1997 by J. Gregory Payne Ph.D.
The shootings at Kent State University were followed by chaos throughout
the community. The school was immediately closed, and there was a massive
communication breakdown in the area; the telephone system was inoperable.
Initial reports listed two Guardsmen as dead, and local citizens feared reprisals
from "outside agitators" and Weatherman.(56)
Rumors were accepted without verification as many living in the Kent area
heard one or more of the following statements:
Snipers are coming in from out of state to even the score.
LSD is now in the water supply.
The revolution will begin at Kent.
Two hundred students from Akron will overrun the town.
Police are on the lookout for Weathermen believed to be disguised
as National Guardsmen.(57)
With all the national media broadcasting details of the incident at Kent State, citizens of Ohio absorbed the shocking news on the eve of the Republican senatorial primary which involved the Ohio Governor, James A. Rhodes, who had ordered the National Guard into Kent. Facing an uphill struggle against Robert Taft, the governor had chosen a touch "law and order" theme for his campaign, and had vowed in his press conference in Kent the day before the shootings to "use any force necessary" in order to keep the Ohio schools open. The governor lost the senatorial election by less than one percent of the total vote, but a poll taken one week prior to the shootings had suggested a disastrous defeat for him.(58)
There is much evidence to suggest general approval of the Guard's actions by the citizens of Kent and Portage County and a great many Americans in the country at large. Prominent businessmen and citizens of Kent purchased an advertisement in the Ken Record Courier, owned by Robert D. Dix, chairman of the Kent State University Board of Trustees, declaring "THANK YOU GENERAL DEL CORSO AND THE NATIONAL GUARD."(59) The Mayor of Kent praised the actions of the National Guard during their stay in Kent.(60) Some persons expressed the thought that "more should have been killed,"(61) "that outside agitators should not b let in,"(62) and that "when trouble-makers have long hair, use bad language and go barefoot and even destroy property, they have to be stopped."(63)
As for responsibility for the shooting, the prevalent opinion was that the Guardsmen wee surrounded, that their lives were endangered by rocks and missiles hurled at them, that a sniper had fired upon them, and they thus rightly fired in self-protection.(64) Returning in June to the first official activity permitted on the Kent State campus after the shooting, John Kifner, New York Times reporter who covered the earlier incidents at Kent, reported "resentment and fear among the solid middle-class citizens."(65) He remarked that "there are few regrets expressed by townspeople over the deaths of the four students, and those few are usually prefaces to baffled outrage over the smashing of stores..."(66)
In an effort to keep "undesirables" out of Kent, Mayor Satrom and the Kent City Council initiated a plan to ban all live entertainment, rock concerts, and the sale of beer in their city.(67) General Del Corso reported that the greatest volume of mail ever received by the Ohio National Guard showed support for the Guard's action by a fifteen-to-one margin.(68) The reactions of national leaders echoed those voiced in Ohio, as President Richard M. Nixon issued a statement which attributed blame to the students, "...when dissent runs to violence, it invites tragedy."(69)
An immediate explanation of the Guard for the shootings was offered by Adjutant General Sylvester Del Corso a few hours after the gunfire on the Ohio campus; he was not present during the shooting incident, but had specific opinions about the cause of the shootings. Del Corso telephoned a Cleveland talk show the evening of May 4, 1970, and reportedly stated to the host and radio listeners that a sniper had opened fire upon the National Guard at Kent State and thus triggered the fatal volley of gunfire.(70) The following day Del Corso denied the statement, but later resumed advocacy of the sniper theory. General Robert Canterbury, who was present during the shootings at Kent, hinted at the possibility of a sniper, but offered another explanation of the tragedy. According to Canterbury, with the loss of crowd control because the tear gas supply was becoming exhausted, the National Guardsmen feared for their lives from the dual threats of being overrun by throngs of students and being injured by the huge rocks and objects that were being constantly thrown from the crowd.(71) When later investigation indicated no evidence substantiated the sniper theory, the leaders of the Guard insisted that the soldiers fired at the students at Kent State because they were "surrounded" and "would have been killed" otherwise.(72)
Although only sketchy information was available of the shooting incident, the news media generally echoed the view expressed by the Guard leaders, and the majority of Americans supported the Guard's actions at Kent State.(73) Many parents viewed the shootings as the tragic lot of a generation weaned on permissiveness. This view directly contradicted student reaction and resulted in further division between generations. The country experienced its first national student strike, in which over one third of the Nation's campuses were involved.(74) There were approximately one hundred strikes per day for the four days following the deaths, as universities throughout the nation were besieged by protesting students.(75) One hundred thousand marched in Washington to protest the war and the killings at Kent. Tempers clashed between the two generations in the construction workers' demonstration in New York, in which hundreds of construction workers violently clashed with students and demanded that the city raise flags it had lowered in honor of the Kent deaths.(76)
Although there was much debate concerning the incident, many Americans viewed the Kent shootings as having one beneficial feature: students would now know the limit. To another segment of Americans, the Kent State and Jackson State shootings were domestic examples of the genocidal warfare waged against any person or country opposed to the policies of those in power in America.
In an effort to excavate the facts surrounding the shooting, the Akron Beacon Journal and members of the Knight newspaper team launched an intensive investigation into the Kent incident, which culminated in a thirty-thousand word report, later awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The report offered these conclusions to its readers on May 24, 1970:
The four victims did nothing that justified their death. They threw no rocks nor were they politically radical. No sniper fired at the National Guard. No investigative agency has yet found any evidence sufficient to support such a theory. The guardsmen fired without orders to do so. Some aimed deliberately at students; others fired in panic or in follow-the-leader style. It was not necessary to kill or wound any students. The Guardsmen had several other options which they did not exercise, including firing warning shots or marching safely away. There is no evidence to support suggestions by University and city officials that four members of the Students for a Democratic Society [SDS] planned and directed the trouble. No reasonable excuse could be found for the violent and illegal acts by the students-breaking downtown store windows, burning the university ROTC building, and throwing rocks at the Guardsmen before the shooting. All these created turmoil and ill feeling. The prime and immediate cause of the trouble was President Nixon's decision to invade Cambodia. Kent State, a basically conservative campus, has not generally been violent in the past.(77)
Even though the award-winning Beacon Journal investigation was critical of
the Guards' actions and challenged many aspects of the incident as described
by the Ohio officials, much of the press continued to repeat earlier reports
of snipers and revolutionary planning of the confrontation at Kent State.(78)
Hoping to further support this view, Portage County Prosecutor Ronald Kane
conducted a raid on the empty housing units at Kent State while the school
was closed. The confiscated weapons, ranging from a bb gun to a twenty-gauge
shotgun, and drugs, ranging form marijuana to cold capsules, were proof, according
to the prosecutor, that "students were obviously not coming to school to get
an education."(79) While the prosecutor's bounty offered
further evidence to many that the shootings at Kent were master-minded by
the SDS and other radical groups, the search was deplored by civil liberty
groups who questioned the legality of the search and argued that the findings
were not atypical of those present on any other campus of in any suburb.(80)
The raid was further criticized when it was learned that one of the officials
conducting the search had presumably taken money from one of the rooms.(81)
Doubt concerning the Kent State deaths and unresolved questions surrounding the events at Jackson State resulted in further calls for the Federal Government to convene a commission dedicated to investigating the incidents. During the last week of May, 1970, presidential news aide Herbert Klein announced the impending appointment of a "high level commission to get to the bottom of the facts."(82) The statement was challenged by another White House aide, Gerald Warren, who remarked that the commission's purpose "wouldn't necessarily be to get to the bottom of the facts of the shooting," but instead would be more of a "broad study."(83) This reaction aroused suspicion among those seeking a thorough investigation of the Kent incident. Such fears were somewhat allayed by the choice of those to serve on the commission, which began its investigations on June 25, 1970.(84) Nonetheless, the commission was told to have the report finished by October 1970, a deadline criticized by many.
Operating under the belief that the Justice Department was in the process of convening a Federal Grand Jury and with the knowledge that a grand jury was investigating the case in Ohio, the President's Commission on Campus Unrest* did not deal with possible criminal conduct on the part of those involved in the disturbances, but did suggest further investigation into determining responsibility for the incidents. Some of the major conclusions of the Commission's report, which was submitted to the White House in September 1970, were:
Violence by students on or off the campus can never be justified by any grievance, philosophy, or political idea. The May 4 rally began as a peaceful assembly on the Commons the traditional site of student assemblies. Even if the Guard had authority to prohibit a peaceful gathering--a question that is at least debatable--the decision to disperse the noon rally was a serious error. The timing and manner of the dispersal were disastrous. The actions of some students of throwing rocks, waving flags, and shouting obscenities were dangerous, reckless, and irresponsible. The Guard's action of firing into the crowd was unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable.(85)
The President's Commission also pointed out the need for moral leadership by the President in such turbulent times to guard against replication of the events at Ken State. There were indications that the findings were not generally accepted at the White House.(86) In a response to the reference to the need for moral leadership by the Chief Executive, President Nixon, in a letter to Governor Scranton, wrote:
"...moral authority in a great and diverse nation such as ours does not reside in the Presidency alone. There are thousands upon thousands of individuals, clergy, teachers, public officials, scholars, writers-to whom segments of the nation look for moral, intellectual and political leadership."(87)
Vice President Spiro Agnew labeled the Commissions' recommendations "pabulum for permissiveness,"(88) and others who viewed the Kent incident from a different perspective, were equally critical of the findings.(89) The secrecy maintained by the National Guard after the shootings in May continued, as none of the men who fired their weapons testified before the Commission. Another problem lay in assessing responsibility for the decision to disperse the rally, a gathering which the Commission labeled "peaceful" prior to the dispersal move by the Guard. Contradictory accounts were provided by Brigadier General Robert Canterbury and Kent State University President Robert White, as each blamed the other for the decision. There was no resolution of this key issue or other moot points.
While the President's Commission was conducting its investigation of both the Kent State and Jackson State shootings, efforts were being made to prod the Justice Department into Impaneling a Federal Grand Jury to examine the events at Kent State. Opposing any personal appearance in any inquiry into the incident at Kent, Ohio's Governor James A. Rhodes denied Prosecutor Ronald Kane's request for state money to launch a Portage County based investigation into the shooting.(90)
New developments resulted in more pressure being applied for an intensive investigation into the happenings at Kent. The Akron Beacon Journal had reported earlier in the summer that the Ohio State Highway Report, a three-thousand page document by the Ohio State Police Department, contained no mention of a sniper fire, a finding concurred in by other investigations, which virtually eliminated this explanation for the Guard firing.(91) Further questioning of the Guard's explanation of the shooting occurred in the July 23 issue of the Akron Beacon Journal, which summarized the contents of a special Justice Department Summary of the FBI's investigation into the Kent State incident.(92) According to the Akron Beacon Journal, some of the FBI's findings were:
There was no sniper.
The Guardsmen had not been surrounded.
They [the Guardsmen] could have resorted to tear gas rather than shooting.
The rock throwing had not been widespread or as dangerous as claimed by General Canterbury.
The shooting was "not proper and not in order."(93)
These findings were similar to those previously presented in the Akron
Beacon Journal special report on the Kent incident, and resulted in General
Del Corso's remarking that the Justice Department's summary was "unbelievable"
and "disregarded many of the facts" which he himself had presented.(94)
The Akron Beacon Journal's headlined Justice Department story, and its own earlier study of the incident, focused national attention on the discrepancies between the official investigations and the National Guard's explanation of the shooting at Kent. Further pressure was exerted on the Justice Department to convene a Federal Grand Jury to investigate the matter. Admitting that both Guardsmen and students had violated certain laws, Attorney-General John Mitchell suggested the initial step should be taken by proper authorities in Ohio.(95) Governor James A. Rhodes directed Ohio Attorney-General Paul W. Brown to convene a special Ohio Grand Jury to look into the Kent State shootings.(96) This decision effectively removed local Prosecutor Ronald Kane from the position of power, because a Rhodes' protZ¹gZ¹, Attorney-General Brown, was thus put in charge of appointing prosecutors to present the material to the Grand Jury.
Attorney-General Brown, who had remarked in his campaign for office that "all protesters should be put into concentration camps," chose three state prosecutors to present the evidence to the fifteen member jury.(97) One of the prosecutors chosen was Portage County Republican Chairman and lawyer, Seabury Ford, a former member of the Ohio National Guard's 107th Armored Cavalry, and well known for his conservative and anti-student views.(98) The other two prosecutors were Robert Balyeat, a prosecutor from a neighboring county and political ally of Attorney-General Brown, and Perry Dickinson, a former FBI agent and the Democratic party representative on the prosecuting team.
Although Ohio was moving in the direction of convening its first official investigation into the incident at Kent State, to many persons it appeared that the decision had already been made regarding culpability of the National Guard. Attorney-General Brown announced prior to the first meeting of the Jury, "On the evidence we have available-and we have as much as anyone, I don't see any evidence upon which a grand jury would indict any guardsmen."(99) On the other hand, Prosecutor Balyeat pledged impartiality of the jury in asserting that the investigation would be "wide open" and would examine "all the evidence fairly and impartially."(100) The evidence likely to be examined included the eight-thousand page FBI report, photographs, the Ohio State Highway Report, which contained photographs marking several hundred rioters as "possible grand jury indictees,"(101) notes of the President's Commission, and the Justice Department Summary which identified six guardsmen who could face criminal charges for their action at Kent State.(102) The Akron Beacon Journal reported that given the conclusions reached by previous investigatory teams, possible indictments of murder, arson, assault, malicious destruction of property, and others could be handed down against various Guardsmen and students.(103)
Before discussing the activities of the Special Grand Jury of Portage County, it is important to understand the general function of this legal body, which may be stated as follows:
...to return indictments in criminal cases and/or to investigate matters on its own initiative for possible criminal action...(104) If 12 grand jurors concur that the evidence before them constitutes probable cause that a person has committed an offense the State's Attorney shall prepare a Bill of Indictment charging that person with such offense. The foreman shall sign each Bill of Indictment which shall be returned in open court... When the evidence presented to the Grand Jury does not warrant the return of a Bill of Indictment, the State's Attorney may prepare a written memorandum to such effect, entitled, "No Bill."(105)
The Special Grand Jury of Portage County began its investigation on September 13, 1970. Its twenty-four meetings cost approximately $50,000, as it interviewed three hundred individuals, far more than the President's Commission or any other investigative body concerned with the Kent incident.(106) Those on the Jury were a "fairly representative cross section" of the people of the area.(107)
Events following the shooting at Kent State and prior to the implement of
the Special Grand Jury of Portage County provide important background information
concerning the attitudes, values, and beliefs of the Jury members as people
residing in the Kent area. The rift between the university and town widened
after the shooting. Through city ordinances and other means, the citizens
of Kent attempted to guard themselves against further acts of violence by
students. Throughout the summer of 1970, many inhabitants of Kent feared invasion
by "radicals," or a sabotage of the city's water supply by radicals adding
LSD.(108) The "Letters to the Editor" in the local papers
indicated that the majority of those living in Portage County were very supportive
of the National Guard's actions in quelling the spring riots, and were extremely
critical of reports such as the one prepared by the Akron Beacon Journal,
which viewed the incident from a different perspective.(109)
Understanding the attitudes, values, and beliefs of the individuals involved, and the events which preceded the Special Grand Jury of Portage County's Report, (110) is extremely important in the analysis of the report. Karl Wallace, noted Scholar of Rhetoric, has written that to understand the audience is to understand the conditions to which its members have been subject, under which its members have suffered,"(111) and it is evident from the discussion above that most of those in Portage County had "suffered" together in their relations with the Kent State students. Life style, behavior, and past actions had all resulted inmost citizens of the Kent area forming definite opinions of the students at Kent State, and it was from this group of people that the Jury was selected.
Speculation concerning the daily events in the Special Grand Jury hearing was evident in the Ohio newspapers. An Akron Beacon Journal reporter wrote, "...professors and officials of the university city, and national Guard, students, policemen, firemen, and approximately 100 others testified before the Jury in the Portage County Courthouse in Ravenna, the county seat."(112) During the Jury's proceedings, Common Pleas Judge Edwin Jones decreed there would be no news media, cameras, recorders, or reporters on the premises.
Governor Rhodes' pre-emption of Prosecutor Kane's investigative plans apparently made it possible for the Governor to avoid an appearance before the investigatory body. Prior to the convening of the Special Grand Jury of Portage County, the Ohio Chief Executive had refused to appear before the President's Commission, and according to newspaper reports had "gone to extravagant lengths to avoid testifying," before any investigation.(113)
With the Grand Jury thus convened, many individuals were openly skeptical of the objectivity of the investigation, especially given the background of those on the Jury and the site of the investigation. Several persons questioned by the Grand Jury complained that pertinent matters were not covered in the questioning, and the Grand Jury "seemed to have a preconceived idea and were trying to prove it."(114) The Grand Jury spent an unusual one-third of the total of twenty-four sessions writing the eighteen-page report, a function normally completed by the prosecutors.(115) Upon completion of the report on October 16, Judge Jones, in dismissing the Grand Jury, extended his ban on comment which had been in effect throughout the hearing as he told the Grand Jury, "You will take the secret to your grave of what occurred here."(116) The ban on critical comment on the report, or any type of discussion of the proceedings or testimony, was extended to anyone connected with the proceedings of the Special Grand Jury; the conclusions of the Special Grand Jury of Portage County were to be beyond critical comment.(117)
The Grand Jury Report placed ultimate blame for the shootings on the Kent State University Administration, and exonerated the National Guard: twenty-five students and professors were indicted, but not one guardsman was so accused. The Jurors asserted that the university administration's lax policies and inability to rid the campus of troublemakers had set the stage for the violence of May 4, 1970. The Report described the administration's apparent failure to control a radical minority of students and faculty, which had resulted in an overemphasis on dissent in the classrooms, and an inability to govern effectively. En toto, the Grand Jury condoned the shooting incident. It concluded that the National Guardsmen had been surrounded by hostile rioters and were forced to fire their weapons. Thus, under governing Ohio statute, individual guardsmen could not be prosecuted for their actions.
The Report itself is the strongest piece of evidence for those doubting the Juror's impartiality and objectivity. Its claims and emphases are almost completely contradictory to the conclusions reached by the President's Commission, the special report of the Akron Beacon Journal, the Justice Department's Summary of the FBI Report, among others. While these investigations faulted many agencies and agents active throughout the weekend of May 1-4 and were critical of the students' actions, they were also highly critical of the behavior of the National Guard. The FBI Report suggested the Guardsmen had lied concerning the self-defense story.(118) Attorney General John Mitchell concluded the shootings were "unwarranted, unnecessary, and inexcusable."(119)
The language in the Report reveals predisposition's of the Jurors. Many of the same derisive terms used by General Canterbury and the Guardsmen in their description of the weekend incident were also employed by the Jurors. The Grand Jury negatively described all agents of Kent State University, a source of conflict for many in the Kent area. Students were labeled as "rioters" and "members of the mob"; the Kent State University Police Department was described as "totally inadequate"; and the Kent State administration was described as practicing "laxity, over-indulgence, and permissiveness with its students and faculty...to the extent that it no longer runs the University..." In contrast, the National Guard was viewed in a positive manner throughout the Report. The facts were simple, in the view of the Grand Jury. The administration had lost control of the university to a radical elite bent on destruction of the town and Kent State. Harassed, stoned, over-run, and fearing for their safety the National Guardsmen were forced to fire into the "mob" to save their lives. The responsibility for the incident was obviously on the "rioters" and the Kent State University administration.
The Grand Jury's attempt to place the blame for the incident entirely on the University suggests that non-judicial predispositions led to adherence to certain prior biases and corresponding subsequent manipulation of the available data. These biases are indicated by the fact that while other investigations did not cite the University as a responsible agent, the Jurors devoted over half of the Report to culpable University responsibility. Instead of focusing on the events of May 1-4, the Grand Jury Report emphasized attendant disruptions that happened prior to and after the incident. The Grand Jury's failure to question the banning of the May 4 rally, its tendency to identify all dissent with violent dissent, its indictment of selected student and faculty leaders on clearly questionable grounds, and its general argument all seem to point to a commitment not to the rights of the individual but to the use of social and judicial repressive means to exclude and disable opposing groups and views. Underlying all these failures is the implied argument that any opposition groups attempting to criticize established authority or its policies are ipso facto suspect and subject to punishment.
The Special Grand Jury of Portage County did not seriously attempt to objectively discover the facts concerning the Kent State incident. Ignoring other investigations, the Grand Jury formulated an interpretation based not on facts, but on opinions, beliefs, and values acceptable to the average citizen of Portage County, Ohio, who did not need an investigation of the Kent shootings to know who was at fault.
The anti-university, pro-Guard theme found throughout the Report mirrored the predominant opinions found throughout America as reported in a 1970 Newsweek poll.(120)
On October 13, 1970, prior to the release of the Special Grand Jury Report of Portage County, Ohio Senator Stephen Young read on the United States Senate floor a thirty-five page report prepared by the Justice Department which summarized the FBI's findings on the Kent State incident.(121) Unlike the ten-page report made public by the Akron Beacon Journal earlier the summer, this more detailed summary, which Prosecutor Balyeat had indicated was available to the Grand Jury, contained the following statement: "We have reason to believe that the claim by the National Guard that their lives were endangered by the students was fabricated subsequent to the event."(122)
Newspaper coverage of this revelation regarding the FBI's suspicion of the Guard's self-defense story was surprisingly slow. The Akron Beacon Journal did not include mention of Senator Young' speech until October 23, 1970, when the paper's headline read, "Young: Guard Fabricated Peril."(123) As evidence of the fabrication, the Justice Department Summary of the FBI Report included the following passage, which had been earlier printed in the Akron Beacon Jounral's special issue on the Kent State incident. The passage read:
Additionally, an unknown Guardsman, age 23, married, and a machinist by trade was interviewed by members of the Knight newspaper chain. He admitted that his life was not in danger and than he fired indiscriminately into the crowd. He further stated that the Guardsmen had gotten together after the shooting and decided to fabricate the story that they were in danger of serious bodily harm or death from the students. The published newspaper article quoted the Guardsman as saying: "The guys have been saying that we got to get together and stick to the same story, that it was our lives or them, a matter of survival. I told them I would tell the truth and couldn't get in trouble that way.(124)
In his investigation into the possibility of fabrication of evidence on the part of the National Guard, I. F. Stone learned from a President's Commission "source" that "raw FBI depositions from the Guardsmen" had resulted in the Bureau's suspicion "because about thirty of them [the Guardsmen] used virtually identical phrases in describing their danger from the students.( 125) Therefore, as the Special Grand Jury of Portage County was about to release its findings which would exonerate the National Guard and blame the students and the administration for the incident of May 4, other sources were seriously questioning the Guard's explanation for the shooting.
The day the special Grand Jury Report of Portage County was released, the Akron Beacon Journal carried a story voicing the White House's dissatisfaction, particularly Mr. Nixon's with the findings of the President's Commission's, which called upon the President to provide the country with the moral leadership it needed in this derisive period.(126) Reports in the Kent-Ravenna Record-Courier indicated the Grand Jury Report provided the type of leadership expected by a majority of those residing in Portage County.(127) The following statement of a Kent citizen was typical of the attitude then prevalent in the community:
They [the students] have put down everything this generation had done, and God known we've done a lot --Social Security, workmen's compensation, unemployment insurance, aid to the elderly, Medicare... the acts of a tiny majority have frightened my generation, and I mean frightened... Why do we have to be subjected to this kind of thing? Jerry Rubin said right on campus "Get a gun and shoot your parents." I can't tell you what that did to them man on the street... Now Main on Friday night is the most awful street in America. Nobody goes downtown on Friday night if he's not a student...these people don't hate kids, but in the last five years they've been put in a state of paranoia by a violent radical few and by the majority who should have reacted a little differently. I believe students ought to be very careful with the shock tactics they have been using, because if you shock, you shouldn't complain about the reaction.(128)
Local support for the Grand Jury's findings was not confined to the "older generation" of citizens. A survey published in the Akron Beacon Journal revealed that among Ohio high school students, fifth-eight percent saw the students at fault rather than the Guard for the tragedy at Kent State.(129)
Because of the gag order imposed by Judge Jones, individuals who had participated in the proceedings were unable to comment on the Jury's findings. Stifled by this decree, the Kent State University administration was forced to silence, even though there was strong opposition to the Report. Criticism of the Grand Jury was voiced by the Kent Ministerial Association who labeled the entire Report "inadequate" in its "treatment of the events and eventual tragedy of May 1-4, 1970."(130) The religious group based this conclusion on three factors: the Jurors' failure to "take with sufficient seriousness" the findings of the President's Commission; the Grand Jury's assumption of the presence of a greater amount of "administrative control over faculty and student life than is possible in a university dedicated to the spirit of free inquiry"; and the Jurors incorrect assumption that the University had "failed to benefit from the events of May 4, 1970."(131)
National reaction to the Grand Jury's findings was quite different from the general acceptance of the Report in Ohio. NBC news anchor-man David Brinkley called the Report and its findings "utterly absurd."(132) Ohio's Senator Stephen Young, who had earlier released the more detailed FBI Report, labeled the Grand Jury Report a "fraud and a fakery."(133) Senator George McGovern saw the Report as "a whitewash of the agents of government."(134)
The indictments of students and faculty by the Grand Jury prompted many nationally known attorneys to comment and offer assistance to those facing trial. To a crowd of approximately one thousand people in Kent, William Junstler, attorney in the "Chicago Seven" trial, announced that the Jurors had indicted the students "to clean the skirts of the National Guard," and suggested, "If a fight is going to be made, it might as well be made on the campus at Kent State."(135) Former Attorney General of the United States, Ramsey Clark offered his assistance to indicted Kent State student body president, Craig Morgan, and stated, "The moral and political issues involved in this case are so important that I am gratified that I am be able to participate in Craig's defense."(136) It became evident that the upcoming trial would be a subject of concern not only to the defendants, but to many people throughout the country. Offering his assessment of the impact of the Special Grand Jury Report of Portage County, novelist James A. Michener stated that one's ideological framework dictated the reaction to the Report. According to Michener, some viewed the Report as "a rural, conservative, know-nothing answer to the Scranton report [the President's Commission]which was urban, liberal, and carefully studies."(137) The other dominant interpretation identified the Portage County investigation as "a damned good Republican campaign document for the elections in November."(138)
While debate continued on the findings of the Grand Jury, those who charged that subjectivity and bias was evident in the report received support for their case in an October 24 story in the Akron Beacon Journal. In an interview, special prosecutor Seabury Ford violated Judge Jones' order prohibiting public comment about the case, and told the reporter that the Guardsmen present on the campus "should have shot 'em all."(139) Strongly supportive of the Guard's self-defense story, the chairman of the Portage County Republican party indicated that the incident was "communist inspired," and added, "There is no question that those boys [the Guardsmen] would have been killed up there-if they hadn't turned around and fired."(140) Stating that the prevalent opinion of the average Kent citizen was "Why didn't the Guard shoot more of them," Ford indicated that he always had a gun nearby and added, "I think the whole damn country is not going to quite down until the police are ordered to shoot to kill."(141) As for cause of the incident, Ford stated that evidence presented before the Grand Jury pointed to "communists," financially supported from "Russia through Cuba and the United Nations."(142) Ford also offered the following thoughts on the volley of fire from the National Guard's rifles: "The point is, it stopped the riot-you can't argue with that. It just stopped it flat."(143) The special prosecutor indicated that "99 percent" of those had spoken with supported the Grand Jury's findings. As to his view of participating in the investigation, Ford said, "I wouldn't want to do it again. But I wouldn't have missed it for the world."(144)
The Ford remarks resulted in outcry from various sectors. Newspapers criticized his statements in the wake of the legal ban on comment and the polarization of attitudes which already characterized the Kent case. In response to Ford's comments, Kent State University professor, Glenn Frank, who had testified before the Grand Jury, broke the court order on silence and indicated that he "was ashamed of our system as it is working in Portage County right now."(145) Stating that he had been on campus during the shooting incident and was as knowledgeable as anyone on the event, Frank identified the special prosecutor as a "troublemaker" and indicated that the Republic Chairman's statements were politically motivated.(146) Outlining his disgust with Ford's remarks, an emotionally charged Frank stated:
I have spent 17 years teaching college students geology, a lust for life, and a respect for our laws and our system... I speak now in contempt of court, in contempt of the naive and stupid conclusions of the Special Grand Jury specifically as to their reasons for the May 4 disturbance, in contempt of Judge [Edwin] Jones for the gag rules placed on President White and in personal contempt for lawyer Ford for his lack of understanding after 68 years of what I believe to be a wasted life... I cannot live with a conscience that permits people to say they "should have shot all troublemakers."(147)
The last week of October, 1970, witnessed both Ford and Frank pleading guilty to contempt of court changes for their statements in defiance of the gag rule. The interest generated by Prosecutor Ford's explosive comments resulted in the surfacing of previously unknown information that the lawyer had been a former national Guardsman in his youth.(148) In response o inquires of possible conflict of interest, Ohio Attorney General Paul A. Brown, who had appointed Ford as a special prosecutor, indicated that he "didn't know he had been a guardsman."(149) Brown added that the revelations should not make "any difference" but also indicated that had he known of the information earlier, "I would have avoided appointing him."(150)
Earlier in 1970, some of the parents of those killed at Kent State had filed wrongful death suits against the state of Ohio. A verdict handed down in October in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court thwarted those efforts. The ruling indicated that the "state could not be sued without the state's permission.(151)
November 3, 1970 proved to be a significant day for those interested in the Kent State incident. U.S. District Court Judge Ben C. Green lifted the gag rule imposed by Judge Jones.(152) In handing down his decision, Green suggested "public officials may not wield an ax when a scalpel is required," labeled such a ban on critical comment as "overly broad," and stated that the Grand Jury Report had gone "beyond consideration of the offense on which the indictments are based."(153) Explaining this ruling, Judge Green said, "It [the Grand Jury Report] considers the conduct of not only those charged with violations of the law, but also makes a critical report of the actions and conduct" of officials and parties involved in the incident.(154) Judge also questioned the Jurors' authority to comment on "the very delicate matter of academic freedom."(155) Green stated that the events of May 4 were "a matter of national, social, political, and moral concern and debate," and gave his objection to the gag rule on over three hundred individuals as follows: "The difficulty with this argument is that the order prevents not only the 300 from speaking, but the rest of the world from hearing."(156)
The CBS Evening News of November 3, 1970, provided further impetus to those seriously challenging the findings of the Grand Jury Report. Major John W. Simons, chaplain of the regiment of Ohio National Guard involved in the shooting incident at Kent, told CBS newsman Robert Schakne that he did not "believe the guard to be a controlled, disciplined military unit."(157) The chaplain criticized Brig. General Canterbury and General Del Corso for their action at Kent and Governor Rhodes, whom he identified as believing "that every campus disorder is another Normandy invasion."(158) Simons described the shooting situation as one in which the Guardsmen "were angry and so they were in a position where someone, or some, could act out their fear and occurred..Somebody fired without orders."(159) The chaplain told the viewing audience, "I think this is hat occurred...Somebody fired without orders."(160) In response to a question by Schakne on the prevalent mood in Ohio that "if they didn't want to get shot they shouldn't have been rioting," Major Simons responded by stating that practicing the rights to dissent was "one of the tests of democracy."(161) Simons further stated that he believed "democracy lost that round,"(162) and concluded the interview by indicating that the situation at Kent had not called for the troops to open fire against the students.(163)
November 3, 1970 revealed other surprises concerning the Kent incident. New York Post writer, Anthony Prisendorf wrote that the report of the President's Commission on Campus Unrest had not been available to the Grand Jury during its deliberation.(164) The earlier assurance of Chief Prosecutor for the Grand Jury, Robert Balyeat, that "all available evidence" would be resented to the Jurors was highlighted by a story in the Akron Beacon Journal which quoted Balyeat as admitting that thirteen Jurors "never saw a Justice Department report which said there is reason to believe that Guardsmen fabricated the self-defense story."(165) The Akron Beacon Journal story also revealed that Capt. Raymond Srp, who had earlier told the FBI that the Guardsmen's lives "were not in danger" and that the incident was "not a shooting situation," had not been called to testify before the Grand Jury.(166) Had Srp offered this evidence to the Grand Jury, the Beacon Journal reported, "his statements to the FBI would have run counter to testimony presented by men under his command who reportedly told Jurors they feared for their lives when they fired."(167)
Prosecutor Balyeat offered no reason for the exclusion of Srp as a witness, but discounted criticism of his failure to include the Justice Department material by indicating that the Grand Jury considered "firsthand evidence" presented by the numerous witnesses.(168) Stating "we would not normally present to the Grand Jury Conclusions reached by another investigative body such as the Justice Department," Balyeat admitted that other summative reports such as the Ohio Highway Patrol's account had been available to the Jurors.(169) Exclusion of the important thirty-five page Justice Department Summary also raised doubt regarding Balyeat's statements made upon release of the Grand Jury Report. At that time the chief prosecutor stated, "we had all the evidence that the Scranton Commission had."(170) There is no mention of the Justice Department Summary in the Grand Jury Report. Nonetheless, in the introductory paragraphs, the Jurors state that "all pertinent information and evidence have been examined in detail." In addition to raising questions on the Jurors' access to pertinent materials and the criteria for calling witnesses, the Akron Beacon Journal story also included statements by witnesses who claimed that specific areas of concern were ignored as the Grand Jury focused on matters which seem unrelated to the incident.(171)
Judge Green's lifting of the ban on comment was immediately followed by official reaction from the Kent State University administration. Ronald Beer, Assistant to Kent State President Robert White, challenged the objectivity of the Report and the information made available to the Jurors. Beer concluded: "It would appear that they did not make an honest effort to find out all the facts."(172) In a speech to a convention of educators, President White told his audience that the Grand Jury's conclusions were "applicable to all higher education,"" and added, "the Grand Jury Report is inaccurate, disregarded clear evidence, and if pursued in all its nuances, would eventually destroy not only Kent State, but all major universities in America."(173)
Controversy regarding materials used in the formulation of the Report continued throughout the fall of 1970. Senator Stephen Young charged that not only had the Justice Department Summary and the President's Commission Report been excluded from the Grand Jury, but that other relevant findings were ignored in the preparation of the Jurors' conclusion regarding the May 4 incident.(174) Criticism of the report continued as New Haven, New Jersey, city Police Chief James F. Ahern, who had served on the President's Commission on Campus Unrest, asserted that the Grand Jury's exoneration of the Guardsmen for their actions was "inconsistent with the facts."(175) Another member of the President's Commission, James Rhodes, labeled the Grand Jury a "kangaroo court."(176)
Approval and disapproval of Grand Jury was found in places other than Ohio. NBC newsman, Carl Stern reported that the White House supported the conclusion of the Report.(177) The New York Times ran stories listing the contradictions between the Grand Jury Report and the President's Commission.(178) Noting the disparity among the reports, many individuals called for the federal government to convene a Federal Grand Jury to establish facts surrounding the Kent incident. Careful examination of the President's Commission revealed the limited nature of its investigation in establishing responsibility for the incident. At the onset of the investigation the commission members wrote:
During our investigation, the Attorney General of Ohio announced the convening of a state grand jury. The grand jury began proceedings in September as this report was being written. We deem it of paramount importance that the commission do nothing to interfere with the criminal process. We therefore have not sought to establish and report names of persons who might be guilty of city, state, or federal offenses.(179)
Further insight into the incident was not to come from the official National Guard report. The Akron Beacon Journal's December 10, 1970, issue reported that the Guard's annual report submitted to Governor Rhodes "contained only one paragraph" dealing with the incident at Kent State.(180) In describing the action of the Guard, the report read that the incident "ended when National Guard troops, acting in self-defense, fired their weapons killing four students and wounding several others."(181)
Disagreement with the Grand Jury Report and the indictments resulted in two separate civil suits challenging the Report and its findings.(182) The suits, filed by a group of professors, indicted students, alumni of Kent State, and several clergymen, were heard on January 28, 1970. Federal Judge William K. Thomas rules the Report was "unconstitutional" and "ordered it expunged from the records and physically destroyed."(183) To the dismay of those who initiated the action, the Judge paradoxically upheld the indictments rendered by the Grand Jury. Therefore, while the Report was to be destroyed, the indictments it handed down were to stand.
A year following the release of the Grand Jury Report found those charged still awaiting trial. A District Court ruling directed the State of Ohio to set a trial date, and the prosecutors complied by announcing the trials would begin on November 22, 1971. Various appeals were made by both parties involved. The state desired to overturn the earlier ruling regarding the Report as "unconstitutional," but the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the earlier decision and "ordered the controversial document burned within twenty-one days of handing down its decisions."(184)
The trials of the "Kent 25" began with jury selection at the Portage County courthouse in Ravenna, Ohio, where the indictments had been rendered. Presiding over the selection of jurors was Judge Edwin Jones who had one year earlier performed the same duty for the Special Grand Jury. As he did in the Grand Jury hearing, Judge Jones banned comment and "any type of protest around the courthouse."(185)
The proceedings of the trials were marked by the prosecution's lack of sufficient evidence to present a viable case and receive verdicts of guilty against many of those charged.(186) Because of prejudice charges filed against him, Judge Jones removed himself from hearing ten of the cases. Several juries were selected for impending trials. After five cases, the prosecutors had failed to obtain a guilty verdict against any of those indicted, who had pleaded innocent. The only convictions to the prosecutor's credit had come from two defendants who had pled guilty to a lesser charge than originally brought. It was apparent by the sixth case that the state had insufficient evidence to continue within cases and chief prosecutor, John Howard announced to the judge on December 7, 1971 that "Ohio was dropping all remaining indictments."(187)
With the trials over, Judge Thomas' orders concerning destruction of the Report were carried out. The final chapter in the events surrounding the Special Grand Jury Report of Portage County was reported by William Hershey of the Akron Beacon Journal who wrote:
Clerks of Courts Mrs. Lucy S. Deleone and an aid, Mrs. Lois Enlow struck four matches to burn the last official copies of the 18-page report.(188)
The findings of the Special Grand Jury of Portage County convinced many concerned with the Kent State case that the only alternative was for the Justice Department to convene a federal grand jury to further investigate the shooting incident.(189) The President's Commission had refrained from ascertaining guilt or responsibility because of the commissions' desire to "do nothing to interfere with the process of criminal justice"(190) which was underway in Ohio. While the Justice Department Summary of the FBI Report had questioned various aspects of the National Guard's self-defense story,(191) the year of 1970 ended without comment by federal Attorney-General John Mitchell as to what action, if any, his department would take wit regard to the incident at Kent State. Failure of the attorney-general even to comment on the case caused Peter Advise to conclude,"...it was becoming more and more obvious that justice in this case was going to be circumvented, mocked, undermined."(192)
A report in the Washington Post in the spring of 1971 that the Justice Department was closing its books on the Kent State shootings prompted Rev. John Adams, who had been active in the United Methodist Church's efforts to secure justice in the Jackson State Case, to join Davies and Arthur Krause in their efforts to obtain a legal forum for examination of the Kent incident.(193) On May 4, 1971, the first anniversary of the shooting at Kent State, Adams and Attorney Stephen Sindell, legal representative of Arthur Krause, met with Richard Kleindienst, then Deputy Attorney-General for the Justice Department. Sindell pointed out to Kleindeinst that the shootings at Kent State not only violated section 242 of the U.S. Code, Title 18, dealing with civil rights, but that evidence also suggested that several guardsmen harbored "specific intent" to injure the students,(194) which raised the issue of a criminal violation by those "who conspire to oppress, threaten or intimidate any citizens in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States."(195)
Kleindeinst expressed interest in both these legal questions, especially the conspiracy theory, and suggested that this argument be further elucidated and submitted to the department. On May 17, 1971, Peter Davies began work on this argument and a "227-page report [entitled Appeal for Justice] which included some seventy photographs taken on May 4," was submitted to the Department of Justice on June 21, 1971.(196) In describing the report, Davies explained, "This report argued that just the possibility of premeditation warranted federal investigation."(197) In the report, Davies outlined the possibility of conspiracy among several of the guardsmen to shoot into the crowd of students on May 4, 1970. He later described the findings of the report as follows:
It argued that the known fact did not, by the longest yardstick, support the excuse of self-defense or panic. It pointed, out, with photographic and testimonial evidence, that the sudden turn was executed with precision and coordination. It proved, for the first time anywhere, that the troops turned and marched back--a good 12 to 15 feet--toward the Pagoda after the so-called danger. It suggested that this move was done for the purpose of returning to the crest of the hill that the troops had just passed, in order to have a better line of fire into the parking lot where most of the injuries and all of the fatalities occurred. It suggested that the known evidence, particularly the photographic, pointed to but one explanation for what happened: a conspiracy involving 8 to 10 guardsmen, mostly in Troop G, to shoot upon a signal at the top of the hill. It suggested that one guardsman played a major role in that conspiracy, and that, despite his denials, the guardsman fired his .45 repeatedly. At the civil trial several witnesses testified to seeing him fire again and again, and Sg. Barry Morris of Troop G testified that he saw the guardsman fire once in the air when the men were down on the football practice field. The guardsmen testified that his gun was never loaded at any time. I wonder if the day will ever come when the truth will come out.(198)
The same theme had been touched upon by James A. Michener who wrote, "It seemed likely that some kind of verbal agreement had been reached among the troops."(199) It was not Davies' intention to establish as a fact that a conspiracy existed for "whether or not this is what actually happened was clearly something only a federal grand jury or congressional investigation could determine."(200)
After a month had elapsed without comment from the Justice Department on the status of the Kent State case or on Davies' report, Rev. John Adams released the report to the public. Response to the report was quick. Walter Cronkite included photographs and excerpts on his July 22 "CBS Evening News" program.(201) Most of the attention of television and other media focused on the events of May 4, the conspiracy possibilities mentioned by Davies, and the FBI's suspicion that the Guardsmen's self-defense story had been "fabricated subsequent to the event."(202) In response to a question by a New York Times reporter on the goal of the efforts to re-open the Kent State case, Davies stated, "We're not really interested in just seeing some guardsmen thrown in prison. What we're seeking is vindication-that this is not a state where a uniform is immunity."(203) Because of the national publicity, the Justice Department finally issued a statement that Davies' Appeal for Justice contained nothing new, Davies replied:
The Department is absolutely correct in stating the report contains nothing new. I am, therefore, very gratified to learn that the Justice Department is fully aware of the possibility that several guardsmen conspired together to shoot specific students. In light of this, I am now confident the Attorney-General will make the right decision. (204)
The media continued its investigation of Davies' suggestions and the Justice Department's inaction in the Kent State case. The Dayton Daily News questioned the legality of the National Guard officer's decision to disperse the rally, and concluded that based on the available evidence, "it is appalling and it is strange that the U.S. Justice Department continues to balk."(205) The New York Post criticized the Nixon administration's handling of the Kent incident and pointed out that Davies' Appeal should result in the Department of Justice seeking a formal airing of the shooting.(206)
The Justice Department's silence on the decision to convene a federal grand jury was also attacked by several members of Congress who urged Attorney-General Mitchell to impanel such a group "to satisfy the many doubts that surround the tragic event which occurred at Kent State."(207) Congressman William Moorhead of Ohio reasoned that the administrations' refusal to investigate the Kent incident was politically motivated. He believed that the White House deemed it to their political advantage to "sweep the Kent State incident under the rug."(208) In response to a letter from several senators inquiring on the status of the Kent issue, the Justice Department announced that Attorney-General Mitchell was "studying the matter," and that he would "announce a decision soon."(209)
Because of congressional interest in the Kent State incident, some observers expected the Justice Department to delay any decision until the congressional recess began, especially if the ruling was to be against convening a federal grand jury. An editorial in the Christian Science Monitor echoed this belief:
There is some expectation in Washington that after Congress is comfortably away for its summer recess the U.S. Department of Justice will announce that there will be no federal grand jury investigation of the shootings at Kent State University.(210)
The editorial went on to say that any decision not to further investigate the shooting incident would result in "an open wound on the American Conscience."(211)
The Monitor's expectations were verified on August 13, 1971, when Attorney-General Mitchell announced that although he viewed the gunfire as "unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable," there was "no credible evidence" to suggest a conspiracy among various Guardsmen.(212) The Attorney-General ruled against convening a grand jury because "there is no likelihood of successful prosecution of individual guardsmen."(213) Stating that the Justice Department had "taken every possible action to serve justice," Mitchell expressed "hope that any type of recurrence can be avoided by this experience and that incidents like this will never again be part of our national life."(214)
Reaction to Mitchell's decision was mixed. Rev. John Adams found it difficult to "reconcile the fact that the shootings were inexcusable" with the "denial that the National Guard, whether individual guardsmen or common officers, were responsible for them."(215) Officials of the Ohio National Guard concurred with Mitchell when they voiced the opinion that a federal grand jury "was unnecessary."(216) Former Presidential Commission member James Ahern criticized the decision as being politically motivated and stated, "It is precisely the kind of action that continues to undermine confidence in our criminal justice system."(217) Seabury Ford, prosecutor in special Grand Jury of Portage County proceedings, suggested that the Justice Department's decision supported the conclusion of the Grand Jury.(218) Former Justice Department lawyer Robert Hocutt concluded that Mitchell's decision that the shootings were "inexcusable" and his subsequent statement about there being little "hope for prosecution" of individual Guardsmen was a "lousy basis for deciding not to prosecute..."(219)
Press reaction to the decision was also divided. The Christian Science Monitor asserted that the "decision would haunt the Nixon administration for a long time to come," and added, "the feeling will persist that the Justice Department has backed off the Kent State case to avoid digging up the Administration's own sorry comments on the case."(220) The New York Times and Washington Post both tended to support the department's decision. These conclusions were based on the belief that proving personal guilty would be extremely difficult and that the civil rights code "simply didn't apply at Kent State since both the Guardsmen and the students were white citizens."(221) The Times story regarding the interpretation of the civil rights violation was challenged by Rev. John Adams and other clergy in a letter to the paper. According to the religious leaders, the paper's earlier discussion of the civil rights code "inaccurately sets forth the law and incorrectly interprets it."(222) Pointing out the code applied to individuals, regardless of their race, and that it had been applied in similar cases in the past, the clergy attacked the Times for this gross inaccuracy and for attempting "to place the dead of Kent State beyond the pale of both the Constitution and federal laws."(223)
After Mitchell's decision, the Akron Beacon Journal received an anonymous letter on August 17 from an Ohio National Guardsman, later identified as Sgt. Michael Delaney.(224) Delaney asked how four "murders" could be "locked away in a virtual vacuum of suspended legal animation...," and he asserted "This hypocritical action is tantamount to admitting we live in a police state where having a uniform gives one the legal right to take a life in the name of law and order without any semblance of due process or legal recrimination.(225) Delaney's opinions differed with those earlier expressed by Generals Canterbury and Del Corso and Attorney-General Mitchell. The remainder of his letter read:
I find it almost incomprehensible that the U.S. Attorney General could close the official books on the May 4 tragedy while paradoxically agreeing with previous investigations that the shooting deaths were 'unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable' ...As a Guardsman who was present at Kent State, I cannot wholly dismiss the possibilities of a deadly collusion. Just as I know many Guardsmen who were appalled by the murders, I know others who welcomed the deadly confrontation. Guardsmen are no more than a representative cross-section of the society in which they live. We share the same prejudices, resentments, life styles, philosophies, neuroses, and politics as our non-uniformed peers. We are minimally trained in military proficiency and virtually untrained in the discipline and personal restraint so necessary for critical civil duty. Guardsmen share one common denominator-we have successfully avoided real military duty-and the wearing of the Guard uniform does not insure rational action any more than the wearing of bell bottoms, beads and peace buttons insures irrational action. I sincerely hope that our sword of "justice" is not single-edged, operating only on behalf of the State, and that the American Civil Liberties Union is successful in pursuing the truth. For only when armed with the truth can we hope to avoid future Kent State and Jackson States.(226)
Mitchell's decision against further investigation into the Kent incident prompted Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who had earlier written to the Justice Department urging a complete inquiry, to announce to the National Press Club his intention to have his Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure examine the Justice Department's handling of the Kent State case.(227) In making this statement Kennedy added, "Why is it we can get a federal grand jury to prosecute Daniel Ellsberg in a matter of hours...yet this case is buried while Congress is out of town?(228)
Reaction at Kent State University to the Mitchell edict generated a petition drive seeking to reverse the Attorney-General's decision.(229) The organizers gathered over fifty-thousand signatures from throughout the country and submitted them to the White House. There was also hope that the newly elected Democratic administration in Columbus, Ohio, would launch a new investigation into the incident, but no action was taken. Summarizing the prevalent opinion found in Ohio in October, 1971, Rep. Richard Celeste wrote:
There is no glimmer of interest of reopening the inquiry into the Kent shootings...Shocking as it may seem, the general consensus is that any further inquiry will only lead to more repressive actions toward the students and rekindle tensions on the campus...(230)
For many of those involved in the Kent State incident, the government's decision not to convene a federal grand jury was particularly disturbing. Mrs. Louis Schroeder, whose son William had been killed at Kent State, offered the following thoughts on the nation's reaction to the killings:
I think that a lot of people in America, when the kids were shot at Kent it was the same as getting revenge for the bombings at Wisconsin, or damage that was done any place where there have been bombings by any students. They were shooting the Weatherman, they were shooting members of the SDS; our four were symbolic-or the 13, let's put it that way-were symbolic of all the destruction that had come about. They think now that because of these shootings it has stopped everything and that justifies the killing in their mind. "Well, we've killed four but look at all that we've saved since then."(231)
Support for Davies' conspiracy theory was supplied by novelist James A. Michener who stated that if Davies and others were speaking of an agreement among the Guard "of merely a few minutes" then such a "case is irrefutable."(232) James Ahern, critic of the Justice Department's decision and former member of the President's Commission, stated that "a wealth of evidence concerning the Kent State and Jackson State killings...has not been released to the public."(233) He further added, "The political motivation in the Justice Department's refusal to prosecute at least the Kent State case seems blatant, crass and cynical."(234)
While informal information from the Justice Department indicated that Attorney-General-designate Kleindienst was not attempting any further investigation into the Kent State case, official replies in the spring of 1972 to queries about the status of the Kent incident suggested that the matter was "still under consideration at the Department of Justice."(235) Proponents of a federal grand jury pointed out that the federal government had moved decisively in a similar case a South Carolina State College at Orangebury in 1968, in which several students were killed by gunfire of state patrolmen.(237) It became obvious that this opinion was not shared by those who occupied official positions in the department in 1972.(238)
The new attorney-general's decision on the Kent State case was announced on June 13, 1972. Kleindeinst stated "there has not been presented to me sufficient new evidence or information which would compel me to reverse the decision of Mr. Mitchell concerning the submittal of this matter to a federal grand jury."(239)
Angered by the attorney-general's decision, a group of Kent State students sent letters protesting this action to various members of Congress. In mid-August, 1972, Senator Edward M. Kennedy responded to the letters by contacting Kleindeinst and stating "It is extremely unfortunate to have added to the tragedy of the Kent State killings themselves the additional element of a course of federal dealings which leaves tens of thousands of Americans with a feeling that they are deceived by their government."(240) Kennedy added that it was mandatory that the government pursue all available channels in its attempt to uncover the facts of the Kent State case, and asked the attorney-general's help in providing the senator's subcommittee with "the materials on which the Department of Justice based its decision not to convene a Grand Jury (with its resultant inability to utilize subpoenas, immunity grants and other investigative procedures used regularly in contemporary cases) or otherwise to proceed against any of those involved in the shootings."(241)
With the news of the Watergate scandal beginning to break in the media, Peter Davies and some families directly concerned with the shooting incident filed a suit to keep the attorney-general from blocking the attempt to convene a federal grand jury to look into the shootings at Kent. (242) Other suits were already filed involving Arthur Krause and others. (243)
In 1973 further developments arose in the Watergate incident and more Americans began to question the past actions of the Nixon administration. Former Attorney-General John Mitchell was indicted for perjury and obstructing justice. Attorney-General Richard Kleindienst resigned from the Justice Department. As the Watergate hearings revealed more damaging information about the Nixon administration's past actions, previously unknown facts regarding various facts began to surface. Three years after the gunfire at Kent State, Deputy Assistant Attorney-General William O'Connor indicated that the Justice Department's long silence on the possibility of violation of civil rights in the shooting incident was inconsistent with the facts collected by the department. (244) According to O'Connor, the department had in its possession evidence which would have resulted in the indictment of several Guardsmen for depriving those killed of their constitutionally guaranteed civil rights. O'Connor also commented that no action was taken by the Justice Department because prosecution of indicted Guardsmen would have been "unlikely.: (245) This revelation prompted Arthur Krause to state in the Christian Science Monitor that the decision by the federal government "means the Justice Department is acting as the judge and the jury." (246).
The new Attorney-General, Elliot Richardson, responding to the pleas for a Federal Grand Jury by the press and those who had favored an official inquiry, directed the Justice Department to study the Kent matter. (247) With the Watergate scandal unraveling before the nation's television audiences, many congressmen became suspect of the Justice Department's handling of the Kent incident. Many suggested that a congressional inquiry be conducted into the matter. Peter Davies learned from congressional counsel Don Edwards that the list of those to appear before the hearing would include former Attorney-Generals Mitchell and Kleindienst, Guard officials, General Del Corso and General Canterbury, and former White House employees John Erlichman and John Dean. (248) The latter officials were being considered to testify because of the growing concern of possible White House involvement and interference in the Justice Department's inaction on the Kent State case. As Peter Davies' book on Kent State was being published and prepared for distribution, Attorney-General Richardson concluded that his initial study of the matter supported his decision to convene a Federal Grand Jury to investigate the incident.
James A. Wechler of the New York Post, noted the conservative background of Peter Davies, author of The Truth About Kent State: A Challenge To The American Conscience:
What makes Davies' role so distinctive is that he seemed so unlikely to be the man to play it. He was not an agitator or a pamphleteer by profession or temperament. He had no previous relationship with the victims or their families. He was emphatically free of any leftist biases: quite the contrary. He and his wife had emigrated to the U.S. in 1957 because he felt the British government was "going too Socialistic." In 1960 he warmly favored the candidacy of Richard Nixon and subsequently revered Barry Goldwater.(249)
Since his arrival in America, Davies had changed his opinions regarding political freedom in this country. In 1970 he was extremely critical of President Nixon for his position on the Kent issue, but in 1960 he had "thought the worst thing America ever did was vote in Kennedy over Nixon." (250) He says, "I came to American thinking the country was a citadel for individual rights." (251) His interest and participation in various issues in the United States however, , have resulted in Davies concluding. "Now, I'm finding that individual rights are respected less in America than in England." (252)
His political transformation is in part due to the reactions of the conservatives at the Kent shootings. Davies stated in a letter to the New York Post:
To me, being a conservative means above all the protection of individual rights. My greatest disappointment was the reaction of the Goldwaters, the Buckleys, and others. I thought they'd be making the most forceful statements demanding a full grand jury inquiry about the government. Instead they were making stupid statements that just seemed to miss the point. (253)
Davies' involvement in the Kent State case came a few days following the shootings, when in a letter to President Nixon he expressed the hope that the President "would recognize that such unwarranted force was inexcusable." (254) Upon receiving a copy of the letter, Arthur Krause, whose daughter Allison was killed at Kent, phoned Davies, and initiated a friendship that according to Davies, "sealed my commitment to insure that justice was done in this cruel and sinister act." (255)
Peter Davies' interest in the Kent state incident has spawned thousands of letters, publications, and scores of speeches on college campuses and before television cameras. (256) All these efforts have been aimed at a complete airing of the facts surrounding the shooting at Kent State.
Robert Kirsch, in his review of Davies' book in the Los Angeles Times, summarized the motive for Davies' efforts. Kirsch wrote:
Again his point is not to be a judge of criminal acts or provocation but to provide a prima facie case which would send the Kent State tragedy into proper legal channels. (257)
Thus, through his writings, Davies has attempted to provide his audience information and opinions not unearthed by the federal or state inquiries of the Kent incident. Succinctly stating his purpose, he wrote, "I'm presenting questions that should be addressed to a federal grand jury." (258)
In The Truth About Kent State, Davies reached three general conclusions which he believed exposed major questions about the Kent State incident. First, he concluded that overall individual ineptitude set the stage for the shooting incident. Davies raised questions of possible criminal and civil liability not examined by the Grand Jury. Second, Davies concluded that the student rally on the University Commons prior to the shooting was legally justified. This the Grand Jury view and raised the question of who, and under what authority, ordered the gathering banned and whether the students' civil rights were violated. Third, directly contradicting the Grand Jury finding, he concluded that the guardsmen were not surrounded and were not in mortal danger at the time of the shooting, and that this fact together with other evidence supported the allegation that a conspiracy developed among guardsmen to fire on students. None of the date or claims offered by Davies was contradicted by the President's Commission or the FBI Report. Davies thus raised the possibility of a criminal conspiracy to violate civil rights. His conclusions suggested questions which Davies hoped would persuade the American people to demand that the federal government would convene a federal grand jury to investigate the incident.
The following excerpt of the Los Angeles Times review of Davies' book is indicative of the media response to the publication, as it received national attention at the time of its September, 1973, release.
Davies, far from being a crank, is a careful, lucid, writer, unwilling to distort facts for rhetorical purposes, a realist who is exactly what he appears to be: a man with a conscience and hunger for justice. He is touched as a parent by the deaths of Allison Krause, Sandy Scheuer, Jeff Miller, and Bill Schroeder, but one has the feeling that he could not be diverted by sentiment. (259)
The New York Times Book Review featured the book as its cover story. The Times article stated, "Peter Davies' book on the Kent State shootings focuses with relentless clarity on the unanswered questions of the Kent case." (260) The Review concluded that it was Davies' tool for "attempting to convince us-hardest task of all-that we ought to care about what happened on that fateful day and about the failure of justice which followed." (261) The "cogent and impressive book" reported the New York Post "has received widely favorable recognition; a first printing of 15,000 has been quickly sold and a new one issued." (262) With Attorney General Richardson's decision to reopen the Kent case still fresh in the minds of the public, the Times reported that the appearance of Davies' book provided those interested with a "comprehensive, documented, thoughtfully spirited chronicle, accompanied by strong evidential photographs," and suggested the possibility through meticulous presentation of photos that several guardsmen huddled together prior to the shooting and conspired to shoot into the crowd. (263)
Both the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times gave critical acclaim to Davies' pictorial argumentative essay which challenged the National Guard's explanation for the incident at Kent State. The Los Angeles Times described the situation at Kent immediately prior to the shooting as follows:
There is no horde, no mob. A handful of scattered students, five of them carrying books under their arms, are walking slowly away from the Guard. There is no charge. In the next picture, we can see the guardsmen and the students they killed and the distance between them. These photographs absolutely discredit the claim that the soldiers were in mortal danger from a charging mob. (264)
The New York Times Book Review credited Davies with raising critical questions concerning the presence and action of the "free lance photographer" who was identified by some eyewitnesses as having fired the first shot on May 4, 1970. (265) Commenting on the Justice Department's failure in their earlier investigation to adequately explore the pertinent questions surrounding the photographer's role, the Times stated that the questions surrounding the individual's role which the "Justice Department will attempt to answer now, are simply those which it neglected then." (266) The review was also critical of several decisions reached prior to the shootings: providing the guardsmen with loaded weapons, rock throwing by General Del Corso, bayoneting of students on Sunday, the inflammatory rhetoric of Governor Rhodes' press conference, the decision to disperse the rally on May 4, and the "incredible lack of fire discipline displayed" by the guardsmen who fired into the crowd of students. (268) The Times review concluded, "there can be little question of the Justice Department's response if the rock throwers had killed four guardsmen..." (269) and called for a thorough airing of the facts surrounding the incident:
The case should be fully reopened and the truth established for the oldest and simplest of reasons: because justice has not been served, because too many Americans have cynically concluded it never is and never will be, and because no one, in a society of laws rather than men, is fair game. (270)
Complementing the media's positive reviews of Davies' book was a Harris Poll which indicated a dramatic shift in attitude among Americans regarding the Kent State shooting. While public opinion had approved of the National Guard's action in 1970, the Harris Poll in the fall of 1973 indicated that fifty-five percent of the public now viewed the shootings as unjustified and repressive." (271)
As mentioned earlier, Attorney General Richardson's decision to re-open the Kent State investigation had been announced just prior to the release of Davies' book. The optimism generated by this decision and the favorable reception of the book was overshadowed by political after-shocks of the Watergate hearings in general, and the events of October 23, 1970, in particular. In the wake of President Nixon's decision to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox, Attorney-General Richardson resigned his position. His replacement, the fourth Attorney-General for the United States in less than a year, was Ohio Senator William Saxbe, who had formerly served in the same regiment of the National Guard that has been on duty during the shootings at Kent State. (272) Announcement of Saxbe as the new head of the Justice Department resulted in many individuals suspecting that the new Attorney-General would again close the door on the Kent issue. In response to questions about the Kent State shootings prior to his confirmation, Senator Saxbe stated that he would oppose any reopening of the case because of the lack of new evidence. (273)
On December 12, 1973, one day after Saxbe would be confirmed by the Senate as the new Attorney-General, the acting head of the Justice Department officially directed the department to impanel a federal grand jury to investigate the shootings at Kent.(274) Thus, the nearly four year effort to have a federal grand jury convened had become a reality. The Kent State University newspaper, The Daily Kent Stater, viewed the convening of a federal grand jury as "the long awaited response to calls from students, parents, congressmen, citizens and newspaper editorials." (275) This action was precisely what Davies had sought in his initial "Appeal For Justice" article and his current and more comprehensive publication, The Truth About Kent State: A Challenge to the American Conscience. Now there would be a conscientious effort to obtain the facts about what happened at Kent State on May 4, 1970.
The federal grand jury held its deliberations in Cleveland during the last week in March, 1974. After four days of hearing the case against various agents involved in the incident, the grand jury returned indictments against eight guardsmen for the "willful violation...of civil rights of the students killed or wounded." (276) The trial of the indicted guardsmen was set to begin in the autumn of 1974.
While the earlier Harris Poll has suggested a dramatic shift on national opinion on the Kent incident, a local poll of Kent residents revealed contrary results. The Akron Beacon Journal found that most citizens supported the guard's behavior and believed that over the four years since the incident their assessment of "responsibility of the Guardsmen, both officers and enlisted men, has lessened." (277) The Akron Beacon Journal detected one significant change in opinion over the four year period since the shooting: a predominant and growing number of Kent citizens now placed more blame on Governor Rhodes for the shooting incident. (278)
In 1974 the former Ohio Governor ran again for the statehouse. During this campaign, Rhodes was criticized for his "no comment" attitude on the Kent case. The Akron Beacon Journal carried a political cartoon chastising the former governor for his refusal to discuss the Kent case. (279) In making his deposition for the civil suits filed on behalf of those killed and wounded at Kent and to be heard the following spring, Rhodes requested that his testimony be "sealed until after the election," arguing that the testimony "might influence the outcome of the election." (280) Rhodes' refusal to comment on the Kent case evidently was not important to the Ohio voters; he was returned to the statehouse in the fall action. (281)
On October 21, 1974, after numerous delays, the criminal trial of eight guardsmen, some of whom faced a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted, began in Cleveland. Robert Murphy, head of the criminal section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, was in charge of presenting the case against the Guard. Davies and others were deeply critical of Murphy's strategy and manner of presentation. According to Davies the prosecutor "said nothing about constitutional rights" and "conceded that there was no ballistics evidence to show which defendants shot which victim, thereby destroying whatever case some imagination and flair could have constructed in the minds of the jury." (282) After presentation of the prosecution case including a trip to Kent State to "take a view" Judge Frank J. Battisti dropped all charges against the defendants. According to the judge's ruling, Murphy had failed to sufficiently "support charges of willful violation by the guardsmen of civil rights of the students killed or wounded." (283) In response to a question concerning the possibility of appeal of the ruling, Murphy replied, "...as far as we're concerned, it's over with." (284)
Reaction over the judge's decision was varied. Mrs. Florence Schroeder, mother of slain student Bill Schroeder, commented:
...our civil suit permits a wider scope of evidence. We have the evidence of four dead and nine wounded. I hope we can renew our efforts to get a Congressional investigation into the Justice Department's handling of the events clear back to the beginning and John Mitchell's refusal to convene a federal grand jury. (285)
Another parent of one of the dead students, Arthur Krause, disagreed with the judge's ruling that the government had failed to prove the students were denied their civil rights by declaring, "When you pick up a rifle and kill someone a couple hundred feet away, that is intent." (286) Reaction of the defendants was predictably different. William Perkins commented, "It feels just like your team won the state football championship on a 94-yard run in the last minute of play." (287)
In a speech at the University of Illinois' Kent State-Jackson State Memorial forum on May 1, 1975 Peter Davies released information regarding covert activity in the Kent incident. He said "...there was no doubt that mail to Mr. Krause and myself was being tampered with, not to mention the curious burglary that same year at John Adams' office in Washington." (288) Davies also told his audience of "an attempt to bribe Arthur Krause with an offer of half a million dollars for his dropping the civil suits against Governor Rhodes and the Ohio National Guard generals." (289) Following this announcement, Davies argued that Attorney General Richardson's decision to reopen the Kent case was "designed to head off sensational disclosures by a threatened congressional investigation." (290) The reluctance of the Nixon Administration to act until pressure was applied by Congress led Davies to conclude that there existed "a strong possibility that there was a sordid federal skeleton in the Kent State closet.) (291)
Support for Davies' suspicion that Kent State involved Watergate ethics was provided by Attorney-General Richardson, when he remarked that President Nixon, who at the time was deeply embroiled in the Watergate controversy, seemed "very upset with my decision to reopen the Kent State case." (292)
According to Davies further support for the suspected Watergate connection included remarks made by presidential advisors concerning student unrest. John Dean had indicated that the "White House had interfered with the Justice Department's handling of the Kent case," and expressed amazement at the time spent by the White House staff on the campus unrest issue. (293)
By the spring of 1975, it seemed that the judicial issues might, at last, be nearing resolution. In an annual supplement dedicated to presenting further information about and references to the May 4 activities on the Kent State campus, The Daily Kent Stater stated "May 19 [1975} is the opening day for what could be the final act of almost five years of wrangling over profound legal questions and court procedures which became a part of the May 4 story within hours of the actual shooting." (294) This was a reference to the fourteen civil damage suits filed in the U.S. district court in Cleveland on behalf of those killed and wounded at Kent State. Those being sued included Governor James A. Rhodes, National Guard officers Sylvester Del Corso and Robert Canterbury, former Kent State President Robert J. White, and several members of the Ohio National Guard. (295) The plaintiffs, including the wounded students and the parents of those killed, sought approximately $40 million in punitive damages. (296)
The suits, originated by Arthur Krause, had taken four years to be heard in a court of law. Unfavorable rulings were handed down by the Ohio District Court, the U.S. District Court, and the U.S. court of appeals. In layman's terms, the reason given was that according to Ohio's sovereign immunity law, the defendants could not be sued without their first giving consent to such action. (297) It was only after appealing the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court that the parents and students, in an 8-0 ruling, were given their day in court. (298)
During the five years of litigation, differences of opinion had developed among those seeking damages. some of the issues concerned legal representation, the course of action to be adopted and pursued, and other relevant matters. (299) Prior to the beginning of the civil trial, Arthur Krause had requested the assistance of former Attorney-General Ramsey Clark to lead the plaintiff's counsel. this decision was not supported by all parties involved, and Clark left the case. It became apparent that differences in legal leadership would seriously undermine the plaintiff's case, and a compromise lead counsel was chosen. (300) The trial began, and after the plaintiff's opening statement according to various reporters covering the trial, the case looked good for the plaintiffs. (301)
During the course of the trill Davies' prior suggestion that the man with the .45 had fired the signal shot on May 4 was supported in the testimony of several witnesses, including several National Guardsmen. Vietnam veteran Henry W. Montgomery identified "a noncommissioned officer carrying a 45-caliber pistol in his left hand" as the soldier who 'signaled' the others. (302)
Other witnesses attested to the FBI's findings that the Guardsmen were not surrounded, and that they were not in a great deal of danger when they fired their weapons. Sgt. Pryor admitted to the jurors, "I didn't feel my life was personally in danger from the students." (303)
The plaintiff's counsel was attempting to establish two propositions. First, that the guardsmen were not surrounded, not in mortal danger, and that there existed no plausible reason for the Guard firing their weapons on May 4, 1970. Second, that Governor Rhodes was at fault because during his May 3 news conference "he carelessly and illegally gave the guardsmen carte blanche to use force and so inflamed those who heard him." (304) therefore, the plaintiffs argued that "he was utterly responsible for the deaths and injuries. (305) The plaintiffs argued that Canterbury and Del Corso were responsible because they told Rhodes that, "the Guard if necessary will resort to shooting," (306) and that former Kent State University president Robert White was at fault because he allowed the Guard to take over the campus "although he had the responsibility for the lives and safety of students." (307)
The defense, on the other hand, argued that the situation at Kent during the May 1-4 weekend was "tantamount to war." (308) Although prior investigations had ruled out the possibility of a sniper, the defense included it as a rationale for the shooting. The Guard, argued the defense, had only responded to the situation created by "thousands of demonstrators." (309) According to his attorney, Governor Rhodes had never assumed control of the situation and had only called in the Guard into Kent "to assist local law enforcement." (310) President White's attorney argued that the former Kent State head had done nothing to cause the deaths and injuries at Kent State.
Another key witness was Governor Rhodes who had given several interpretations of the events at Kent. Judge Young, who presided over the trial constantly referred to the Ohio state chief executive as "your excellency," and prevented several key areas from being explored. (311) One guardsman admitted that he had lied in an earlier remark that he had found a gun on the body of Jeff Miller. (312)
After three months of proceedings, the jury, following five days of deliberation, returned a verdict on August 27, in favor of all the defendants. (313) Upon hearing the verdict, Mrs. Sara Scheuer, mother of one of the victims killed at Kent, voiced the opinion of the parents as she told one of the defense attorneys:
I want you to know I do believe there is a God in heaven. One day when something like this happens to one of your children, maybe then you will understand how I feel. (314)
Time described the completion of the fifteen week trial:
As the verdict was announced, one woman wept; and two other women said 'no' when polled on whether they agreed with the decision. Judge Don Young told the Jury: "You are owed the gratitude of everyone in the courtroom, regardless of whether they benefited by your decision, and of everyone in this free land." Shouted Thomas Grace, a wounded student: "What freedom? This trial has been a sham in every way." Arthur Krause, whose daughter Allison died at Kent State, delivered a similar verdict: "Thanks to these jurors, a murder by the state is correct." (315)
On September 26, 1975, Judge Young denied a motion by the plaintiffs to set aside the jury's verdict. (316) In its September 29 edition, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that in his secret testimony Sylvester T. Del Corso had told the federal grand jury 16 times that "the Guardsmen were not justified in shooting or even aiming at the students at an anti-war rally on campus." (317) The Plain Dealer also reported contradictions in Governor Rhodes' testimony given in the various trial proceedings, and suggested that the governor could face a perjury charge. (318) Peter Davies later revealed that not only did the plaintiffs lose the civil trial in August, but were instructed by Judge Young to "pay all legal expenses of Governor Rhodes, the generals, and the Guardsmen. (319)
In October, the plaintiffs charged that Judge Young's rulings during the trial had prevented them "from extracting testimony from some witnesses." (320) A meeting of the plaintiffs in November, 1975 resulted in the selection of Sanford Jay Rosen, an American Civil Liberties Union Attorney from San Francisco as chief counsel for the appeal. (321) To help meet financial requirements of the appeal, John Adams, director of the United Methodist church's Committee on Law, Justice, and Community Relations, announced a mail campaign to gather the needful funds. (322) Echoing the predominant thoughts of those involved in the litigation, Adams stated:
There are people who feel this group has come together for the purpose of seeking retribution. But we are seeking to make a contribution to society-relative to the strengthening and protection of the civil rights of every citizen-not just themselves or students -- but every citizen. (323)
The Kent Stater reported in the January 20, 1976 issue that the Justice Department had chosen not to pursue the perjury charges against Governor Rhodes. (324) The Cleveland Plain Dealer also carried a story on January concerning the authenticity of the film used by the President's Commission to study the Kent shootings. Charles Thomas of the National Archives in Washington charged that the film had been "significantly altered to support the Guard's version of the shootings." (325) Thomas maintained that the film omitted frames unfavorable to the Guard's self defense story as well as "scenes of guardsmen roughly handling students before the firing...leading away a demonstrator by pulling him by his hair and arms. (326) It was Thomas' view that the reason for the alteration was obvious. He stated:
I believe the doctored film relates to the whole issue of the plaintiff's getting a fair trial. Ohioans were just looking for an excuse that would justify the shootings and the film alters the happenings to reinforce this argument. (327)
Troubled by the possible impact of the film on the judicial process, Thomas made his views known to Senator Frank Church, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Senate Committee's information officer, Spencer Davis, in response to inquiries concerning the Kent matter told reporters that the Committee had "looked into the Kent State matter and has received material from the National Archives." (328)
One day short of the sixth anniversary of the shootings at Kent State, chief plaintiff's attorney, Sanford Jay Rosen, filed briefs for appeal of the civil suit verdict in the 6th U.S. circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. Rosen told reporters:
...the judge [Judge Young} committed so many substantial errors related to admission and exclusion of evidence that the plaintiffs were denied a fair trial. If the jury had properly deliberated, they could not have reached the decision they did. (329)
The Daily Kent Stater's May 4, 1976 memorial issue urged students to strike in support of the pending legal appeal. The annual candlelight vigil, initiated by activists Jerry Lewis and Michele Klein in 1972, witnessed Kent State President Glenn Olds telling a crowd of 600 in a freezing rain, "The lesson to be learned is that you can't hold the world together at the end of a bayonet." (330)
An item of growing interest at Kent State was the possibility that a new gymnasium annex would be built on the site of the 1970 shooting. (331) Sanford Rosen, chief appellate attorney for the plaintiffs in the civil case, attempted to ascertain the facts surrounding the University's plan for a gym in a letter to President Olds in August. The letter remained unanswered at the end of the year, but a 9-0 decision to build the gym on the controversial site was reached by the Board of Trustees. The end of the year also witnessed President Olds, who had received a vote of no confidence earlier in the year, resigning from the presidency. According to Thomas Hensley, professor of Political Science at Kent State, the University experienced a "leadership void." (332)
The gymnasium decision was severely criticized. Former Kent State student Paul Keane wrote in his publication, Kent State F.A.C.T.:
The decision was made without seeking the recommendations of the University Committee on the Natural and Physical Environment, without full discussion by Board members, student and faculty groups of the environmental, sociological, aesthetic and legal ramifications of the site selected and approved by the University administration. (333)
An attempt by May 4th Task Force President Bob Hart to have the area designated an "historical site" was denied by the state Landmark Commission. A subsequent appeal was made to the U.S, Department of the Interior. Study of the university's Master Plan revealed that acreage had been purchased in 1966 to construct the gymnasium facility on the edge of the main campus. (334)
The Administration's consideration of the Blanket Hill area location for the gymnasium annex had been reported in the November 19, 1975 edition of the Kent Stater. Reasons given for the proposed site change included: "[increased] accessibility to student population, accessibility to utilities and increased efficiency and economy." (335) Yet, the decision to actually begin construction in 1977 shocked many on the Kent State Campus. Professor Robert A. Dyal castigated the decision, calling it indicative of the "denial, defensiveness, hostility, cowardice, indifference, incompetence and excessive regard for public relations image" that had characterized reactions of the KSU administration to the 1970 incident. (336)
In early 1977, Peter Davies decided to donate his Kent State research materials to the Yale Archives. Hyman Kritzer, a Kent State librarian, denounced Davies "outrageous" decision and accused the author of "paranoia." (337) Davies apprehension about the safety of his collection being housed at Kent, however, was shared by others who also gave their papers to Yale. (Including Paul Keane, Robbie Stamps, the author and others).
At the April 1977 Yale Kent State Colloquium commemorating Davies' donation, Lowell Weicker, formerly a member of the Senate Watergate Committee, told the crowd, "The system of justice after Kent State did not work properly....The justice system was neither devoid of politics, nor impartial, not courageous, In fact, it was chicken." (338) During the five day conference, Davies shed new light on the reasons for his gift going to Yale. The author explained that Kent State was chosen to serve as the government's "example" against student demonstrations only after it proved impossible for them to use Yale, due to the professionalism of Police Chief James Ahern of New Haven. (339) Furthermore, Davies reiterated his claim that the FBI had planned the violence at Yale in 1970 because university president Kingman Brewster was considered "the number one intellectual enemy at the White House." (340) That year the first dramatic rendering of the incident, Kent State: A Wake, was performed at Yale and Kent State. This writer's theater offered a synoptic recounting of the May 1-4 weekend activities from the perspective of Mrs. Florence Schroeder, mother of slain student Bill Schroeder. Two films, Confrontation at Kent State and Kent State: May 1970, had been previously released. (341) But the Wake was the first stage portrayal of the shootings and the aftermath.
At Kent State, the May 4th Task Force called for an all-campus strike to protest the administrations' decision not to cancel classes on the seventh anniversary of the incident, and to demonstrate solidarity against the impending construction of the gymnasium. Taking part in the candle-light march for the first time was Sarah Scheuer, mother of victim Sandy Scheuer, who remarked, "I'm sorry we weren't here before, We didn't know that this still mattered here." (342) The May 4th activities included an address by Dick Gregory who promised that he would fast until the plans for the new gym were thwarted. (343) Speaking at the same rally, Vietnam Veteran Ron Kovic, declared that "if they try to build that Gym, if they try to hide the truth, then they're going to have to bury 1,000 students in the cement that they pour." (344) One hundred fifty people protesting the proposed gymnasium site-which in their minds typified the University's response to the May 4, 1970-staged a sit-in at Rockwell Hall. Dean Kahler, a 1970 victim who was permanently paralyzed as a result of the incident, presented a list of the demonstrators' demands to the university administration. (345)
Support for the May 4th Task Force's position against the gymnasium spread throughout the university community and across the nation. On May 12, sixty people erected tents on the proposed site of the building. The 20 residents who eventually occupied "Tent City" announced that they would not be moved until the Kent Administration agreed not to build the gymnasium in the Blanket Hill area. (346) Families of those killed at Kent State praised the "courageous actions taken by the May 4th Coalition;" and the following month parents of the dead and wounded joined the Tent City dwellers. (347) Professor Thomas Hensley assessed the situation as follows: "The physical presence of Tent City served as a constant reminder to university officials of the dilemma they ultimately faced; move the gym or face nationwide publicity once again over student protest." (348)
On July 12, Kent State once again made their refusal to obey a judge's orders to vacate the grounds. John Kifner of the New York Times reported peaceful arrests were made by officers "carrying no guns this time." (349) Among those arrested were Mr. and Mrs. Martin Scheuer and the parents of wounded student Alan Canfora. All arrested were charged with contempt of court and later released on $250 bail each.
Ensuing arrests continued throughout the month. But the May 4th Coalition, along with the other concerned groups and the families of the dead and wounded, won an injunction which halted construction of the site. While subsequent injunctions to stop the building were obtained by the May 4th Coalition, other groups opposed to the coalition voiced their opinions. Richard Larlham, Chairman of the Citizens Concerned with the preservation of Law and Order, echoed the thought of some pro-gymnasium forces with his statement that "All that is at stake is a piece of ground where four anarchists were shot." (350) Among the mail received by the Kent- Ravenna Record Courier was a letter from Joan Baez and 22 others, including Douglas Fraser, Jerry Brown, and Thurman Munson, which supported efforts to halt construction:
It is difficult to express in words how much the preservation of this site means to me and so many others in the Kent State community, the country and around the world. While it is impossible to bury the past, it behooves us to recognize and accept the events of history and the move forward." (351)
As the gym protests continued, the appeals court ruled on Sept. 12, 1977 that the judge in the 1975 trial had mishandled a threat to a juror. The higher court therefore ordered a new civil trial. Included in the remanding order were instructions that all charges be dropped against former Kent State President Robert White. The appellate ruling also directed the judge of the new trial to allow as evidence federal grand jury testimony which had been excluded in previous proceedings. The decision, however, rejected the plaintiffs claim regarding constitutional right of freedom of assembly asserting that: "It is settled that violent demonstrations do not enjoy First Amendment protection." (352)
The rallies against the gymnasium construction continued as 3,000 protesters stormed the fence around the building site. The new President of Kent State University, Brage Golding, procured a court ban on further protests. Golding also proposed that the gymnasium annex be dedicated to "all victims of May 4th-the slain, the wounded, the guardsmen, the townspeople, and the university community." (353) The reply of the families to this suggestion was that the only fitting memorial was the preservation of the site of the incident so as "to guarantee that people can stop here and look and think about what happened." (354) The ramifications of the Goulding ban on protests were many. On Feb. 22, 1978 seven Kent State students were arrested on the steps of the Student Center for reading the First Amendment. (355) The following month, the U.S. Department of the Interior ruled that not enough time had elapsed to permit proper assessment of the significance of the events of May 4, 1970; and therefore refused to designate the area a national historical landmark." (356)
That spring, Kent State University administrators canceled May 4th classes for the first time. Kent State: A Requiem, a forty-five minute multi-media presentation expanding on the themes first developed in Kent State: A Wake, debuted as part of the May 4th memorial at Kent. Among the newly divulged material it presented was a report, subsequently released by NBC News, that John Ehrlichmann had sent an "eyes only" memo to Attorney General John Mitchell in 1970, stating that President Nixon had decided there would be no federal investigation into the incident at Kent State. (357) The memo was written at a time when Justice Department officials were still claiming that no decision about a federal grand jury investigation had been reached. (358) Wounded student Dean Kahler remarked, "No wonder they tuned down our request for a federal grand jury. They had already made up their minds and weren't telling anybody." (359) On the other hand, Sylvester Del Corso, adjutant general to the Ohio National Guard at the time of the shootings refused to comment on the Ehrlichman memo. (360) Author Peter Davies, meanwhile, threatened legal action against Ehrlichman, Nixon, Mitchell, and Kleindienst. (361)
In August 1978, the university administrators refused to commemorate the Kent victims with a sculpture designed by George Segal. Officials explained that the memorial's "Abraham and Isaac" theme was rejected as "inappropriate." (362) The sculpture was later dedicated at Princeton University, in memory of the four dead Kent students.
In November, the 6th District Court rejected Governor Rhodes' request for dismissal of the civil suit. Attorney Sanford Rosen was retained by the Plaintiffs as lead counsel for the new civil trial which began in Cleveland in December 1978. Others joining Rosen, on behalf of the plaintiffs included David Ehgdahl, a lawyer and photographic expert on the incident.
The withdrawal from the case by Judge Don Young, who had presided over the 1975 trial, pleased the plaintiffs because of their shared belief that he had not rendered fair rulings in that previous trail. (363) The new trial was presided over by Judge William K. Thomas.
As the trial began, Rosen and the team of lawyers hoped to employ all available resources to win the cases, but they were also prepared to agree to a settlement favorable to the plaintiffs. A settlement was reached on Jan. 4, 1979, the objectives of which were summarized thoroughly by Rosen:
All the plaintiffs ever wanted out of the litigation was compensation for actual injuries, acknowledgment of individual and governmental responsibility, and assurances that excessive force would not be used in similar circumstances in the future. They secured all of these goals in their settlement.
Joseph Kelner, legal counsel to some of the parents in the 1975 civil trial, criticized Rosen for making "settlement overtures" to the defendants. In his book, The Kent State Cover-up, Kelner repudiated Rosen's strategy, calling it a "tactical mistake." Kelner also writes that at the time he encouraged the plaintiffs to instead brace themselves for a new court battle. (365) Nevertheless, after negotiating with officials of the State of Ohio as to the legality and the political ramifications of the financial settlement, $675,000 was awarded to the plaintiffs in the following amounts:
Dean Kahler, $350,000; Alan Canfora, $15,000; Joseph Lewis, $42,500; James Russell, $15,000; Thomas Grace, $37,500; Parents of the four students killed, $27,500; Donald MacKenzie $15,000; each John Clearly, $22,500; Legal Expenses, $75,000
The New York Times editorial on January 8, 1979 assessed the settlement's significance:
There is a symbolism in the closing agreement of Gov. James Rhodes and 27 National Guardsmen-the defendants of the latest civil suit-to sign a statement of regret. At long last, a note of decency supersedes the truculence with which Ohio officials responded time and again to the anger and anguish of the victims' families. (366)
After ten years in the courts, the trials were finally over. As part of the settlement, the following "statement of regret" was signed by the Governor, the Command Officers, and the Guardsmen involved in the case:
In retrospect, the tragedy of May 4, 1970 should not have occurred. The
students may have believed they were right in continuing their mass protest
in response to the Cambodian invasion, even though this protest followed the
posting and reading by the University of an order to ban rallies and an order
to disperse. These orders have since been determined by the Sixth Circuit
Court of Appeals to have been lawful. Some of the Guardsmen on Blanket Hill,
fearful and anxious from prior events, may have believed in their own minds
that their lives were in danger. Hindsight suggests that another method would
have resolved the conformation. Better ways must be found to deal with such
confrontations. We devoutly wish that a means had been found to avoid the
May 4 events culminating in the Guard shootings and the irreversible deaths
and injuries. We deeply regret those events and are profoundly saddened by
the deaths of four students and the wounding of nine others which resulted.
We hope that the agreement to end this litigation will help to assuage the
tragic memories regarding that sad day. (367)
There was much speculation about why the defendants agreed to the settlement. Professor Thomas R. Hensley, an expert on the legal aftermath of the Kent State case, suggested that even if the defendants had won the trial, there was a general feeling that appeals would prolong the Kent State litigation. (368) Despite agreeing to the arrangement, the January 4th 1979 settlement was not enthusiastically endorsed by the plaintiffs. The parents of the dead students issued the following statement in response to the "expression of regret":
A settlement of the Kent State civil suit had 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 intention 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 shooting 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 to the greatest extent possible under the law, the objectives toward which we as families have struggled during the past eight years. Those objectives have been as follows: 1. Insofar as possible, to hold the State of Ohio accountable for the actions of its officials and agents in the event of May 4, 1970. 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 to demonstrate to an understandably skeptical generation that the system can work when extraordinary pressure is applied to it, as in this case. 4. To assert that the human rights of American citizens, particularly those citizens in dissent of governmental policies, must be affected 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 rest 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 regret 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 last, the State of Ohio has assumed responsibility for the act. We recognize that many others related to the May 4, 1970 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 the 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 who have sustained us in our long struggle for an expression of justice. More than 35,000 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 Union 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 us and coordinated out struggle since the beginning. We are grateful to them. Because of the experience that we have has 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 those acting with the authority of law enforcement agencies, is a critical national issue to which the attentions of the American people must be drawn. President Carter, on December 6, 1978, in his speech on the Thirteenth 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 to be concerned. It is 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 can be killed by those acting under the color of the law almost with impunity. The families of the victims 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 its principles sometimes requires resistance 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 and for others this struggle goes on. We will try to support them. For Allison, Sandra, Jeffrey, and William, For Peace and Justice, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Krause...Mr. and Mrs. Louis Schroeder Mr. and Mrs. Martin Scheuer...Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Holstein The students who were shot and wounded also wish to express their appreciation to you whose support made this settlement possible. (369)
After the trial, Arthur Krause told a reporter for the New York Times: "It's not over as long as people can be shot down like this." (370) Defense Attorney Burt F. Fulton characterized the "statement of regret" as being "about the same thing Rhodes said a few days after the incident." (371) As had been his practice with all questions about the Kent tragedy, Governor Rhodes refused to comment on the arrangement. His executive assistant for legal affairs, however, indicated that the Governor was "pleased with the action," and felt it was a "fair settlement." (372) The New York times article on the settlement offered the following assessment of the incident's impact on Governor Rhodes:
The issue has dogged Governor Rhodes in ways other than the litigation. Kent State demonstrators shouted him down at his 1975 inauguration and at another time protesters at a state fair ceremony hurled a pie that stuck Mr. Rhodes in the face. (373)
While the plaintiffs insisted that the "statement of regret" was an "apology," the defendants disagreed, (374) Not surprisingly, reactions to the settlement were mixed. One writer asked, "...shouldn't policemen who were seriously injured in student riots receive similar sympathy and payments from the universities, or teachers involved." (375) Another complained, though, that the payment was a "paltry sum" and suggested that not much had changed as a result of the settlement.
In the almost nine years since the shootings we have not been able to understand the cold blooded truculence of the Rhodes administration toward the tragedy, for which it was responsible, and the indifference of the citizens of that great state which permitted the cruel attitude of Rhodes and his National Guard to continue. They have even re-elected James Rhodes as Governor since his rifles spoke so disastrously. (376)
The ninth anniversary of the shooting was marked on the Kent State campus with the yearly candlelight vigil, attended by the Martin Scheuers, the Louis Schroeders, the Albert Canforas, and 600 others. The Kent Stater reported an absence of the "bitterness" of the previous years' protests attendant to the gym dispute. (377) New information did fuel some controversy. material made available by the National Archives suggested a connection between the incident in Ohio and efforts by the Nixon White House to destroy the anti-war movement. (378) The mood of many at Kent State nine years after the tragedy seemed best expressed in the following excerpt from a letter by Mrs. Schroeder:
There is pain, but I try to remember the joys that he brought to our lives. Still, spring brings with it remembering, and a great swell of love and longing for Bill. finally, after nine years, the funeral is over now. I can let Bill go. (379)
The new gymnasium was dedicated that fall; and many in the community were still bitter. Councilman William Schultz remarked that the gym stood as a reminder of the "insensitivity" of the university about the 1970 incident. (380)
In the spring of 1980, the university administration revealed plans to finally construct a memorial. an arch was to be built in commemoration of the shootings. After adverse reaction, however, President Golding announced the arch would not be built. (381)
On the tenth anniversary of the shootings, fascinating comments by a former guardsman headlined the news in northeastern Ohio. The lead story of the May 4, 1980 Akron Beacon Journal featured the remarks of Larry Shafer, a defendant in the criminal and civil trials. Shafer was quoted as saying, "It's time somebody gets the other side of the story." Shafer, critical of General Canterbury, Mayor Satrom, and Governor Rhodes, also maintained that:
The Kent State shootings could have been prevented with proper leadership. There was never any real need for the National Guard in May 1970.
Claiming that Major Satrom "pushed the panic button" by calling in the National Guard, Shafer offered the following assessment of the national Guard leadership: "If that general had his head out of his - - - he never would have put us in that situation." Shafer blamed the incident on the fact that the Guard at Kent State did not abide by their rioting training:
The way the whole thing was handled, the riot training we had prior to that, they just threw it out the window. All those officers and not one of them seemed to remember what they were trained. ...The whole thing was a farce. (382)
Shafer, however, went on to say, "I felt my life was in danger," and claimed that there was no prior decision by the guardsmen to fire into the crowd of students. (383) That same day in the Kent Stater, Peter Davies compared the shootings at Kent State to the Watergate break-in, in that "someone has to blow the whistle before the whole truth can come out." (384)
Four days later, Ron Ridenhour offered new evidence of the federal government's involvement in the Kent State incident. In "The Plot to Kill Protest," he outlined the Pentagon's "Garden Plot" plan to deal with anti-was demonstrators by using the National Guard, (385)
Meanwhile plans for a movie on the 1970 Kent State incident were announced by Max Keller of Interplanetary Productions, Los Angeles. Keller declared that the film would be an "historically accurate rendition of the event." (386) But after Keller expressed an interest in filming on the Kent State campus, University vice president Robert McCoy explained that the request would be rejected because:
The spectacle of actors dressed as National Guardsmen firing blanks at actors and extras dressed as students would be just too painful for our community to withstand.
President Golding said filming the docu-drama at the school "would re-open too many wounds." (388) Others at Kent State, including professors Glenn Frank and Jerry Lewis disagreed with that decision. (389)
One of the sources for the movie, The Kent State Cover-up by Joseph Kelner and James Munves, first appeared on the market in May, 1980. In this publication, Kelner, chief trial counsel for the 1975 civil trial, argued that the First Amendment rights of the victims had been violated. He also claimed that Governor Rhodes' speech of may 3, 1970 set the stage for the tragedy. Of Judge Don Young's rulings in the 1975 trial, Kelner wrote they were "highly prejudicial." (390)
The summer of 1980 witnessed summer school as usual at Kent State. The NBC movie had been refused permission to film on the Ohio campus. Production crews were preparing for a thirty day shoot in Gadsden, Alabama, a site chosen because of its geographical similarity to Kent and Kent State.
In the fall of 1980, additional information from the FBI investigation on Kent State housed at the National Archives was released to the public. This information revealed that President Nixon instructed FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover-who thought the four victims "got what the deserved" (391) -to find information in the fall of 1970 to substantiate the Guardsmen's claims about the incident. Nixon's directive was issued during the FBI's investigation of the incident. (392) Despite the recent shocking revelations, thousands of pages of the FBI report remain classified therefore, unavailable for public scrutiny.
[Notes 1 through 3 are to be found at the end of the section "Chronology."]
[Notes 4 through 55 are to be found at the end of the section "Historical Context of the Event."]
Return to reference 56
56. Joe Eszterhas, 13 Seconds, p. 11; Casale, Kent Affair, p. 8-29.
57. Casale, Kent Affair, p. 8-29.
58. Davies, The Truth About Kent, p. 21; Eszterhas, 13 Seconds, p. 110-111.
59. Eszterhas, 13 Seconds, p. 100-111.
Return to reference 60
61. Ibid., p. 6.
62. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 10, 1970.
64. Akron Beacon Journal, May 6, 1970.
Return to reference 65
65. New York Times, June 13, 1970, p. 23.
67. Eszterhas, 13 Seconds, p. 299-308.
68. Ibid., p. 302-303.
69. New York Times, May 5, 1970, p. 1.
Return to reference 70
70. Eszterhas, 13 Seconds, p. 279-280.
71. Akron Beacon Journal, May 6, 1970.
72. New York Times, May 6, 1970, p. 19.
73. Newsweek, May 25, 1970, p. 30.
74. Casale, Kent Affair, p. 24.
Return to reference 75
76. New York Times, May 9, 1970, p. 10.
77. "The Search for Understanding," Stone, The Killings at Kent State, pp. 104-106.
78. Davies, Truth About Kent, p. 142.
79. Eszterhas, 13 Seconds, p. 287.
Return to reference 80
80. Ibid., p. 286-287.
81. Ibid., p. 288.
82. New York Times, May 25, 1970, p. 1.
84. Those chosen were: William Scranton, Chairman; former governor of Pennsylvania; James F. Ahern, Chief of new haven Police Dept.; Erwin D. Canham, Editor of Christian Science Monitor; James E. Cheek, President of Howard University; Lt. Gen. Ben O. Davis, USAF (Ret.) Director, civil Aviation Security, Dept. of Transportation; Martha A. Derthick, Assoc. Prof., boston college; Bayless manning, Dean, Stanford Law School; Revius O. Oritque, Jr., Attorney, new Orleans; Joseph Rhodes, Jr., Junior Fellow, harvard University.
Return to reference 85
85. President's Commission, pp. 233-410.
86. New York Times, Sept. 30, 1970, p. 35.
87. New York Times, Dec. 30, 1970, p. 40.
88. New York Times, Sept. 30, 1970, p. 35.
89. New York Times, Sept. 29, 1970, p. 35.
Return to reference 90
90. Truth About Kent, p. 152.
91. Akron Beacon Journal, July 26, 1970.
92. Akron Beacon Journal, July 23, 1970.
94. New York Times, July 24, 1970, p. 2.
Return to reference 95
95. Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 6, 1970.
97. Joe Eszterhas, "Ohio Honors Its Dead," Rolling Stone, June 10, 1971, p. 48.
98. Nation, Nov. 23, 1970, p. 517; New Republic, Nov. 7, 1970, p. 16.
99. Davies, Truth About Kent, p. 152.
Return to reference 100
100. New Your times, Aug. 7, 1970, p. 60.
103. Akron Beacon Journal, Sept. 13, 1970.
104. Samuel G. Kling, The Complete Guide to Everyday Law, (Chicago: Follett Publishing Co., 1966), p. 398.
Return to reference 105
105. Illinois Revised Statutes for 1975, Criminal Law and procedures, chap. 38, Article 112, Sect. D.
106. New Republic, Nov. 7, 1970, p. 14.
108. Eszterhas, 13 Seconds. p. 2.
109. Akron Beacon Journal, May 5-25, 1970; Kent Ravenna Record courier, May 5-25, 1970.
Return to reference 110
110. The text of the Report appears in the Appendix.
111.Karl Wallace, Understanding the Media: The Speech Act and Rhetorical Action (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1970), p. 74.
112. Akron Beacon Journal, Sept. 13, 1970.
113. Akron Beacon Journal, Sept. 17, 1970.
114. Davies, truth About Kent, p. 159.
Return to reference 115
115. Nation, Nov. 23, 1970, pp. 517-518.
118. FBI Summary, p. 84.
119. Akron Beacon Journal, Aug. 14, 1971.
Return to reference 120
120. Newsweek, May 25, 1970, p. 30.
121. New York Times, Oct. 30, 1970, p. 24.
122. FBI Summary, p. 84.
123. Akron Beacon Journal, Oct. 23, 1970.
124. FBI Summary, p. 84.
Return to reference 125
125. I.F. Stone, New York Review, Dec. 3, 1970.
126. President's Commission, pp. 215-216.
127. Kent-Ravenna Record Courier, Oct. 19, 1970.
128. Nation, Nov. 23, 1970, p. 519.
129. Akron Beacon Journal, Oct. 18, 1970.
Return to reference 130
130. Daily Kent Stater, Oct. 27, 1970.
132. Akron Beacon Journal, Nov. 18, 1970.
133. Davies, Truth About Kent, p. 160.
Return to reference 135
135. Casale, Kent Affair, p. 198.
137. Michner, Kent State, p. 532.
139. Akron Beacon Journal, Oct. 24, 1970.
Return to reference 140
Return to reference 145
145. Ibid., Oct. 25, 1970.
148, Casale, Kent Affair, p. 198.
Return to reference 150
151. Ibid., pp. 198-199.
152. Kent Ravenna Record Courier, Nov. 3, 1970.
Return to reference 155
156. Ibid., pp. 28-31.
157. Akron Beacon Journal, Nov. 4, 1970.
Return to reference 160
164. New York Post, Nov. 3, 1970.
Return to reference 165
165. Akron Beacon Journal, Nov. 10, 1970.
Return to reference 170
171. Ibid., pp 215-218.
172. Kent-Ravenna Record Courier, Nov. 3, 1970.
173. Akron Beacon Journal, Nov. 9, 1970.
174. New York Times, Oct. 30, 1970, p. 24.
Return to reference 175
175. Ibid., Oct, 18, 1970, p. 24.
175. Ibid., Oct. 18, 1970, p. 3.
176. Casale, Kent Affair, p. 199.
177. Davies, Truth About Kent, p. 167.
178. New York Times, Oct. 18, 1970, IV, p. 3.
179. President's Commission, p. 234.
Return to reference 180
180. Akron Beacon Journal, Dec. 10, 1970.
182. Ibid., Jan 29, 1971.
184. New York Times, Oct. 23, 1971, p. 17.
Return to reference 185
185. Ibid., Nov. 23, 1971, p. 20.
186. Ibid, Nov. 23, 1971, p. 20; Dec. 8, 1971, p. 15.
187. Ibid., Dec 8, 1971, p. 15.
188. Akron Beacon Journal, Dec. 1970.
189. Davies, Truth About Kent, pp. 152-166; New York imes, Oct. 17, 1970, p. 28; Oct. 18, 1970, p. 3; Oct. 21, 1970, p. 35; Oct. 23, 1970, p. 1; Oct, 25, 1970, p. 70; June 20, 1970, p. 33.
Return to reference 190
190. President's Commission, p. 234.
191. FBI Report pp. 83-101.
192. Davies, Truth About Kent, p. 7.
193. Ibid., pp. 7-8.
194. Ibid., p. 8.
Return to reference 195
195. Ibid., Emphasis added.
198. Information contained in a personal letter from Peter Davies to J. Gregory Payne, Jan. 23, 1976.
199. Michner, Kent State, p. 409.
Return to reference 200
200. Davies, Truth About Kent, p. 9.
201. "CBS Evening News," Columbia Broadcasting Company, July 22, 1971.
202. FBI Report, p. 84.
203. Davies, Truth About Kent, p. 170.
Return to reference 205
205. Dayton Daily News, July 21, 1971.
206. New York Post, July 30, 1971.
207. New York Times, July 25, 1971, p. 28.
209. Ibid., Aug. 3, 1971, p. 44.
Return to reference 210
210. Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 9, 1971.
212. Akron Beacon Journal, Aug. 14, 1971.
Return to reference 215
215. New York Times, Sept. 12, 1971, p. 70.
216. Akron Beacon Journal, Aug. 14, 1971.
Return to reference 220
220. Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 6, 1971.
221. New York Times, Aug. 18, 1971, p. 36.
222. Information contained in letter from Rev. John Adams of the United Methodist church to the New York Times, Aug. 20, 1971.
224. Akron Beacon Journal, Aug. 17, 1971.
Return to reference 225
227. New York Times, Oct. 20, 1971, p. 20.
229. Ibid., Nov. 18, 1971, p. 11.
Return to reference 230
230. Information contained in letter to Carolyn D. Wilhelm from Ohio rep. Richard Celeste, Oct. 27, 1971.
231. Mrs. Florence Schroeder, "18 Months Later: Families of the Kent Dead Speak Out," american Report, Nov. 12, 1971.
232. New York Times, Apr. 30, 1972, p. 27.
233. Comments by James Ahern contained in Davies, Truth About Kent, p. 194.
Return to reference 235
235. Information contained in a personal letter to J. Gregory Payne from the U.S. Justice Department, April 4, 1972.
236. Davies, Truth About Kent, p. 196.
237. Jack Bass and Jack Nelson, The Orangeburg Massacre (New York: World, 1970), p. 179.
238. Davies, Truth About Kent, pp. 196-197.
239. New York Times, July 12, 1972, p. 16.
Return to reference 240
240. Information contained in a letter from Senator Edward M. Kennedy to Attorney General Richard Kleindienst, Aug. 17, 1972.
242. Davies, Truth About Kent, p. 202.
243. Ibid., pp. 202-203.
244. Christian Science Monitor, June 19, 1973.
Return to reference 245
247. New York Times, June 14, 1973, p. 8.
248. Information contained in a personal letter from Peter Davies to J. Gregory Payne, Dec. 13, 1975.
Return to reference 250
253. New York Post, Oct. 3, 1973.
254. Davies, Truth About Kent, p. 4.
Return to reference 255
255. Ibid., p. 5.
256. Peter Davies, Speech delivered at the University of Illinois Kent State-Jackson State Memorial Forum, Urbana-Champaign, May 1, 1975.
257. Los angeles Times, Sept. 2, 1973.
Return to reference 260
260. New York Times Book Review, Sept. 2, 1973, p. 1.
262. New York Post, Oct. 3, 1973.
263. New York Times Book Review, Sept. 2, 1973, p. 1.
264. Los angeles Times, Sept. 2, 1973.
Return to reference 265
265. New York Times Book Review, Sept 2, 1973, p. 1.
Return to reference 270
271. New York Post, Oct. 3, 1973.
272. Information contained in a personal letter from Peter Davies to J. Gregory Payne, Jan. 23, 1970.
Return to reference 275
275. The Daily Kent Stater, May 2, 1975.
277. Akron Beacon Journal, Oct. 16, 1974.
279. Ibid., Oct. 20, 1974.
Return to reference 280
280. Ibid., Oct. 9, 1974.
282. Information contained in a personal letter from Peter Davies to J. Gragory Payne, Feb. 12, 1976.
283. The Daily Kent Stater, May 2, 1975.
284. The Evansville (ind.) Courier and Press, Dec. 12, 1974.
Return to reference 285
288. Peter Davies, Speech delivered at University of Illinois Kent State-Jackson State Memorial Forum, Urbana-Champaign, May 1, 1975.
Return to reference 290
294. The Daily Kent Stater, May 2, 1975.
Return to reference 295
297. New York Times, Nov. 18, 1972, p. 29.
298. Ibid., June 26, 1973, p. 28.
299. Information contained in a personal letter from Peter Davies to J. Gregory Payne, Feb. 12, 1976.
Return to reference 300
302. Cleveland Press, June 4, 1975.
303. Akron Beacon Journal, June 19, 1975.
304. Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 29, 1975.
Return to reference 305
Return to reference 310
311. Information contained in a letter from Peter Davies to J. Gregory Payne, Feb. 12, 1976.
312. New York Times, July 1, 1975, p. 13.
313. Ibid., Aug. 28, 1975, p. 1.
314. The Daily Kent Stater, Oct. 3, 1975.
Return to reference 315
315. Time, Sept 8, 1975, p. 11.
316. The Daily Kent Stater, Sept. 28, 1975.
317. Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sept. 29, 1975.
319. New York Post, Oct. 30, 1975.
Return to reference 320
320. The Daily Kent Stater, Oct. 3, 1975.
321. Ibid., Nov. 18, 1975.
324. The Daily Kent Stater, Jan. 20, 1976.
Return to reference 325
325. Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jan. 8, 1976.
329. The Daily Kent Stater, May 5, 1976.
Return to reference 330
330. Kent-Ravenna Record Courier, May 4, 1976.
331. The Daily Kent Stater, Apr. 8, 1976.
332. Thomas R. Hensley and Jerry M. Lewis, Kent State and May 4th (Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1978), p. 123.
333. Paul Keane, Robert A. Dyal, and Herbert Goldsmith, eds., Kent State F.A.C.T. (First Amendment Conservation TASK FORCE) Newsletter, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 3.
334. Ibid., p. 2.
Return to reference 335
335. The Daily Kent Stater, Nov. 19, 1975.
336. Robert A Dyal, "Too Little and Too Late: The Kent State Faculty and Administrative Response in the Decade After May 4, 1970" in Scott Bills, ed., Kent State Ten Years After (Kent, Ohio: Kent Popular Press, 1980), p. 35.
337. Yale Daily News, Jan. 13, 1977.
338. Akron Beacon Journal, Apr. 4, 1977.
339. Yale Daily News, April 7, 1978.
Return to reference 340
341. J. Gregory Payne and Mary Woods, Kent State: A Wake (Los Angeles, 1976); Alva I. Cox, Kent State, 1970 (Washington: Cinesthestics, 1972); Richard Myers, Confrontation at Kent State (San Francisco: Canyon Cinema, 1971).
342. Akron Beacon Journal, May 4, 1977.
343. The Daily Kent Stater, May 5, 1977.
Return to reference 345
346. Hensley, May 4th, p. 129.
347. Keane, F.A.C.T., p. 4.
348. Hensley, May 4th, p. 129.
349. New York Times, July 12, 1977, p. 1.
Return to reference 350
350. Kent-Ravenna Record Courier, Aug. 19, 1977
351. Kent-Ravenna Record Courier, Aug. 22, 1977
Akron Beacon Journal, Sept. 13, 1977.
Keane, F.A.C.T., p. 6.
Return to reference 355
355. The Daily Kent Stater, Feb. 23, 1978.
356. See letter on page 63.
357. Akron Beacon Journal, May 5, 1978.
358. Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 6, 1970.
359. Akron Beacon Journal, May 5, 1978.
Return to reference 360
362. Bills, Ten Years Later, p. 36.
363. Personal conversations with plaintiffs.
364. Sanford Jay Rosen, "Kent State 1980: Finishing Unfinished Business" in Bills, Ten Years After, p. 53.
Return to reference 365
365. Joseph Kelner and James Munves, The Kent State Coverup (New York: Harper and Row, 1980), p. 265.
366. New York Times, Jan. 8, 1979, p. A-20.
367. Cleveland Press, Jan. 6, 1979.
368. Thomas R. Hensley, "1979 May 4th Federal Civil Trial, Cleveland, Ohio, Jan. 4, 1979.
Return to reference 370
370. New York Times, Jan. 5, 1979, p. A-12.
374. Akron Beacon Journal, May 4, 1980.
Return to reference 375
375. New York Times, Jan. 20, 1979, p. A-20.
377. The Daily Kent Stater, May 4, 1979.
378. Charles Thomas, "The Kent State Massacre: Blood on Whose Hands?," Gallery, May 1979.
379. Lettre from Florence Schroeder to J. Gregory Payne, April 15, 1979.
Return to reference 380
380. Bills, Ten Years After, p. 39.
382. Akron Beacon Journal, May 4, 1980.
384. The Daily Kent Stater, May 2, 1980.
Return to reference 385
385. Ron Ridenhour, "The Plot to Kill Protest," Valley Advocate, May 7, 1980.
386. The Daily Kent Stater, May 2, 1980.
387. Los Angeles Herald Examiner, July 8, 1980.
389. Personal conversations with J. Gregory Payne, Aug. 10, 1980.
Return to reference 390
390. Kelner, Coverup, p. 260.
391. The Cleveland State University Cauldron, Nov. 3, 1980.