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Archive for the ‘Kent State’ Category

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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AllisonStoodForPeace.-1

On February 9, 2013, the Kent State Truth Tribunal and Allison’s family began working with the United Nations in Geneva. Kent State questions and issues were submitted, and were accepted by the United Nations. Inquiries into the United States’ Report on their compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as the United States participates in its 4th Periodic Review before the Human Rights Committee at the UN.

READ the original Kent State Truth Tribunal ‘submission’ to the UN, Human Rights Committee 130209_ICCPRKentStateFinalA

READ the Kent State Truth Tribunal ‘shadow report’ to the UN, Human Rights Committee submitted October 2013 KSTTShadowReportFINAL

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LAUREL KRAUSE, MendoCoastCurrent, July 13, 2010

My sister Allison Krause was one of four students killed in the 1970 Kent State shootings. You may have heard about that day in American history – May 4, 1970 – when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students protesting the invasion of Cambodia. Some of those killed or injured were just walking to class. After the guardsmen fired their weapons, four students lay dead, and nine others were wounded by gunfire. Forty years have passed and no one has ever been held accountable.

When courts fail to bring justice to the injured and when governments prefer to neglect their role in such tragedies, families sometimes turn to alternative means of gathering the truth. So after years of exhausting efforts to find out what happened on the day of Allison’s death, and failure to receive any meaningful recognition for the injury suffered by our family, we decided to establish the Kent State Truth Tribunal on the 40th anniversary of the killings. We felt the imperative to do this for our family and also to come together with others to create an accurate historical account of what happened at Kent.

The Kent State Truth Tribunal (KSTT) teamed up with a remarkable filmmaker named Emily Kunstler, who has dedicated her work to the pursuit of criminal justice in this country. Her father Bill Kunstler was a larger-than-life civil rights attorney who had stood with the Kent State students in the difficult years that followed the shootings. Emily is carrying on his work by harnessing the power of storytelling to establish and memorialize the truth about Kent State.

The KSTT was held on the first four days of May in Kent, Ohio and we recorded and preserved over 70 personal stories of original participants and witnesses. A number of the wounded students shared their truth of what happened that horrific day in American history, along with faculty, student witnesses, Kent townspeople and friends and family of those killed. Some spoke publicly for the first time in four decades. The stories that emerged are powerful narratives about a day that changed America and helped us understand what happened on that historic day. As we filmed the interviews, they were broadcast live on MichaelMoore.com and were viewed throughout the country. This is the first time that a truth-telling initiative in America set out to use new media in this way and it was remarkable to broadcast these accounts live throughout the country.

Little did we know that as we wrapped our project in Kent, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and ace reporter John Mangels would break a key piece of news long sought after by those eager to learn the truth about Kent State. The journalist uncovered evidence of an ‘order to shoot’ given to the National Guardsmen on Blanket Hill that May 4th so long ago.

Over the ten years that the families pursued justice in Ohio state and federal courts, the testimonies from the Ohio National Guard and ranking decision-makers supported the ludicrous claim that no order to fire was given. An order would have implicated higher-ranking officers and would have led to court-martials for those involved. Since an admission of command responsibility for the shootings was not forthcoming, it became our job to prove them wrong. This was almost impossible…until now.

The Plain Dealer investigation produced a copy of an audio tape recorded by a student using a microphone on his dormitory room window ledge. This tape surfaced when Alan Canfora, a student protester wounded at Kent State, and researcher Bob Johnson dug through Yale Library’s collection on 1970 Kent State to find a CD with the tape recording on it from the day of the shootings. Paying $10 to have a duplicate made, Alan listened to it and immediately knew he probably held the only recording that might provide proof of an order to shoot. Three years after the tape was found, the Plain Dealer commendably hired two qualified forensic audio scientists to examine the tape. They verified an order for the guards to ‘prepare to fire’.

Shortly after the tape was publicized a remarkable event unfolded in another part of the world with direct parallels to Kent State. British Prime Minister David Cameron formally apologized before Parliament for the events and killings of Bloody Sunday.

As you may recall this event occurred on January 30, 1972, when British paratroopers opened fire on demonstrators in Northern Ireland and 14 civilians were shot and killed and others wounded. The bloodshed led to a major escalation of the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland, which have only recently largely subsided. Like Kent State, the military shot and killed its own unarmed citizens.

After 12 years of exhaustive study by an independent judicial commission set up by the British government, the findings spurred this apology from Prime Minister David Cameron. I am moved to think how these words could apply to Kent State in our country:

What happened should never, ever have happened.

The families of those who died should not have had to live with the pain and hurt of that day, and with a lifetime of loss.

Some members of our armed forces acted wrongly, the government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the armed forces, and for that, on behalf of the government, indeed, on behalf of our country, I am deeply sorry.

While news of the Bloody Sunday apology begins to spread and settle, original participants are beginning to call for even greater steps to condemn the higher-ranking officers that made this deadly decision to shoot and kill.

As I watch from my perch in America, I ponder the complexities of apologies and our need for truth in the Kent State killings of 1970.

From conversations with others who were present at and witnessed the shootings at Kent State, I know that we all wish to have the truth revealed in 2010 and applaud Britain’s important first step to address the harm caused by Bloody Sunday. And I have to ask: what will it take for America to heal the wounds of Kent State?

To learn more about the Kent State Truth Tribunal, please visit our website at http://TruthTribunal.org

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