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More than 70 supporters of Emeka Ezera '81, a Black student arrested two weeks ago in Boston for allegedly stealing a white woman's purse, gathered in Lowell House Junior Common Room to listen to speakers discuss the trial scheduled to begin this morning.
State Rep. Melvin R. King last night told the crowd "A lot of us have sat by and done nothing because ostensibly it's somebody else." Ezera's case "is a political issue. It has nothing to do with innocence. It has to do with a person of color," he added.
Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint, associate professor of Psychiatry at the Medical School, told the crowd that attendance at Harvard is no protection. "A Black life does not mean as much as a white life," he said, adding that Ezera's arrest resulted from the policeman's mental image of a Black male--a "mugger or a killer."
"When police want to solve a crime, any Black man will do, especially when the victim points at him; Black people had better understand that," Winston Kendall, Ezera's attorney, said last night.
Kendall added that if Ezera "were an ordinary brother, no matter how many witnesses, the brother would have a hard way to go," he said, adding that the fact that Ezera is a Harvard student "may save him."
Ezera told the group, "I felt sure that when I flashed my Harvard I.D. that would be it, but when they handcuffed me, I realized this was serious."
Eugene Matthews '80, a coordinator of Concerned Students for Emeka Ezera's Defense said yesterday despite the witnesses, students should still offer their support at the trial. "Nothing is open and shut, especially in the United States judicial system," he added.
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