An Incredible Exchange of Letters
The aforementioned exchange of letters between Georgia Rep. Mildred Glover and Assistant General Attorney Bradford Reynolds came after the Williams trial, which had enraged the parents of the dead and missing children whose cases had been closed and falsely attributed to Williams. As noted before, Williams was not charged with killing any of the children, only two adults, yet the FBI concluded that Williams was responsible for the murders. The simple truth was they never had any evidence pointing to his involvement in the child killings which would stand up in court, especially since preparations were already being made to introduce irrefutable evidence of Klan involvement if he was charged.
August 19, 1982
Mr. William Bradford Reynolds
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, D. C. 20530
Dear Mr. Reynolds:
After a nine-week trial in early 1982, Wayne Williams was convicted and sentenced for the murder of two adults in the Atlanta Child killings. Subsequent to his conviction, local authorities announced that twenty-two (22) children cases which appear to be related could also be closed. Not one of the closed cases was brought to trial.
Parents of the children, first bewildered by the investigative treatment given their children’s murders and enraged at the knowledge that the conviction of Williams for two murders would suffice for all of them, sought my assistance for justice beyond the state of Georgia. They contend that their children were killed because they were black and that they, themselves, have been treated as second-class citizens in their effort to seek relief because they, too, are poor and black. Furthermore, their opinions are substantiated by extensive testimony in the form of written and recorded information which provide names, dates, and places suggesting a racist intent in the children’s murders.
It is against this background that parents and I entered into regular and lengthy discussions of the missing and murdered children in Atlanta. As a State Representative from a district where many of the children lived, or were last seen, or were found, I consider it an important stewardship responsibility to respond to the parents in their request.
After a careful study and review of the information, I am led to believe that the parents’ contention that discrimination was the motive in their children’s deaths is, indeed, a valid one.
It is in the parents behalf that I write this letter to present the case of discrimination in the Atlanta child killings — that the children were killed because of color.
Evidence strongly suggests that the children’s civil rights have been violated. Further I am charging that the improper and indifferent treatment accorded the children’s deaths by law enforcement officials and the inadequate and insensitive response to parents is proof-positive that they were ignored because of color. It is fair to assume that our government leaders would have declared a state of emergency (and conceivably a state of war) had the thirty victims been white, slain en masse, and virtually ignored by law enforcement officials.
In my response to the parents to seek justice beyond the state of Georgia, I appeal to you under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 902 which authorizes the intervention of the United States government in civil rights cases. It states:
“Whenever an action has been commenced in any court of the United States seeking relief from the denial of equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution on account of race, color, religion, or national origin, the Attorney General for and in the name of the United States may intervene in such action upon timely application if the Attorney General certifies that the case is of general public importance. In such action the United States shall be entitled to the same relief as if it had instituted the action.”
63 Stat. 102
Title 28 of the U.S. Code
During the summer of 1979, a crisis of unparalled proportions came to light in Atlanta, Georgia that was to continue for the next two years. Black children and young adults were murdered in massive numbers. The murderer(s) of unknown identity stalked the streets of the city snatching and killing our children and dropping their bodies along highways, byways, and in rivers.
During the period, a total of thirty young persons were identified as victims of the mass slaying and placed on an official Task Force List for on-going investigation. The group included twenty-five (25) children and five (5) young adults. Children ages ranged from 7 to 17; young adults, 18-28.
On June 21, 1981, a suspect, Wayne B. Williams, was apprehended near the Chattacboochee River—a dumping ground for many of the victims. Williams was subsequently charged for the murder of two adults— Jimmy Ray Payne, 21 and Nathaniel Cater, 27 and convicted on both counts following a nine-week trial during the first part of 1982.
The books have been closed on cases that have indeed not been prosecuted with an understanding that they all can be linked to Wayne Williams—without the benefit of trial by jury. There is no precedent for this procedure in court history. The decision to establish a pattern and make all cases fit a mold in view of the critical nature of the case is indeed an unfit decision. If anything, a pattern, having been established, should be used merely as a point of departure for a trial by jury in each and every case.
To date, there has been no attempt to learn the identity of the mass murderer(s) of our children. For this reason, we are concerned that we may never know the circumstances surrounding our children’s deaths. Questions abound in every area of the situation.
Essentially, Mr. Reynolds, I believe that the civil rights of the children and parents have been violated for the following reasons:
1) Testimony given by Mr. A–a white male witness who alleges that other white persons have “bragged” to him about killing “them damn niggers.” I am in possession of taped recordings detailing the contents of his testimony.
2) Testimony given by Mrs. B–a white female witness who reports that an acquaintance is killing the children to hide his homosexual activity with the boys. Mrs. B has detailed her observations in a written report and submitted it to me.
3) Testimony given by Mr. C—a young black male (16) whom I consider a survivor because of his narrow escape with death. Mr. C describes his homosexual prostitution activities with white males in Northside Atlanta. His tape recorded testimony describes the activities of a club of members which included two of the victims.
4) Parents were subject to indecent and indifferent treatment by police officials at every level of the crisis: i.e., delayed action early on: insensitive and improper police procedures;—all of which were tolerated because victims were black and not white.
5) In many instances, citizens desiring to offer information were either discouraged or ignored in their attempt to cooperate with investigative authorities. Even parents’ offer of information was often ignored or simply refused.
6) The court’s failure to issue subpoena to persons known to have had continuous contact with many victims (based on eye-witness accounts as opposed to fiber evidence) is also contrary to proper judicial procedure. As a matter of information, court documents, depositions, and other testimony provide identities of such persons.
The following discussion attempts to elaborate on the reasons listed above.
Mr. A—A White Male Witness
On August 14, 1982, at his request, I visited the home of a middle-aged white male in Atlanta (hereafter referred to as Mr. A) who gave a comprehensive accounting of the implementation of a calculated plan by whites to kill the black children. An excerpt from that conversation follows:
Q. “Mr. A—you said that you thought you wife and your wife’s mother hated the fact that your sons, who are white, went to school and played with the ‘colored’ boys—do you think that could be ft serious motive (racism, prejudice) for your family to take the lives of Atlanta’s black children?”
A. “Yes ma’am. Sure do. I mean, let me put it this way. They say, the South down here–the white people, the colored people and all—(Lincoln freed the slaves, you know)—well they say that everybody is happy and living together but there’s still a lot of old folks white old folks don’t feel that way. And her mother (wife’s mother) was one of the ones.
…Every morning she (wife’s mother) would come over here and have a cup of coffee with us before she went to work–and she was constantly every morning pouring that garbage in my kids’ heads.
…She didn’t talk about one specific boy—she didn’t know one specific boy—she just, ‘cuse my French—she just said ‘them damn niggers running over everybody.’ They were going to school with them down here at Benteen and them kids would get in fusses and fights just like any kids do—you know—but yet just because they was black, they’d come home and tell their grandmother, and then she’d say, ‘them damn little niggers, if it wasn’t for them, you wouldn’t have got in a fight like that.’
…Constantly, every morning, she’d come over here and it was nigger this and nigger that.
Her daddy–when she was little–they was raise in Jonesboro. And he’d come up to Atlanta in a horse and wagon ’bout every two weeks and he was up here, when the Ku Rlux was killing colored people and carrying them to the river in a wagon , and she was bragging to them young’uns and all–saying that’s what they ought to do again.”
At another taping in Mr. A’s home, he reported:
“My son was bragging and said that he killed the one that was stabbed in the stomach—the one that was found over there off Moreland.
As a matter of information, Mr. A lives in a predominantly black area of Atlanta. A resident of fifteen years at that address, he is one of the few whites that has remained in his community despite the high incidence of white flight common to urban transition. Mr. A and his family, themselves being poor, lived a similar lifestyle as their black neighbors. His immediate family members whom he accuses of mass murder, were frustrated by having to contend with, “their black environment—despising their children’s attendance at the black school; their social life at the same boys’ club; the fusses and fights at recreation centers; their forced joint involvement in every area of life.
Their only escape were the frequent visits to relatives in Conyers, Georgia who he accuses of providing the opportunity for murder through the use of their motor home.
Mr. A expresses strong familiarity with several victims by name. In fact, on my first visit to his home (accompanied by two parents), I was amazed at not only his knowledge of the children but also the parents. He greeted us and upon recognizing Mrs. Annie Rogers said, “Good evening, you’re Miss Rogers, aren’t you—Patriot Rogers was your boy.”
Mr. A claims to have an understanding of the route used by his family in the placement of the bodies. He says that his relatives’ motor home was used to:
1) Drop bodies in the Chattahoochee River from the side door of the vehicle; and
2) Circle the perimeter on the ground route that was used by him (Mr. A) and his wife in their employment with the Dillard Mumford E-Z Food Shops (a.k.a. Magic Markets). He says:
“Well, there’s one route–coming up 20 from Conyers going around 285—they was stopping at Moreland Ave down there at 285 where they was transporting the kids from a car to the motor home. They was going on around 285 and getting off at 166 and Campbellron Road (which they’re both the same street) and then turn left going to Fairburn Road and taking another left and going down Redwine Road which is approximately 3 miles from the E-Z Food Shop at Fair-burn and Campbellton.
This compelling and vivid account of hate murders as described by Mr. A clearly violates the very same protection as established by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
Despite its potential for providing answers to the most heinous mass murders in the history of this country, Mr. A’s testimony was ignored and door were closed to him at every level of law enforcement. It is questionable whether his testimony would have been denied if 30 whites had been slain instead of 30 blacks.
Mrs. B—A White Female Witness
Through a mutual acquaintance, I met Mrs. B and her husband who report a number of experiences surrounding a suspect whom they believe to have young black boys in homosexual trysts. She believes her life to be in danger because the suspect is aware of her suspicion. Her testimony however, does not put the suspect with any of the victims.
Mr. C–A Young Black Male (16)
Mr. C is a young man, not retarded but slow in some ways, who reports that he is a part of a group of youngsters who engage in homosexual prostitution. Be expresses a disgust at his involvement and an interest in getting out. His friend, however, in an effort to get out was assaulted by fellow members of the homosexual club and because of this, Mr. C. fears that be, too, will be hurt. Mr. C does, in fact, link two child victims as former members of the club who accompanied him on many occasions on “jobs.”
Parents Cite Reasons for Civil Rights Violations
Parents cite a number of reasons why they believe their children’s civil rights have been violated. The following comments describe their major concerns.
Patrick Baltazar —
Mrs. Sheila Baltazar questions the motivation of the Task Force which directed her son, Patrick, to another department when be called for help. She is further perplexed since his name was officially on Task Force list and he gave his name and reported that he was being followed. This telephone call is part of the public record which was aired on local television.
Joseph “Jo-Jo” Bell
Mrs. Doris Bell believes that Wayne Williams did, in fact, kill her son and wonders why he cannot or will not be brought to trial for it. Basing her conclusion on testimony by siblings, she thinks that if the victims were white, Wayne Williams would be brought to trial for all victims connected to his pattern, and tried for each.
Mrs. Lois Evans questions the handling of her son’s case during the period he was missing. The Atlanta Police withheld from her the fact that her son bad been found by them and buried by them without her knowledge. Mrs. Evans who had reported her son missing fourteen months prior to this announcement does not understand why law enforcement officials felt the need to deny her the opportunity to identify her son.
Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Jackson would like to know why Wayne Williams was not investigated earlier when their son talked about a “Williams acquaintance” of his. The victims testimony was given to police but, nevertheless, ignored.
Mrs. Assie Geter is disturbed by the informality and indifferent manner in which business is carried out in the Homicide Division of the Atlanta Police Department. She reports that her son’s case was only pursued when a family member, also a police officer, saw the report of Lubie’s death on a shelf, unattended, and took it upon himself to bring it to the attention of the proper authorities.
Mrs. Annie Hill is disturbed by the way that people have smeared the reputations of the children. She desperately wants the closed cases open and brought to trial.
Mrs. Selena Cobb is upset because of the blatant racism she experienced with the DeKalb Police investigating officer who refused to come inside her home but rather sent for her and proceeded to investigate the case as she sat in her patrol car. Mrs. Cobb does not believe that the rich white residents of Dunwoody would have been treated in like manner.
Mrs. Annie Rogers believes that her son’s rights were violated because Cobb County closed the case on her son, Patrick, despite the fact that prosecution attorneys (during the Wayne Williams trial) stated publicly that “they were not charging Wayne Williams with the death of Patrick Rogers.” Cobb County, however, reported that they (Cobb) do not have another suspect and have decided to close the case.
Mrs. Beverly Belt is concerned about many things, including the way the parents are treated; the fact that the bones of more than one body was often “thrown together” and aired on television. She, too, desperately wants the closed cases open and brought to trial so that other perpetrators may be brought to justice.
Mrs. Catherine Leach is enraged that the best kept secret from the public in this crisis Is the brutal manner in which most of the children were mutilated. It is common to find among the bodies— castrations, bands amputated, feet amputated, lips and ears cut off, as well as part of the face. Why, the secret? It reads like old-fashion racist killings.
Mrs. Fannie Mae Smith wants to know why were the parents treated like suspects and why did the police have so little interest in investigating the cases. Mrs. Smith is the foster parent of Darron Glass–the only missing child.
Observations made by parents above are also commonly shared by many Atlantans–many of whom welcome the opportunity to repeat their observations and experiences that might hopefully bring an end to this nightmare.
Parents contend that the establishment of the special Task Force was a much delayed reaction. They report that only after five of the children deaths in the face of constant cries for a special investigation was a special Task Force set up to handle the cases. They could not understand the obvious limited value that was being placed on investigating such a terrible string of murders of their children.
They are now enraged at the sharp contrast that has appeared with the recent attempted murder of Atlanta lawyer Hirsch Friedman. Within 48 hours after the attempt on this white citizen’s life, a Task Force was established to investigate it. Even the FBI announced within 72 hours after the attempt that they would officially enter the investigating citing that their intervention was because of a possible violation of Friedman’s civil rights. (see enclosed news clippings.)
The questions now on the parents’ minds—and certainly valid ones—
1) Were our dead black children from Atlanta’s ghettos subject to the same equal rights of the law as an influential white male lawyer from Atlanta’s affluent Northside? 2) Had the children been white would the establishment of the Task Force taken place much quicker?
I, too, am bewildered and at a loss to understand the difference in treatment in the two cases. Is it because of color?
Mr. Reynolds, the case of Atlanta’s missing and murdered children is one of the most heinous and bizarre crimes ever committee in the country and indeed the world. Because of it, even the closure of the cases is one of the most talked about subjects in the city of Atlanta,
The evidence presented above would provoke the question in the mind of any constitutional lawyer as to the violation of the civil rights of these young black children. Further, it strongly suggests that a person or persons still running free were responsible for some of these children’s deaths.
It continues to stagger the imagination of how poor blacks can be denied their civil rights almost twenty years after the passage of a law that guarantees it for them.
Hirsch Friedman is truly blessed because the same Civil Rights Act of 1964 that was designed to protect the civil rights of all Americans regardless of race, color, religion, or national origin is the very same vehicle by which you exercised authority to officially enter his investigation.
Mr. Reynolds, we seek that same equal protection under the law and trust that you will move with the same speed in responding to my call to give relief to the parents of Atlanta’s missing and murdered children.