The Harbinger Home Page

VOL. XVI, NO. 14
5/12/98 - 5/25/98

Life Forms
Letters to the Editor
Community Calendar
[Un]Bounded by the Word
Universal Health Care
Events, Etc.
Promo Pipeline
Brenda Lee
Modern Composer
Comic Books
Mobile Then & Now
Book Collecting
Dr. Jomus
Can't We Get Along?

John Boone stands on the very spot where a bizarre incident began, eventually involving both USA campus police and officers of a Mobile SWAT team.
Photo by L. D. Fletcher

Mobile Man Sues USA and City Police for Violating His Civil Rights

by Edmund Tsang

John Anthony Boone filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in Mobile on April 25, 1998 against four police officers of the University of South Alabama (USA), seven police officers of the City of Mobile including the Police Chief, and the City of Mobile for violating his civil rights stemming from a bizarre incident that occurred on April 26, 1996. After three trials, of which two were declared mistrials because the jurors were unable to reach a verdict, Boone was found guilty of menacing the USA police officers during the April 1996 incident, but found innocent of the charges filed against him by the USA police of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Another charge, that of giving a false name, was dismissed.

Regarding his determined but seemingly quixotic effort, Boone says he is "not seeking publicity," but "seeking a forum whereby I might obtain redress of the wrongs that were done to me," and "to hold the responsible officers and agencies accountable for their actions and omissions toward me on the evening of April 26, 1996, and the following morning." [_Full_Story_]

Squaring Off

by David Underhill

Mardi Gras...a couple weeks of sanctified weirdness in the streets...cranking up and up to the Fat Tuesday culmination...the one day (as distinct from the other 364) of officially acknowledged misrule in Mobile.

But this year's blow out featured a blow out of somebody's brains -- by an off-duty policeman in civilian clothes. He too was partying. That included drinking. Driving through the crowded downtown, he tangled verbally with some pedestrians. Maybe he flashed his badge and shouted Police! as he emerged from the car. He surely pulled out a gun. And fired it. Suddenly a young man lay dead on the day of misrule.

The police chief fired the shooter. But a grand jury decided he should not be tried for any crime. As in the O J Simpson case, the dead man's family has begun a long trek through the courts seeking monetary compensation for his death.

Two days before this highly publicized shooting, members of the Mobile police department were involved in a non-lethal fracas that has attracted little, if any, public attention. Perhaps it was a stray incident that reveals nothing except an unraveling of frayed nerves, officers and Mardi Gras celebrants alike. Or perhaps it is a symptom of something amiss inside the department that also accounts for the Fat Tuesday shooting.

Whatever the explanation, several of the young citizens swept into the affair wanted their story told. Some agreed to the use of their names; others did not. A few said they feared retaliation by the police if their identities were divulged. But all of them gave generally similar accounts, while differing on certain details. [_Full_Story_]

Superfund Relocation Racism

A White Community in Pennsylvania
An African-American Community in Florida

by Frances Dunham

Residents being relocated from neighborhoods around the Escambia Treating Company Superfund site in Pensacola, Florida, reacted with shock and outrage to news that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) custom-built lavish replacement homes for residents of another Superfund relocation community in Pennsylvania. A March 30, 1998, report by the EPA Inspector General reveals that "At the Austin Avenue Radiation Site, [EPA] Region 3 spent an average of $651,700 each to custom-build 10 new houses. The appraised value of the old houses averaged only $147,000 each." The report states that EPA spent $911,411 on a customized replica to replace one home appraised at a market value of $200,000. [_Full_Story_]

The Harbinger, Mobile, AL