Oh how these late apologies occur so often.
In 1939 in Groveland, Fl., four men, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd, Charles Greenlee and Ernest Thomas were wrongfully convicted of raping 17-year-old Norma Padgett in Groveland. Three of the men were imprisoned and another was shot and killed by a group of white men. They became known as the “Groveland Four”.
“This resolution, while seemingly minute, symbolizes the great state of Florida looking those families in the eyes — families, with children, who grew up not knowing their fathers but only knew their records,” said Rep. Bobby DuBose, D-Fort Lauderdale, a sponsor of the bill. “This resolution is us simply saying, ‘We’re sorry’ — understanding we will never know or make up for the pain we have caused.”
From the Miami Herald:
Sheriff Willis McCall arrested Thomas, World War II veterans Irvin and Shepherd, and Greenlee, a new father who had traveled to Lake County seeking work in a citrus grove. Within days, Thomas escaped from the county jail and fled only to be captured by a posse and killed in Madison County — after being shot multiple times.
The other three were beaten in jail to coerce confessions. The three survivors were convicted at trial by an all-white jury. Shepherd and Irvin were sentenced to death and Greenlee, only age 16, was convicted to life in prison.
Family members of the deceased were on-hand at the House chamber during the announcement. Carol Greenlee, daughter of Charles Greenlee, thanked lawmakers.