Bernhard Goetz

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Bernard Hugo Goetz
Born November 7, 1947 (1947-11-07) (age 61)
Kew Gardens, Queens, New York
Occupation Self employed at the time of the incident
Spouse(s) Divorced, 1970s
Parents German American father, Jewish mother

Bernhard Hugo Goetz (variously referred to as Bernard Goetz or Bernie Goetz in contemporary media reports; born November 7, 1947) is an American who is best known for shooting four young men intent on mugging him. As a result he was convicted for illegal possession of a firearm. Goetz came to symbolize New Yorkers' frustrations with the high crime rates of the mid 1980s. The incident occurred on the Seventh Avenue 2 express subway train in Manhattan in 1984. It sparked a nationwide debate on vigilantism, the perceptions of race and crime in major cities, and the legal limits of self-defense.

Goetz fired an illegal revolver five times, seriously wounding three of the attempted muggers and rendering the fourth a paraplegic. The initially unknown shooter, dubbed the "Subway Vigilante" by the New York press, was both exalted and vilified in the media and in public opinion.

Goetz surrendered to police nine days later and was eventually charged with attempted murder, assault, and reckless endangerment, as well as with several gun crimes. A Manhattan jury found him not guilty of all charges except an illegal firearms possession count, for which he served two-thirds of a one year sentence. Goetz and others have cited his actions as a contributing factor to the groundswell movement against urban crime and disorder, and successful National Rifle Association-led campaigns to loosen restriction on the concealed carry of firearms.

Although Goetz was born in Queens, he grew up in upstate New York, where his German immigrant father ran a dairy farm. Goetz spent his high-school years at a boarding school in Switzerland, returning to the United States to earn a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and nuclear engineering from New York University. At the time of the shooting he was self-employed, running an electronics repair business out of his Greenwich Village apartment.


[edit] The incident

In the early afternoon of Saturday, December 22, 1984, four African American men from the Bronx — Barry Allen, 19; Troy Canty, 19; James Ramseur, 18; and Darrell Cabey, 19 — boarded a downtown No. 2 express train on a mission to steal money from video arcade machines in Manhattan.[1] When the train arrived at the 14th Street station in Manhattan, 15 to 20 other passengers remained with them in subway car 7657,[2][3] the seventh car of the ten-car train.[4][5]

[edit] Encounter

At the 14th Street station, Goetz entered the car through the rearmost door, crossed the aisle and took a seat on the long bench across from the door. Canty was across the aisle from him, lying on the long bench just to the right of the door. Allen was seated to Canty's left, on the short seat on the other side of the door. Ramseur and Cabey were seated across from the door and to Goetz's right, on the short seat by the conductor's cab.[4][3] According to Goetz's statement to the police, approximately ten seconds later Canty asked him, "How are you?" Goetz responded, "Fine". According to Goetz, the four men gave signals to each other, and shortly thereafter Canty and Barry Allen rose from their seats and moved over to the left of Goetz, blocking Goetz off from the other passengers in the car. Canty then said to Goetz, "Give me five dollars". Canty testified at the criminal trial that he was panhandling, although eyewitness testimony generally agreed that the four men were aggressive and threatening. Goetz told police that he thought from the smile on Canty's face that they wanted to "play with me", and he decided on a "pattern of fire" that he would use to shoot them. Goetz, pretending not to hear, asked Canty, "What did you say?" Canty repeated, "Give me five dollars".

[edit] Shooting

After the second demand or request for money, Goetz rose from his seat, and from beneath his blue windbreaker drew a .38 Special five-shot Smith & Wesson revolver. Goetz, who had prior firearms and target shooting experience, assumed a two-handed combat stance and fired five shots, striking each of the four men.[6] All four survived, though Cabey was permanently paralyzed and suffered brain damage as a result of a bullet that severed his spinal cord.

In a telephone call made to a neighbor before he surrendered, and taped without his knowledge, Goetz described his physiological state at the time:[7]

"Myra, in a situation like this, your mind, you're in a combat situation. Your mind is functioning. You're not thinking in a normal way. Your memory isn't even working normally. You are so hyped up. Your vision actually changes. Your field of view changes. Your capabilities change. What you are capable of changes. You are under adrenaline, a drug called adrenaline. And you respond very quickly, and you think very quickly. That's all. ... You think! You think, you analyze, and you act. And in any situation, you just have to think more quickly than your opposition. That's all. You know. Speed is very important."

[edit] Sequence of shots

Sources differ in reporting the sequence of shots fired and whether Cabey was shot once or twice. Following are the three versions from reliable sources describing the sequence of shots:

[edit] Sequence of shots with Cabey shot on the fourth and fifth shots

Prior to the criminal trial the media reported that Cabey had been shot on the fourth shot and then again on the fifth shot, with Goetz saying, "You don't look too bad, here's another." or "You seem all right, here's another."[8] This sequence of shots was discredited at the criminal trial when it was revealed that Cabey was shot once in the left side, however some media still reported[9] this sequence long after the criminal trial.

[edit] Sequence of shots with Cabey shot on the fifth shot

"Speed is everything", Goetz said in a videotaped statement made after he surrendered nine days later.[4] He told police that while still seated, he planned a "pattern of fire" from left to right. He then stood, stepped clear of Canty, drew his gun, turned back to Canty and fired four shots, one at each man, then fired a fifth shot.[4] At the civil trial years later he said, "I was trying to get as many of them as I could."[10] Other sources repeated Goetz's statements to NH police as to the sequence of shots: Canty was shot first, then Allen, then Ramseur, then Cabey.[5][4] In the related proceeding People v. Goetz, the New York Court of Appeals summarized the incident:

It appears from the evidence before the Grand Jury that Canty approached Goetz, possibly with Allen beside him, and stated "give me five dollars". Neither Canty nor any of the other youths displayed a weapon. Goetz responded by standing up, pulling out his handgun and firing four shots in rapid succession. The first shot hit Canty in the chest; the second struck Allen in the back; the third went through Ramseur's arm and into his left side; the fourth was fired at Cabey, who apparently was then standing in the corner of the car, but missed, deflecting instead off of a wall of the conductor's cab. After Goetz briefly surveyed the scene around him, he fired another shot at Cabey, who then was sitting on the end bench of the car. The bullet entered the rear of Cabey's side and severed his spinal cord.[11]

According to his statements to police, Goetz checked the first two men to make sure that they had been "taken care of", then, seeing that the fourth man was now sitting down and seemed unhurt, said "You seem to be all right, here's another" and fired at him again.[12] That the fourth man, Cabey, was shot only once[13][4][5][14] was a fact not made known to Goetz or his attorneys until shortly before the trial. One bullet missed, fragmenting on the steel cab wall behind Cabey. (The missed shot would also be the basis of a charge of reckless endangerment of other passengers.)[14]

[edit] Cabey and the "here's another" issue

Cabey ended up slumped in the short seat in the corner of the car next to the conductor's cab,[3] a lateral bullet wound in the rear of his left side and his spinal cord severed. Whether Cabey was struck by the fourth shot or by the fifth was critical to Goetz's claim of self defense; this issue was fiercely contested at trial.[5] Medical testimony said that such an injury would render the lower half of Cabey's body instantly useless. According to the prosecution, the fourth shot missed; then Goetz shot a seated Cabey at point-blank range with the fifth. The defense theory of how Cabey ended up in the seat was that he was standing when hit by the fourth shot, then collapsed into the seat due to the lurching and swaying of the train; with the fifth shot being the shot that missed.[4]

A summary of Goetz's statements to the police had become public two months after the incident, drawing intense media coverage. Probably most damaging to Goetz's public support and to his claim of acting in self-defense was his statement that he had said "You don't look so bad, here's another" before firing at Cabey a second time. Media concentration on the summary's more damning portions created a public mindset that a wounded Cabey was shot a second time, with the second shot taken in a premeditated and deliberate way — an impression that stood uncorrected until the criminal trial two years later.[15] Eleven years later, at least one city newspaper was still reporting as fact that Cabey was shot twice.[13]

At trial, one witness testified that Goetz approached to within "two to three feet" of a seated Cabey, then demonstrated how Goetz stood directly in front of Cabey and fired downward, a description that matched Goetz's published statements.[5][4] Eight other independent witnesses testified that all shots came in "rapid succession";[5] one of these said the firing lasted "about a second".[4] None of the eight heard a pause before the final shot, and none saw Goetz standing in front of Cabey.[4]

Whether Goetz actually said the words "You don't look so bad, here's another" aloud, or only thought them, is still a matter of dispute. He has subsequently denied on several occasions making the statement.[16] In his closing summation to the jury, prosecutor Gregory Waples conceded:

In all probability, the defendant uttered these words only to himself and probably not even mouthing the words, but just saying them in his own mind as he squeezed the trigger that fifth time.[5]

[edit] Sequence of shots with Cabey shot on the fourth shot

At the Bronx civil trial Goetz testified the first shot was Canty, Allen second, the third shot missed, Cabey fourth, and Ramseur fifth. The following similar shooting sequence is from the Bio & letters page of Bernie Goetz's website[17]:

"I did a fast draw, and shot with one hand (my right), pulling the trigger prior to the gun being aligned on the targets. All actual shots plus my draw time occurred easily within 1.6 seconds or less.

The first shot hit Canty in the center of the chest; the second shot hit lightning fast Barry Allen in the upper rear shoulder as he was ducking (later the bullet was removed from his arm); the third shot hit the subway wall just in front of Cabey; the fourth shot hit Cabey in the left side (severing his spinal cord and rendering him paraplegic); the fifth shot hit Ramseur's arm on the way into his left side. I immediately looked at the first two to make sure they were "taken care of", and then attempted to shoot Cabey again in the stomach, but the gun was empty. I thought Cabey was shot twice; I had lost count of the shots and while under adrenaline I didn't even hear the shots or feel the kick of the gun. "You don't look too bad, here's another," is a phrase I came up with later when trying to explain the shooting while I was under the impression that Cabey was shot twice. Cabey, who was briefly standing prior to the shooting, was sitting on the subway bench during all attempted shots.

After the shooting I talked to two women who I thought might have been shot, and then talked to the subway conductor. Some time after the conductor left the car the train stopped, so I climbed down to the tracks and ran to the Chambers Street Station."

[edit] Flight and surrender

The terrified passengers ran to the other end and out of the car, leaving behind the two women who had been closest to the shooting, fallen or knocked down by the exodus, and immobilized by fear. Goetz talked to them to make sure they were not injured, then was approached by the conductor of the train. Goetz stated "They tried to rob me."[4] The conductor asked whether Goetz was a police officer, receiving the reply "No." Some time after a brief conversation in which he refused to hand over the gun,[4] Goetz jumped to the tracks and ran south through the tunnel to the Chambers Street station, where he exited the system.[5]

He went home to gather some belongings, then rented a car and drove north to Bennington, Vermont, where he burned his blue jacket and dismantled the gun, scattering the pieces in the woods north of town. He drove around New England for several days, registering at motels under various names and paying in cash. On December 26, an anonymous hotline caller told New York City police that Goetz matched the gunman's description, had a gun, and had been mugged four years earlier.[18] In a December 29 telephone call to a neighbor, Goetz learned that police had come by his apartment looking for him, and had left notes asking to be contacted as soon as possible.[7]

Goetz returned to New York on December 30, turned in the car, picked up some clothing and business papers at his apartment, rented another car and drove back to New England. Shortly after noon the next day, he walked into the Concord, New Hampshire police headquarters and told the officer on duty, "I am the person they are seeking in New York."

[edit] Statements to police

Once the officer realized that Goetz was a genuine suspect, Goetz was given a Miranda warning and waived his right to have an attorney present. After an interview that lasted over an hour, a Concord detective asked Goetz to consent to making an audiotaped statement. Goetz agreed, and a rambling two-hour statement was recorded. That evening, New York City detectives and an assistant district attorney arrived in Concord, and Goetz submitted to a two-hour videotaped interview. Both interviews were eventually played back for the grand juries, the criminal trial, and a civil trial years later. When the audiotape was first played in open court, Goetz was described by The New York Times as "confused and emotional, alternately horrified by and defensive about his actions, and obsessed with justifying them."[19]

In his statements, Goetz described a past violent mugging in which he was injured and the only assailant arrested went unpunished. He called New York City "lawless" and expressed contempt for its justice system, calling it a "joke", a "sham", and "a disgrace". Goetz said that when the four men he shot surrounded him on the train, he feared being "beaten to a pulp" as well as being robbed.[20] He denied any premeditation for the shooting, something that had been speculated on by the press.[4]

Asked what his intentions were when he drew his revolver, Goetz replied, "my intention was to murder them, to hurt them, to make them suffer as much as possible."[12] Later in the tape, Goetz said, "If I had more bullets, I would have shot 'em all again and again. My problem was I ran out of bullets." He added, "I was gonna, I was gonna gouge one of the guy's [Canty's] eyes out with my keys afterwards", but said he stopped when he saw the fear in his eyes.[21] At the criminal trial, Goetz's defense attorneys, Barry Slotnick and Mark Baker, argued that this and other extreme statements by Goetz were the product of emotion and an overactive imagination.

Goetz was brought back to Manhattan on January 3, 1985 and arraigned on four charges of attempted murder, with bail set at $50,000. He was held in protective custody at the Rikers Island prison hospital.[22] Refusing offers of bail assistance from the public and from his family, he posted bail with his own funds and was released on bond January 8.[23]

[edit] Background

This incident occurred during the 1980s, a time of unprecedented high crime rates in New York City. By mid-decade, the city had a reported crime rate over 70% higher than the rest of the U.S. In 1984, there were 2 homicides, 18 violent crimes, and 65 property thefts reported per 10,000 people. On average, 38 crimes were reported in the subway system each day; the subway became a symbol of the city's inability to control crime.[24] In a survey of New York City residents taken the month after the shootings, more than half of those surveyed said crime was the worst thing about living in the city; about a quarter said they or a family member had been a victim of crime in the last year; and two-thirds said they would be willing to pay for private security for their building or block.[25]

While transporting electronic equipment in 1981, Goetz was attacked in the Canal Street subway station by three youths who tried to steal the equipment and his sheepskin jacket.[26] They smashed him into a plate-glass door and threw him to the ground, causing chest and knee injuries. Goetz assisted an off-duty officer in arresting one of them, but was angered when his attacker spent less time in the police station than he did, then was further angered when his attacker was charged only with criminal mischief, for ripping the jacket.[6] Goetz applied for a permit to carry a handgun, on the basis of routinely carrying valuable equipment and large sums of cash. His application was denied for insufficient need, as are most such applications in New York City. Goetz bought a five-shot, alloy J-frame Smith and Wesson "Airweight" revolver with a shrouded hammer[27] on his next trip to visit family in Florida.[6] He began carrying it regularly and had brandished it twice to frighten away would-be robbers before using it to shoot the four men who confronted him on the subway.

At the time of the incident all four men had criminal records, with a total of fourteen criminal bench warrants, although only Cabey had been charged with a felony, armed robbery. All of them were either 18 or 19, and had reached the legal age of majority.

[edit] Early reports

Because of the loudness of the shots inside the confined space of the subway car, there were initial witness reports that suggested the gun involved was a .357 Magnum revolver. Goetz alluded to these reports in a December 2004 interview on the Opie and Anthony radio show, saying that the first shot he fired that afternoon had been unusually loud in part because it was the first shot fired by the small-frame .38 caliber revolver after the factory tests, which "cleaned the barrel".

After the incident, rumors spread that Goetz had been threatened with sharpened screwdrivers.[28] This rumor was published as fact by some newspapers including the New York Times;[29][30] however, neither Goetz nor the men made any such claim. During his subsequent statement to the police Goetz expressed a belief that none of the young men had been armed.[31] Paramedics and police did find a total of three screwdrivers on two of the men; when Canty testified at Goetz's criminal trial he said they were to be used to break into video arcade change boxes and not as weapons.[29]

[edit] Public reaction

"The subway vigilante", as Goetz was labeled by New York City media, was front-page news for months, partly owing to the repressed passions the incident unleashed in New York and other cities. Public opinion tended to fall into one of three camps: Those in the first camp tended to believe Goetz's version of the incident, that he was aggressively accosted and surrounded by the four men and feared he was about to be beaten and robbed. Those in the second camp tended to believe the version told by the four men, that they were merely panhandling to get some money to play video games. A third camp believed that Goetz had indeed been threatened, but viewed the shooting as an unjustified overreaction.

[edit] Supporters

Supporters viewed the soft-spoken Goetz as a hero for standing up to his attackers and defending himself in an environment where the police were increasingly viewed as ineffective in combating crime.[32]

The Guardian Angels, a volunteer patrol group of mostly black and Hispanic teenagers,[33] collected thousands of dollars from subway riders toward a legal defense fund for Goetz.[34] The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), a civil rights organization, supported Goetz.[35] Its director Roy Innis offered to raise defense money, saying Goetz was "the avenger for all of us", and calling for a volunteer force of armed civilians to patrol the streets.[34] The prior criminal convictions of the four men (and the published accounts of such) prevented them from gaining sympathy from many people. A special hotline set up by police to seek information was swamped by calls supporting the shooter and calling him a hero.[34][30] Harvard Professor of Government James Q. Wilson explained the broad sentiment by saying, "It may simply indicate that there are no more liberals on the crime and law-and-order issue in New York, because they've all been mugged".[34]

[edit] Detractors

Some believed the version of the incident as told by the four men, that they were merely panhandling with neither intimidation nor threats of violence. This view was later substantially discredited when Cabey admitted in a newspaper interview that his friends had indeed intended to rob Goetz, who looked like "easy bait".[36]

Some saw the incident as racial, and the jury verdict as a blow to race relations. Benjamin Hooks, director of the NAACP, said "The jury verdict was inexcusable. ... It was proven — according to his own statements — that Goetz did the shooting and went far beyond the realm of self-defense. There was no provocation for what he did." Representative Floyd Flake agreed, saying "I think that if a black had shot four whites, the cry for the death penalty would have been almost automatic".[37] Contradicting Flake's statement, Time magazine pointed out that a year after the Goetz shooting a New York City grand jury refused to indict Austin Weeks, a 29-year-old black man who shot and killed one of two white youths who accosted him on the subway.[38] C. Vernon Mason, a candidate for district attorney and co-counsel for Cabey, said Goetz's actions were racist,[37] as did the Rev. Al Sharpton. Goetz’s racial language about criminal activity on 14th Street, made at a community meeting 18 months before the shooting, "The only way we're going to clean up this street is to get rid of the spics and niggers"[7] was offered as evidence of racial motivation for the shooting. Black political and religious leaders twice called for a Federal civil rights investigation.[39] An investigation by the office of U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani determined that the impetus for the shooting had been fear, not race.[40]

[edit] Others

Between these two extreme views, some believed that Goetz was indeed threatened with violence, but questioned whether the drastic nature of his actions qualified as true self-defense. People in this camp thought that Goetz callously overreacted when he opened fire without warning on not only one, but all four of the men who confronted him. In the Opie and Anthony Show radio interview, Goetz alluded to this camp and recalled how a telephone caller to another talk show suggested to him that at the moment of the incident, Goetz "should have been thinking of (19-year-old Darrell) Cabey's mother." Goetz said that at the moment he was cornered by what witnesses testified were four hostile men, he was first and foremost concerned for his own safety and survival and that he was not thinking of the mens' relatives.

[edit] First and second grand juries

Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau asked a grand jury to indict Goetz on four counts of attempted murder, four of assault, four of reckless endangerment, and one of criminal possession of a weapon.[41] Because they would have to be granted immunity from prosecution, neither Goetz nor the four men he shot were called to testify. The 23 jurors heard witnesses, considered the police report of the shooting, and studied transcripts and tapes of the sometimes conflicting statements Goetz made to police in New Hampshire.[15][42] The jury refused to indict Goetz on the more serious charges, voting indictments only for gun possession – one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, for carrying in public the loaded unlicensed gun used in the subway shooting; and two counts of possession in the fourth degree, for keeping two other unlicensed handguns in his home.[41] The case was assigned to Judge Stephen Crane.

The shootings initially drew wide support from a public fearful and frustrated with rising crime rates and the state of the criminal justice system.[43][44] A month after the grand jury's decision, a report summarizing statements Goetz made to police became public, indicating that he had fired one shot at each of the four men, then checked their condition, and, seeing no blood on the fourth, said "You don't look so bad, here's another" and fired again.[15] The media now wrote of a change in the public mood[45] and demanded that Goetz be tried on the attempted murder and assault charges while suggesting approaches that would allow Morgenthau to convene a new grand jury.[46] Public figures including New York Governor Mario Cuomo raised questions based on the police summary. Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania called for a special prosecutor.[42] Stating that he had a new witness, Morgenthau obtained Judge Crane's authorization to convene a second grand jury, which heard testimony by Canty and Ramseur and indicted Goetz on charges of attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment and weapons possession.[47]

Judge Crane granted a motion by Goetz to dismiss the new indictments, based on alleged errors in the prosecutor's instructions to the jury regarding Goetz's defense of justification for the use of deadly force. A second factor in the dismissal was the judge's opinion that testimony by Canty and Ramseur "strongly appeared" to have been perjury, based on later public statements by Canty and Ramseur that they had intended to rob Goetz,[48][47] and on a newspaper interview where Cabey stated that the other members of the group planned to frighten and rob Goetz because he "looked like easy bait".[49] The judge allowed the weapons possession and reckless endangerment charges to stand.[48]

The New York Court of Appeals, in People v. Goetz, reversed Judge Crane's dismissal, affirming the prosecutor's charge to the grand jury that a defendant's subjective belief that he is in imminent danger does not by itself justify the use of deadly force. The court agreed with the prosecutor that an objective belief, one that would be shared by a hypothetical reasonable person, is also required.[47] The appeals court further held that Judge Crane's opinion that the testimony of Canty and Ramseur was perjurious was speculative and inappropriate.[50] All charges were reinstated, and the case was sent to trial.

[edit] Criminal trial

The Goetz trial was a significant news event. Goetz confessed to the shooting but argued that his actions fell within the New York self-defense statute. Under Section 35.15, "A person may not use deadly physical force upon another person...unless...He reasonably believes that such other person is committing or attempting to commit [one of certain enumerated predicate offenses, including robbery]."

Goetz was tried before a mainly white Manhattan jury,[51] six of whom had been victims of street crime.[38] He was acquitted of the attempted murder and first-degree assault charges and convicted only of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree – carrying a loaded, unlicensed weapon in a public place.[47] He was initially sentenced to six months in jail, one year's psychiatric treatment, five years' probation, 200 hours' community service, and a fine of $5,000. He appealed, and the appellate court affirmed the conviction and ordered a resentencing for a period of one year in jail without probation. The order of the appellate court was affirmed because the trial court had not erred in instructing the jury that, if it found the People had proved each of the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, it "must" find the defendant guilty. This was not a directed verdict. Goetz served eight months.

[edit] Civil trial

Cabey's lawyers William Kunstler and Ron Kuby filed a civil suit against Goetz the month following the shootings.[52] The case was tried eleven years later in the Bronx, with race the dominant theme.[53] During jury selection, Kuby asked the mostly nonwhite prospective jurors whether they had ever been discriminated against. Goetz admitted to previous use of racial language and to smoking marijuana laced with angel dust in the 1980s.[54] Kuby portrayed Goetz as a racist aggressor; Goetz's defense was that when surrounded he reacted in fear of being again robbed and beaten. Newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin testified that in a 1985 interview, Cabey denied his involvement in an attempted robbery, but said that Canty, Allen, and Ramseur intended to rob Goetz.[36]

The jury of four blacks and two Hispanics found that Goetz had acted recklessly and had deliberately inflicted emotional distress on Cabey.[53][24] Jurors interviewed after the trial said that Goetz's decision to fire at Cabey a second time was a key factor in their decision.[55] The jury awarded Cabey $43 million – $18 million for pain and suffering and $25 million in punitive damages.[56]

Goetz subsequently filed for bankruptcy, saying that legal expenses had left him almost penniless. A judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court ruled that the $43 million jury award could not be dismissed by the bankruptcy.[57] Asked in 2004 whether he was making payments on the judgment, Goetz responded "I don't think I've paid a penny on that", and referred any questions on the subject to his attorney.[58]

[edit] Legacy

The New York State legal standard for the self defense justification use of deadly force shifted after rulings in the case. New York jurors are now told to consider a defendant's background and to consider whether a hypothetical reasonable person would feel imperiled if that reasonable person were the defendant.

After reaching an all-time peak in 1990, crime in New York City dropped dramatically throughout the rest of the 1990s.[59] As of 2006, New York had statistically become one of the safest large cities in the U.S., with its crime rate being ranked 194th of the 210 American cities with populations over 100,000. New York City crime rates in the years 2000-2005 were comparable to those of the early 1960s.

Goetz and others have interpreted the significance of his actions in the subway incident as a contributing factor precipitating the groundswell movement against crime in subsequent years. While that claim is impossible to verify, Goetz achieved celebrity as a popular cultural symbol of a public disgusted with urban crime and disorder.[60]

[edit] Activities since the incident

In March 1985, soon after being released from the hospital for the treatment of his gunshot wound, James Ramseur falsely reported to police that two men hired by Goetz had kidnapped and attempted to kill him.[61] In May of that year, Ramseur held the gun while an associate raped, sodomized and robbed a pregnant eighteen-year-old woman on the rooftop of the Bronx building where he lived, and in 1986 was sentenced to 8⅓ to 25 years in prison. Barry Allen committed two robberies after the shooting, one of them a chain snatching in the elevator of the building where he lived.[48] The second arrest brought him a sentence of up to four years for probation violation.[62]

As of 2005, Goetz was again living in New York City and had run for both Mayor (in 2001) and Public Advocate (2005). Goetz has stated that while he did not expect to be elected, he did hope to bring attention to issues in the public interest. He is also an advocate for vegetarianism and the serving of vegetarian lunches in the New York City public school system.[63] Goetz is also involved in the squirrel community of New York.[64] He installs squirrel houses, feeds squirrels and performs first aid. He occasionally gives media interviews about the 1984 subway incident that suddenly brought his private life into the public eye. He sells and services electronic test equipment through his company "Vigilante Electronics". In the 2002 film Every Move You Make, Goetz played a criminologist who teaches a female stalking victim how to use a concealed-carry weapon. In 2004, twenty years after the incident, Goetz was interviewed by Nancy Grace on Larry King Live, where he stated that his actions helped precipitate the drop in crime experienced in New York City in the early 1990s.[58]

[edit] References

  1. ^ "4 YOUTHS SHOT BY GOETZ FACED CRIMINAL COUNTS". The New York Times. January 10, 1985. 
  2. ^ Photo - exterior of car 7657 taken in 1971, before the graffiti epidemic
  3. ^ a b c Photo - interior of similar model car, an R-17, New York Transit Museum - Goetz car was an R-22 with fiberglass seating
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Lesly, Mark (1988). Subway Gunman: A Juror's Account of the Bernhard Goetz Trial. British American Publishing. ISBN 0-945-16708-3. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Fletcher, George P. (1990). A Crime of Self-Defense: Bernhard Goetz and the Law on Trial (Paperback). University Of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-25334-1. 
  6. ^ a b c "A Troubled and Troubling Life". Time. April 8, 1985.,9171,965495,00.html?iid=chix-sphere. 
  7. ^ a b c Friedman, Myra (February 18, 1985). "My Neighbor Bernie Goetz". New York.,M1. 
  9. ^ The Goetz Verdict
  10. ^ "COOL GOETZ TELLS STORY HE GOT AS MANY AS HE COULD SHOOT". Daily News. April 13, 1996. 
  11. ^ "People v Goetz, 68 NY2d 96". Court of Appeals of New York. July 8, 1986. 
  12. ^ a b "'...YOU HAVE TO THINK IN A COLD-BLOODED WAY'". The New York Times. April 30, 1987. 
  13. ^ a b "Correction". The New York Times. April 26, 1996. 
  14. ^ a b "JUDGE REFUSES IMMUNITY TO YOUTH SHOT BY GOETZ". The New York Times. May 12, 1987. 
  15. ^ a b c "GOETZ SPOKE TO ONE YOUTH, THEN SHOT AGAIN, POLICE SAY". The New York Times. February 28, 1985. 
  16. ^ Severin Mevissen: Was macht eigentlich ... Bernhard Goetz? Stern 5/2008, p. 154.
  17. ^ [ - Bio & letters page
  18. ^ "IRT SUSPECT IS CHARGED AS FUGITIVE". The New York Times. January 2, 1985. 
  19. ^ "EVERYBODY IS EDGY AS GOETZ TRIAL OPENS". The New York Times. May 3, 1987. 
  20. ^ "GOETZ LABELS HIMSELF VICTIM AND 'MURDERER'". The Boston Globe. May 14, 1987. 
  21. ^ "Intended to Gouge Eye Of Teen, Goetz Tape Says; 'My Problem Was I Ran Out of Bullets'". The Washington Post. May 14, 1987. 
  22. ^ "Under tight security, Bernhard Hugo Goetz was returned...". The New York Times. January 4, 1985. 
  23. ^ "GOETZ POSTS BAIL AND IS FREED; YOUTHS HE SHOT WON'T TESTIFY". The New York Times. January 9, 1985. 
  24. ^ a b "The New York City Transit Authority in the 1980s". Metropolitan Transit Authority. 
  26. ^ "MAN TELLS POLICE HE SHOT YOUTHS IN SUBWAY TRAIN". The New York Times. January 1, 1985. 
  27. ^ Image: Smith & Wesson Model 642 revolver
  28. ^ The Joy of Goetz - New York Magazine
  29. ^ a b "GOETZ SHOOTING VICTIM SAYS YOUTHS WEREN'T THREATENING". The New York Times. May 2, 1987. 
  30. ^ a b "THE LITTLE-KNOWN WORLD OF THE VIGILANTE". The New York Times. December 30, 1984. 
  32. ^ "ANGRY CITIZENS IN MANY CITIES SUPPORTING GOETZ". The New York Times. January 7, 1985. 
  33. ^ "46th Street 'Restaurant Row' Starts Guardian Angel Patrol". The New York Times. June 10, 1988. 
  34. ^ a b c d "Low Profile for a Legend". Time. January 25, 1985.,9171,956277-1,00.html. 
  35. ^ Rick Hampton (1987-05-18), Goetz jury did not endorse vigilantism, Atlanta Journal-Constitution 
  36. ^ a b "Goetz Defense Opens, Calls Jimmy Breslin and a Psychiatrist, Then Closes". The New York Times. April 18, 1996. 
  37. ^ a b "BLACKS SEE GOETZ VERDICT AS BLOW TO RACE RELATIONS". The New York Times. June 18, 1987. 
  38. ^ a b "Not Guilty". Time. June 29, 1987.,9171,964773,00.html. 
  40. ^ "N.A.A.C.P. LEADER SEEKS FEDERAL CASE ON GOETZ". The New York Times. June 20, 1987. 
  41. ^ a b "GRAND JURY VOTES TO INDICT GOETZ ONLY ON GUN POSSESSION CHARGES". The New York Times. January 26, 1985. 
  42. ^ a b "MORGENTHAU SAYS GOETZ CASE MAY GO TO 2D GRAND JURY". The New York Times. March 1, 1985. 
  43. ^ "ANGRY CITIZENS IN MANY CITIES SUPPORTING GOETZ". The New York Times. January 7, 1985. 
  44. ^ "QUALITY OF LIFE – THE SUBWAY VIGILANTE, DECEMBER 1984-JANUARY 1985". Daily News. November 8, 2001. 
  45. ^ "New Evidence". Time. March 25, 1985.,9171,964133,00.html. 
  46. ^ "'You Don't Look So Bad . . .' If the criminal justice system can't protect New Yorkers, why shouldn't they try to defend themselves? That was the question first raised by the tormenting case of Bernhard Goetz. Mr. Goetz's own account of the incident, just released, changes the question: When does defending yourself turn into appointing yourself judge, jury and executioner? It is a question that demands a prompt answer - in a trial.". The New York Times. March 1, 1985. 
  48. ^ a b c "JUSTICE DROPS ALL MAJOR CHARGES AGAINST GOETZ IN SHOOTING ON IRT". The New York Times. January 17, 1986. 
  49. ^ "Questioning Planned For Youth Goetz Shot". The New York Times. November 27, 1985. 
  50. ^ People v Goetz, 68 NY2d 96
  51. ^ "The Goetz Verdict". The New York Times. April 24, 1995. 
  52. ^ Text of Civil Complaint against Goetz
  53. ^ a b "GOETZ A JERK, NOT A RACIST, JURY TOLD". Daily News. April 23, 1996. 
  54. ^ "Fund Linked to N.R.A. Gave $20,000 for Goetz's Defense". The New York Times. April 16, 1996. 
  55. ^ "FROM 1ST VOTE, JURORS KNEW". Daily News. April 24, 1996. 
  56. ^ "Bronx Jury Orders Goetz to Pay Man He Paralyzed $43 Million". The New York Times. April 24, 1996. 
  57. ^ "Bankrupt, Goetz Still Owes Victim". The New York Times. August 2, 1996. 
  58. ^ a b "CNN LARRY KING LIVE: Interview with "Subway Vigilante" Bernhard Goetz". December 17, 2006. 
  59. ^ Langan, Patrick A.; Matthew R. Durose (2003 December 3-5). "The Remarkable Drop in Crime in New York City". 2003 International Conference on Crime. 
  60. ^ Gladwell, Malcolm (2000). The Tipping Point. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-34662-4. 
  61. ^ "A MAN GOETZ SHOT IS CHARGED WITH FAKING OWN ABDUCTION". The New York Times. March 27, 1985. 
  62. ^ "2 OF THOSE SHOT BY GOETZ FACE NEW JAIL TERMS". The New York Times. April 9,1986. 
  63. ^ Bernie Goetz - The Subway Vigilante, BBC
  64. ^ Neighborhood Report: New York Squirrels; Where Pets Are Allowed, and Neighbors Are Furry

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