May 16, 2001
7:26 PM   Subscribe

The mayor of my town is being indicted for murder tomorrow morning, just two days after winning the his party's primary. He is suspected of playing a role in the 1969 race riot slaying of Lillie Belle Allen. This story will probably break nationally tomorrow morning, as he is led away in handcuffs.
posted by MegoSteve (18 comments total)
I'm not quite sure what to think about all of this. My initial reaction is one of anger, not so much at the mayor, but at the local media, who are almost gleefully crucifying him in pursuit of a good story and better ratings. And it doesn't help my conspiracy-minded self that the one that led his investigation is a political rival. Still, he did admit to shouting, "White Power!" at a rally, but is that enough to indict him on?
posted by MegoSteve at 7:36 PM on May 16, 2001

affidavits...referred to an “unidentified police officer” who incited a crowd of white street gang members to violence and then provided them with ammunition...The affidavits said the unidentified police officer yelled “white power” at a Farquhar Park rally of white street gangs. Robertson has admitted that he was the police officer who yelled white power...

If the affidavits say that the cop who yelled "white power" incited the violence, and Robertson admits to being that cop (even if he denies inciting the violence), that's definitely enough for an indictment.
posted by jpoulos at 7:47 PM on May 16, 2001

If the guy admitted to yelling "white power", why was he elected? How did he address the issue in his campaign?
posted by rdr at 8:09 PM on May 16, 2001

Maybe it was because he yelled "white power" 32 years ago, and admitted that he's had a racist past stemming from his father being beaten by a gang of blacks in the 1950s. He's admitted several times that he was wrong, and I don't believe that he's a racist now. Plus, he's been one of our better mayors, helping revitalize business downtown, and was well on his way to a third term until this indictment came down.

What's interesting is that legally, if he were to win the election in November and be convicted, he could serve from prison, since his arrest stems from incidents that took place before his term as mayor.

I'm trying very hard to withhold judgment against him as an admittedly knee jerk reaction to all of the negative local (and coming national) coverage. I just think this story is a big shame all around for my community.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:23 PM on May 16, 2001

I should also clarify that my defense of the mayor comes from an understanding that there was more than one police officer at that rally, and that, given the inflamed racial climate of the time, it's likely that more than one officer yelled "white power" there. I'd be the first to admit I'm wrong if facts come to light that Mayor Robertson was the "unnamed officer" referred to in the affidavit.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:28 PM on May 16, 2001

this Ex-mayor is going wind up in some motel planning 'Hard liquor and Handgun Night' to pay his lawyer. Did you see that face, those choking tears...if it were a lie, would you not be screaming for the lie to stop? Would one make a press statement? What emotions is this man hiding. Innocent until proven guilty....this one will be very interesting to follow like a thread of justice...a movie of the week.
posted by clavdivs at 9:39 PM on May 16, 2001

I'm guessing he got elected despite the "white power" shouting because central pennsylvania is one hotbed of serious racism with an even worse case of denial.

The more I hear of this story, the more I realize why I was in such a hurry to leave that area.
posted by anildash at 9:52 PM on May 16, 2001

Hate begets hate. Sometimes it just takes awhile for the karma to boomerang back and kick ya in the ass.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:56 PM on May 16, 2001

So MegoSteve - having a mayor who yells "white power" is a-ok as long as downtown business is "revitalized"?
posted by owillis at 11:44 PM on May 16, 2001

MegoSteve: What else can you expect from shit towne?

anildash: Agreed. Going home to central PA and living in the Bay Area shifts me to quite different relative positions on the political left-right scale depending on location. I can't stand the cause-of-the-week nutballs out here, but then I go back to PA, and those wackos still can't grasp the idea of simple tolerance.
posted by Mrmuhnrmuh at 12:00 AM on May 17, 2001

owillis, you are trying to make it sound as if he makes yelling "white power" a regular practice by using the present tense "yells." But what he did was in the past... 32 years ago, so the past tense "yelled" would be more appropriate here.

However, to answer your question, no, it wouldn't be a-ok for him to yell "white power" today, no matter how well downtown business is doing.
posted by MegoSteve at 12:44 AM on May 17, 2001

Yes but did he inhale 32 years ago? That should be the more important question...
posted by ZachsMind at 2:38 AM on May 17, 2001

York isn't such a bad little town. Racism is everywhere. Most of the racists I meet haven't really had any contact with other cultures and races. We all need to embrace these people and expand their worldview further than TV news. Take your stories and experiences and perhaps a "different" friend with you next time you go home. Speak up! Good people are good people.
posted by roboto at 4:39 AM on May 17, 2001

They just reported on the local news that, according to court papers, another officer (who later became the chief of police) testified that he witnessed Robertson providing the ammunition. I'm not going to take any more time to defend him.
posted by MegoSteve at 6:11 AM on May 17, 2001

CNN's coverage.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 6:29 AM on May 17, 2001

Politics or no, I can't imagine a D.A. who would have his mayor arrested unless he was 100% certain the guy was guilty.
posted by jpoulos at 8:09 AM on May 17, 2001

Roboto, I was the different friend for all my friends during the 22 years I lived in that area. I don't see why the onus should be on me to lift these people from their ignorance.

They can put the effort in to find out about the outside world and become educated right where they live. I know it's possible; I did it.

I agree good people are good people. On the balance, uneducated racists seem to not fall into that category. I used to embrace them and try to expand their minds and their worlds when I was growing up.

There's a reason I left.
posted by anildash at 9:41 AM on May 17, 2001

Am I the only one who thinks of Bin Laden when I hear the name Belle Allen?
posted by geir at 10:24 AM on May 17, 2001

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