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The Trial of Bernhard Goetz: Hero or Vigilante - Essay Example

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The Trial of Bernhard Goetz: Hero or Vigilante?
This paper states the facts leading up to the case in which Goetz was brought to trial, as well as the trial strategies employed by both sides, and a critique of those strategies…
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The Trial of Bernhard Goetz: Hero or Vigilante
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Download file to see previous pages On Saturday, December 22, 1984, Mr. Bernhard Goetz of Manhattan, New York, according to trial records, left his apartment at approximately 1:00PM. He proceeded to board a subway line, line two of the “IRT”, or Interborough Rapid Transit line, one of many that serve the New York City area and the surrounding boroughs (Feinman, 2005). In the middle of the 1980s, there was an average of thirty-eight crimes per day on the subway transit system, and crime was the number-one complaint made to City Hall (Linder, 2011). Goetz had already been attacked in 1981, by three African-American youths, and sustained injuries that would be permanent (Friedman & Daly 1985). He had applied for a gun permit, but was turned down (Friedman & Daly 1985). This, however, did not stop him from carrying a loaded pistol with him on that day, a .38 special that held five bullets, two of which were hollow-point (Rubin, 1986).
Seated in the car were other passengers, approximately fifteen to twenty in number, including four male youths of African-American descent, Barry Allen, Darrell Cabey, Troy Canty, and James Ramseur (Rubin, 1986). Their purpose for being on the IRT was unclear; in subsequent interviews, the stories that were given clash from going downtown for no reason at all, to going downtown to rob quarters from video game machines (Fletcher, 1988). All four had police records, and all were found to be carrying screwdrivers (Rubin, 1986). Mr. Goetz boarded the subway and took a seat near the four young men. A short time later one of them, Troy Canty, approached Goetz and either asked or told him to give them five dollars (Rubin, 1986). It was at that point that Goetz shot three of the four young men (Fletcher, 1988). Upon looking things over, he shot again, and hit Darrell Cabey (Fletcher, 1988). It has been described that Goetz either said, or thought very hard the words, “you seem to be doing all right, here’s another,” before shooting Cabey (Linder, 2011). All four were wounded, and the bullet that hit Cabey shattered his spine (Rubin, 1986). At that point, the conductor entered the car and, upon seeing Goetz still holding the pistol in his hand, approached him cautiously and asked if he was a police officer (Fletcher, 1988). Goetz answered that he was not, and stated that he did not know why he had shot the young men (Fletcher, 1988). Then he stated, “They wanted to rip me off” (Rubin, 1986). After the conductor pulled the emergency brake, bringing the subway to a complete stop, Goetz then walked calmly through the door that the conductor had opened, jumped onto the tracks below and fled quietly into the autonomy of New York City (Rubin, 1986). Police did not initially know that it was Goetz that was the shooter. They had an accurate description from the eyewitnesses of the subway car, who stated that the shooter was male, white, mid-30s, with slight build and blond hair (Fletcher, 1988). They also knew that two of the bullets were hollow-point ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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