine others on May 4, 1970.

The chief goal of the Truth Tribunal is to correct history as we record, document and honor the truth gathered from personal narratives of witnesses and participants from the original shootings. The truth of what happened at Kent State on May 4th 1970 will finally be available for all to hear, read, see and know. The resulting archive will be disseminated in published transcripts, streaming video and audio, film and through social media.

If the truth at 1970 Kent State matters to you, and you wish to become meaningfully involved in helping create, organize, fund and successfully reveal the truth about the killings and massacre, please let us know. With early May liftoff, we have a short fuse!

To join now, see the facebook event: http://bit.ly/7AKZl3 and facebook cause: http://bit.ly/4NoM4r There is also considerable writing on Kent State, Allison Krause and the Kent State Truth Tribunal here.

The Kent State Truth Tribunal invites your participation, support and tax-deductible, charitable donations. If the Truth at 1970 Kent State matters to you, please join us here.

Please spread the word by going to the Kent State Truth Tribunal facebook event, joining in and sharing it with your family, friends and colleagues.

Thank you,

Laurel Krause

sister of slain KSU student Allison Krause

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November 25, 2009

Editor’s Note: To learn more about the Kent State Truth Tribunal 2010, please go to www.TruthTribunal.org and pre-register to participate as well as support us with your generous donation. Thanks!

A reporter named Jim Dudas from the Cleveland Press contributed this story on a National Guardsman present at the Kent State Massacre:

The year was 1971 or 1972. A federal grand jury had just handed down indictments of a number of Ohio National Guardsmen for the events on the afternoon of May 4, 1970, when the guardsmen fired upon a group of students protesting the United States’ bombing of Cambodia. The guardsmen were accused of violating the civil rights of the four slain students.

I was a relatively new reporter for the Cleveland Press. I had just been assigned the federal courts beat. And I was hungry and aggressive.

The morning after the indictments were handed down, and reported in the morning paper, the city editor came to my desk first thing upon my reporting for work and told me to go to Wooster, a small community about two hours south of Cleveland, and see if I could talk with one of the indicted guardsmen, Matthew McManus.

None of the indicted guardsmen were answering their phones or returning calls. I had McManus’ home address from the indictment. I found the home, left my car and rang the bell and rapped on the door. No answer. No surprise.

Not wanting to return empty-handed, I took a chance and found a phone booth (there were no cell phones then) and called the largest employer in town, Rubbermaid. The receptionist put me right through to McManus, a mid-level manager.

I remember to this day my exact words: “Hello, Mr. McManus, my name is Jim Dudas with the Cleveland Press, and I would like to get your side of the story about the indictments.” I did not say shootings because it would have implied that he actually shot and/or hit a student. He was not eager to talk, but he was too polite not to.

When it appeared he was willing to talk with me, I panicked. I didn’t expect the interview. I left my notebook in the car. But not wanting to slow him down or disturb him as he patiently and comprehensively answered my questions, I started writing on my hands, arms and, ultimately, my bare ankles, which, at the time, I could lift and rest on the small shelf in the booth. (Fortunately, I had only two days prior shaved my legs from the calves down in preparation for taping them for a marathon I was planning to run).

He was saying things no other guardsman had said before. He was scathing in his judgment of his commanding officers. I knew it was going to be a good story. I started running out of bare skin and he started running out of patience.

I asked if we might meet for lunch (it was then about 10 a.m.) to further explore some of his comments. “I will have to talk with my attorney,” he said. “Call me back in about an hour.” I knew there was not a snowball’s chance in hell that his attorney would let him talk to me while under federal indictment. Still, I hung around Wooster and, while waiting, transcribed my notes from my skin to my reporter’s notebook.

At precisely 11 a.m. I called McManus back. “Yes,” he said, “I did talk with my attorney and he does not think it a good idea for me to talk with you.” I thanked him for trying and hung up the phone. I did this hurriedly because I did not want him inquiring about what I might or might not do with the notes from our earlier conversation.

Not to be pejorative, but McManus was kind of unsophisticated, and I knew it almost immediately by the way he answered the questions. He was as unassuming and forthright as any subject I had talked with.

So here was my dilemma that I had two hours to think about as I drove back to the newspaper office. I had a great story, one we called a “one-er” (front page, above the fold). I also knew it was a national story. But I knew in my heart of hearts that McManus did not know talking to a reporter, without stipulating that it was an off-the-record conversation, could automatically be an on-the-record story.

My city editor was not expecting a story. No one else had one. McManus was not living at his home, so coming back empty-handed would not have hurt my career one bit. Only I knew I had a story. Only I knew I had a choice.

I did not want to hurt McManus. He was, after all, a fine young man, with a family, a bungalow and a comfortable existence in one of those storybook communities. And I knew a story like the one I had would cause him pain, embarrassment and, perhaps, impact the outcome of his trial.

But I had this freedom of the press thing to deal with, as well. I had my professionalism. And, yes, I had my ambition. Those three things were part of the mix, and I found it impossible to separate them.

About halfway into the ride, I forced myself to stop thinking about it. I put a Bob Seeger tape in the car stereo (I think it was an eight-track) and decided I would make a decision at the front door of the Press. An hour never went so quickly. There I was, facing the front door and the biggest decision of my nascent career.

Let me add that I was raised by the Golden Rule. My parents instilled fair play into all of us. There were six kids in the family and, to a kid, we all found a way to befriend those on the playground who were otherwise friendless. It was not goodness, it was just expected.

I kept putting off the decision as I slowly climbed the stairs to the building. There were 10 of them. And I took my time with each. I kept putting off the decision and decided that once I grabbed the handle of the door, I would make up my mind.

I touched the door and said to myself: “I’m going to go with it.”

I ambled up to the city editor. “Bill,” I said, “I think I got a hell of a story. He talked to me.”

The city editor sprang into action so we could get it into that afternoon’s edition. He assigned the best rewrite man on the paper (some would say one of the best in the country) to sit down with me and take my notes. I read them to him. He asked me some questions. “Are you sure he said that?” he would ask. I would look at my leg or other note-sullied skin and read my notes and reply: “Positive.”

Each page was ripped from the rewrite man’s typewriter and rushed to the composing room, where they were already remaking Page 1. We got it in the first edition. It was a banner headline that used the most damning quote: “We were led like blind fools.” It referred to the officers.

I was the toast of the city room. That evening, gathering my stuff in preparation for going home, one of my buddies said: “You look bummed out, wanna go have a beer?” “Nah,” I said, “I think I just want to go home.”

That evening I got a call from Dan Rather, who, at the time was an ambitious reporter for CBS. He asked how he could contact McManus. My story had hummed across the wires and it was national news.

My feelings about McManus were swirling in my head. I knew that McManus would not likely talk to Rather. Still, I decided, in my own way, to protect the small-town kid who was suddenly thrust in the big-time spotlight.

“Dan,” I said, “I can’t give you that information. I have to protect my source.” He understood, and hung up. At least I had that to feel good about.

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