Bernhard Goetz Trial

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The Bernhard Goetz Trial 1987 Throughout history there has been considerable tension between race and crimes committed. The court trial of Bernhard Goetz initiated debate on race and crime in the major cities, and the limitations of self-defense. Bernhard Goetz in 1984 shot five bullets in a New York City subway, seriously wounding four young black men. After turning himself into the police nine days later, the public now knew who was the shooter. Bernhard Goetz was entitled the “Subway Vigilante”. The subway shooting incident ideally exemplified the exasperation with the high crime rates of the 1980s. Due to the time period that this incident occurred, Bernhard Goetz was commended and reviled in the media surrounding the case, and the public’s standpoint. The subway shooting, and the court trial following the shooting, lead to the uprise of the fight against crime in major cities. Justice is difficult to define, and in controversial acquittal of Bernhard Goetz, justice in this sense, was not served. The crime committed by Bernhard Goetz in 1984, is one that can be interpreted as an inhumane act of violence. On December 22, 1984, the thirty-seven year old Bernhard Goetz boarded a New York City subway. Sitting alone in his seat with his Smith & Wesson revolver, he was approached by four black teenage males (Linder). The four teenagers asked Bernhard Goetz for five dollars. When this happened, Bernhard Goetz felt endangered, and decided to pull out his Smith & Wesson revolver, and begin to shoot the young men. After firing four bullets in the New York City subway, he had injured three of the four young men. When Bernhard Goetz saw Darrell Cabey, the last of the four teenagers cowering on the floor, he said, “you don’t look too ba... ... middle of paper ... ...e him brain damage. This inhumane act of violence was not dealt with accordingly by the police nor the jurors. Judge Stephen Crane and the twelve jurors practically let Bernhard Goetz go after shooting four teenagers. It seemed as if Bernhard Goetz was looking for trouble rather than avoid it. Unfortunately, justice was not served in this case. Justice was not served in the controversial nature of the Bernhard Goetz subway shooting trial. After shooting four black teenagers, Bernhard Goetz turned himself into the police in Concord, New Hampshire. He was denominated, “The Subway Vigilante”. This case was brought to court approximately two years later, where Bernhard Goetz would ultimately be voted guilty of one count of illegal firearms possession, and served just six months in jail. Following the trials, questions are still being asked if justice has been served.

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