Miami Web News

          New Look at 1980 McDuffie Cops Trial

​     Just in time for the 40th anniversary of the notorious 1980 McDuffie riots comes a new book to explain what happened – Verdict on Trial: The Inside Story of the Cops Trial that Ignited Miami’s Deadliest Riot by John Dorschner.

     It’s a new, hard look at what went wrong in one of America’s most devastating trials, revealing for the first time many details about problems in a case that the public assumed was certain to lead to convictions.

      It involved the trial of five white Miami police officers accused of killing black motorcyclist Arthur McDuffie or attempting to cover up the way he died. On May 17, 1980, the cops were acquitted of all charges. Black neighborhoods erupted. Eighteen were killed. Property damage was $100 million.
     The verdicts astonished almost everyone in Miami: “Simply numbing, impossible to comprehend,” moaned one editorial writer. In fact, for those lawyers in the courtroom – prosecutors and defense – the verdicts were easy to comprehend. The state’s case was a mess.
     The state’s first four witnesses contradicted each other in profound ways.  The prosecutor admitted long after the trial was over: “Boy, they were terrible witnesses.” Even the lead homicide detective in the case confessed years later he wasn’t surprised at the verdicts: “Had I been on that jury, I might have had those same doubts.”
     The ebook is available on Amazon. Click HERE.
      More information at Published April 30, 2020.


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