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Crown Heights Trials: 1992 & 1997 - The Second Trial Begins

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994Crown Heights Trials: 1992 1997 - A Bloody Knife And A Riot, "why Did You Stab Me?", Civil Rights Charges Brought

The Second Trial Begins

Court documentation for the second trial included transcripts of a tape secretly made in 1995 by an undercover informant who got Price to talk about the rioting. Price was quoted describing his reaction when he saw the mortally injured African-American child: "I saw that blood mix with that oil and it was like a bolt of lightning hit me, bam, and I started runnin' my mouth."

Prosecutor Valerie Caproni described for the jury of three African Americans, two Jews, three Hispanics, and four whites the "raw anger" of the attack on the victim. Witness Chaya Popack, who had not been' called to testify during the 1992 trial but who had watched the attack from her car said, "I saw them strike him again and again and again." Officer Hoppe repeated his earlier testimony about catching Nelson and finding the bloody knife, adding that he saw a "bald black man"—Price was bald—shouting at the crowd, "Do you feel what I feel? Let's get a Jew." Police Sergeant Richard Sanossian testified that Price's voice "was the loudest and most angry voice there, and that is the voice I was watching."

Convincing testimony came from Nelson's Atlanta girlfriend, Travionne Shaw, 20. She said Nelson had told her, "The black people in Crown Heights rioted. And some friends and him [Nelson] had been drinking, and they saw this man and were fighting him. And the police were coming, and the guy was holding his shirt, and the guy wouldn't let him go, and he—he stabbed him."

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