For Release: November 5, 1999
Contact: David Almasi at 202/543-4110 x106 or Project21@nationa[email protected]
Members of the African-American leadership network Project 21 question the Clinton Administration's sincerity in fighting crime that targets specific racial groups in light of revelations that the Clinton Justice Department allowed members of an organized crime operation - including one member who allegedly targeted blacks for murder - to operate freely while cooperating with a federal investigation.
John Martorano recently pled guilty to racketeering charges in Boston. Under the terms of his plea agreement with the government, he will only receive up to 15 years in prison. Although he has admitted to 20 murders, the testimony he is providing against his fellow mobsters will have him on the street in a relatively short amount of time.
Four of the people Martorano admitted to murdering are black. The black death toll, however, may be much higher. In 1998, Mike Barnicle, a columnist for the Boston Globe at the time, published a commentary about the gang's activities which quoted a retired police officer who claimed Martorano "practically used black people for target practice."
Congressional Republicans are calling for an investigation of Martorano's plea bargain. House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) wrote to Attorney General Janet Reno asking, "What signal does this administration send when it allows dangerous predators like Mr. Martorano to receive a token slap on the wrist for a lifetime of crime?"
Members of Project 21 wonder just how committed the Clinton Administration actually is promoting racial healing if it will allow individuals like Martorano to escape prosecution for the hateful acts of which he is accused. The deal, which has already brought shame to the Clinton Justice Department and FBI, makes many wonder if the President's public endorsements of "hate crimes" legislation and civil rights initiatives are motivated by moral conviction or simply done for political gain.
"Clinton's sermonizing about race and racial healing mean nothing
when, as a matter of public policy, his prosecutors give racial predators
like Martorano a free pass" said Project 21 member Horace Cooper.
"This guy ought to buried under the jail."
Project 21 has been a leading voice of the African-American community
since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110
x106 or [email protected],
or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.