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Guilty: The Other Side of the Hurricane. RSR Sits Down with Herald News Reporter, Cal Deal to Discuss Rubin Carter, Part II

Interview by Geno McGahee

In the movie, “The Hurricane,” an evil and racist detective harassed a young Rubin Carter and maintained this course throughout the majority of his life. Carter most definitely had to deal with racism because it was an extremely volatile time in America with ignorance everywhere, but some of the things that he has stated and that we have seen in the Hollywood production, are less than accurate. In a situation where Carter is trying to come off as a man with impeccable character may have done himself a disservice as he blurred important facts to get his point across. Whether or not this means he’s guilty is not for me to say, but it definitely makes you think.

One of the scenes in the movie, where a white child molester approaches Carter and his young friends, a courageous “Hurricane” stands up to this predator and is forced to stab him in order to save his own life. The police’s account states that a fourteen-year-old Carter actually mugged the man of a $55 dollar watch and that the pedophile story was fabricated. There were many things about the movie that was based on his autobiography “The 16th Round” that are put in there intentionally to steer you in one direction, but that is the way that Hollywood operates, so I can’t fault Carter completely for making the man a victim twice, if that is what he did.

One of the biggest controversies from the boxing world’s perspective was the depiction of the bout that Carter had with Joey Giardello. This was a bout that the majority of the boxing experts claim that Giardello had comfortably won, but in the movie, racist judges joined the vast conspiracy and stole the victory from “The Hurricane.” There was a lawsuit filed and eventually settled, lending proof that the press was correct and that the movie had blurred another fact, possibly hurting the reputation of a great fighter.

The motivation to fabricate situations may have been to make the story more appealing to the public, and to make Rubin Carter a righteous character, or perhaps, as Cal Deal contends, it was an effort to take attention away from the facts of the case. Deal has supplied RSR with a lot of evidence that seems to support everything that he says.

GM: I want to talk about Detective Desimone, who is portrayed in the movie the Hurricane, which I will get to later as a racist corrupt police officer, out to get Carter. Now, on page 35 of James S. Hirsch’s book: Hurricane, Desimone is described as a racist. Hirsch writes that his confessions had less to do with gumshoe police work than with intimidation, he was feared. Was he a racist that used strong-arm tactics to get the answers that he wanted regardless of guilt or innocence?

No, first of all, I don’t believe that Desimone was a racist. I didn’t know him well. I met him a couple of times…talked to him on the phone, and I always got the impression that he was an honorable man. There was this little poem that he carried around in his wallet and was with him on the day he died and it’s called “The man in the mirror” or the “face in the glass” or something like that, and it’s basically a poem that says that you have to look yourself in the eye in the morning and do the right thing. It is about the importance of your name and reputation and being an honorable person. He gave a copy to his son and had a copy in his wallet, and that was the kind of person he was. Now, I’m sure that there were circumstances where he had to play the tough guy, but when you are dealing with tough people, you can’t be a wimp. Who knows what he’s done to play act, but I think that the real person wasn’t a racist. Believe me, if I thought that this was a racist prosecution and that Carter was prosecuted because he’s a black man, I would be on his side and not theirs.

That Bello interview that everyone thinks is so significant, but Bello had already identified Carter twice before ever talking to Desimone. He had nothing to do with Carter being identified by Bello. Bello had told it to a detective that ran into him at a bar and he sat down with him, and Bello was being rattled because he was getting threatened by Carter’s friends to keep his damn mouth shut. He’s around Paterson and around people, so he’s vulnerable. So he was rattled. He says to the detective that “you had the guy but you let him go,” and then finally tells the detective that it was Carter and he asks Bello if he will come back and tell his boss and he agrees.

Bello and the detective go back and tell Captain Mohl and so you have the detective and Mohl being told by Bello that it was Carter and only then do they arrange to send it to the county and Desimone gets involved and does that interview. So, it was a done deal before Desimone was ever involved in the case. Carter’s car was identified by Bello and Valentine and Carter, himself, was identified by Bello way before Desimone was involved…so, how can you blame him?

To further dismiss this racist business with Desimone: his boss, Burrell Ives Humphreys in 1976, the new prosecutor was a member of the NAACP. He was a guy that was such a principle man that he was not racist and defended a black couple that was having difficulty buying a house in his white neighborhood. They were being refused and he represented those people against his own neighborhood. That’s the type of principle man that Burrell Humphreys is. The fact that he was a member of the NAACP doesn’t scream racist to me, and he was very, very concerned about the race issue. He did want to be perceived as a white versus black thing. He made certain, and this terrified his fellow prosecutors, that there were blacks on the jury. They could have gotten them off, but he wanted them on and he got them, and those blacks voted to convict. Calling Desimone a racist is the same thing that Carter does to me…painting me as a racist, but in Desimone’s case, everything was already done before he got involved. It wasn’t him to get Bello to identify Carter or the car.

GM: The defense has argued racism in this case, while the prosecution has argued revenge. Could you tell us about the revenge motive?

The key thing to look at, which I have posted on my website, is the map…the getaway route. When I first did that map, it really opened my eyes because all the pieces of the puzzle really stick together when you look at the map. Earlier in the evening, a black bartender was buying the Waltz Inn, which is just six or eight blocks from the Lafayette Grill where the murders took place. He was buying that bar from a white guy and the white guy went to collect money from him that night at around eight o’clock. The black guy told him basically, screw you, I’m not paying you. I’m not sure of the specifics of the case, but that’s the just of it, from what I understand. So, the white guy got pissed off and went out to his car, got his shotgun and went back to the bar and blew the guy’s head off right there in the bar. Then the white guy just stood there and waited for the cops to come. He was then convicted of murder and sent to prison.

Now the key to the Lafayette Grill murders is the black guy was the stepfather of Eddie Rawls. Eddie Rawls is a key name in this case. He is a friend of Carter and was with Carter after his father was murdered and Carter, after the murders, after it’s reconstructed which you can see on the map, went back by the Night Spot, which was right down the street from the Lafayette Grill and rendezvoused with Rawls, the police believe. They went one block south and took 12th avenue, right to Rawls’ house, right after the murders. Everything revolves around Carter and Artis going to Rawls’ house…probably to dump the guns, and the remaining thing is that Carter said that he was going home to get more money, which was part of his alibi story. If you look at the spot at the map when he was pulled over, it was one and a half blocks from Eddie Rawls’ house. They just left there and they were driving slowly, which explains their slow speed at the time because they probably dumped the guns and now he was trying to get home from Rawls’ house. That wasn’t a route though from the Night Spot where he was that night, drinking. It was a route from Rawls’ house.

The Lafayette Grill murders were seen by the police and I believe it to be true because it fits together so well, as retribution for the murder of Rawls’ stepfather and Rawls himself went to the police station that night because he was mad as hell about it and he said that if you don’t take care of it, I will. It’s quoted in the police reports and Carter, and this is something that he forgot to tell police when he was telling him what he did that night, and this is after Rawls’ stepfather was murdered but before the Lafayette Grill murders. He went out looking for his missing shotgun. Somebody had stolen the shotgun from him and that particular night, he went out to find it, but when the cops asked him what he did that night, he forgot to tell them. It has to be more than a coincidence. Carter and Rawls were together after Rawls’ stepfather’s murder. Rawls tells the cops that if they don’t take care of it, he will and Carter is looking for his shotgun. Then a couple of hours later, with a known racist bartender gets targeted for this retribution murder and Carter’s car is identified by the witnesses, and he claims that he had control of the vehicle all night and ninety minutes after the murders, the cops find shotgun shells in the trunk and a live 32 caliber bullet on the floor by the passenger seat and this is before the police knew what weapons were used and it just so happens that the rounds matched the murder weapons. It’s an important piece of the evidence.

GM: I didn’t see that part in the movie.

The movie was done with Carter’s cooperation. They just did the Carter line and didn’t bother to question anything. A really good example of how the movie is bias in Carter’s favor is the really, really important event is when Bello sees the gunman. Do you remember when Bello is standing outside the bar and he’s across the street and he sees the gunmen come out and they come out through the shadows and jump into a car that’s parked right by the curb. Well, that’s not how it happened at all. It’s clearly documented in the court records. Any idiot that reads the court records would know that. What happened was when they walked out through that front door, their car wasn’t parked to the right there as you looked at it from the movie. They had to come around toward the camera, looking from the movie angle now, came around the side of that building and that’s where Pat Valentine’s window was, and their car was double-parked. So first of all, the route that they took to their car was wrong in the movie. Bello wasn’t across the street. He was on the sidewalk going the opposite way…right toward them. He’s walking down the sidewalk and hears these noises, thinking it’s a base drum in the bar or something. He hears the noise, and sees these two well-dressed, black men, carrying weapons. His first reaction was that they must be detectives. As he gets closer, he realizes that this one guy is Rubin Carter and it hits him and he thinks “oh sh*t” and he turns and he runs.

I’ve met Bello a couple of times and in the 1970’s, he tried to milk this case for money, but he has stuck with the true story, or at least I think it’s the true story, in both trials. I don’t believe Bello because I believe Bello. I believe him because of what he says corresponds with what other people have said and saw. For instance, he said that he was on the sidewalk and he turned and ran. Well, there was a guy a couple of doors up the streets that saw him running down the sidewalk and that corroborates his story. The same guy saw the white car going after him and that’s what Bello says. They chased him in a car and he ducked into an alley.

Bello told the police that he saw a woman in the window from the sidewalk. There is no way that he could have seen the woman had he not been where he said that he was.

GM: Did Pat Valentine see Bello?

Pat didn’t see him because he was on the right and she was looking straight ahead. She was looking down at the car and not in his direction, but he saw her. He was the one that told the cops what weapons the cops were using. The cops didn’t even know. He said that one guy had a revolver and the other had a shotgun. So, how would he know that if he wasn’t where he said that he was?

The movie then portrays the area as very dark. Well, I checked and there were streetlights all over the place. For the movie, they turned the streetlights off. That’s how they misled you. They put Bello in the wrong place, turned the lights off, put the getaway car in the wrong place. They did everything that they could to mislead you and everyone else that has seen that movie. It was such a key moment in the case and for them to do that was completely unethical. It’s not right and it wasn’t difficult to find out what Bello had said, but they decided to completely ignore it and then the director on the DVD special features states that he made it as accurate as he possibly could. That’s a bunch of crap.

GM: Racism seemed to be theme of the movie…sowing the seed from the beginning with the white child molester. Do you think that what draws people to this movie is the racism and injustice it claims?

People don’t like to see this type of racist things happen and when you see what’s being portrayed as a success story, that’s a feel good thing. People like it, but in this case, it’s a false story and for people that don’t check out the facts and don’t understand how all of the pieces of the puzzle fit, they don’t get it. Carter today…ask him what his alibi is. If you look in his book, he states that he was taking Anna Mapes and her daughter, Mrs. McGuire home at the time of the murders, so he couldn’t very well be at that Lafayette Grill at that time. In the 1976 trial, the new prosecutor, Humphreys, he made sure that not only did he have blacks on the jury, but he had black investigators. He didn’t want this to be an entirely white operation.

One of the black investigators was a man named Curtis Thompson that I met once and was very impressed by. He was a very intelligent man with a black belt in Karate. He made quite the impression on me in a very positive way. Thompson talked to Mapes and McGuire and they told him that the alibi story that they testified to was false. They had lied to Carter and they testified to that at the second trial as did some other people. In addition to that, on my website, you will find a letter that Carter wrote when he was in jail in 1966 or 1967, after being arrested, he wrote Mapes and McGuire a letter and in that letter, you can see what he’s doing. He is feeding them the alibi story. You know he says “I was thinking about that night and I was thinking about what happened and I want you to read it and remember it” or something like that. Then he tells them the whole alibi story in that letter and it was an attempt to give the alibi story to those people, but he police intercepted it. A copy of that letter, in Carter’s own handwriting is on my website and it tells you a lot about what’s going on. He was trying to feed them the alibi story and then nine or ten years later, those witnesses state under oath and publicly that they lied the first time and that it was all false.

 RSR Readers: Stay tuned for Part 3: Guilty: The Other Side of the Hurricane. RSR Sits Down with Herald News Reporter, Cal Deal to Discuss Rubin Carter, where we will discuss the effect that Lesra Martin and the Canadians had in the release of Carter and the facts surrounding the eventual release of the Hurricane.

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