White Justice, Black Defendants

Many believe the courts are still biased

The verdict confirmed the worst suspicions of many of the 200 blacks who live in the East Texas town of Hemphill. Last month a jury in that tiny village (pop. 1,350) found three white police officers not guilty of violating the civil rights of Loyal Garner, a black truck driver who had been arrested for drunken driving and died after an alleged jailhouse beating. Lamented Will Smith, a local black minister: "It seems as if there's justice for whites only in this society."

From the beginning, many townspeople doubted that the Garner family could get a fair hearing in Hemphill. Their...

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