Justice done after 70 years: Wrongly accused Groveland Four pardoned

Florida: After 70 years, Florida pardoned four black men who were wrongly accused of raping a white teenager in 1949.

According to the report published in BBC News, in a meeting which was held in Tallahassee, Capital of Florida, officials voted unanimously to pardon the accused persons.

It may be mentioned that none of the accused persons are alive. They were represented by their family members. The names of the accused persons are Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd and Ernest Thomas. They are also known as the Groveland Four.

It may be noted that Ernest Thomas Thomas was murdered before he was charged while other three were assaulted in custody. Later, they were convicted by all white-juries.

The case is nothing but an example of racial injustice. It was documented in a book by name “Devil in the Grove”, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2013.

On Friday, during the hearing, the alleged victim, who was 17 year old when she had alleged that she was raped, claimed that she had told the truth. She also opposed the pardons. However, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the cabinet not only granted pardons but also praised the campaigners’ work.

In 2017, the State House and Senate of Florida had issued an apology to the families of the wrongly accused persons and asked the then governor, Mr. Rick Scott to pardon ‘Groveland Four’. However, Mr. Scott did not take any action.

Mr. DeSantis who replaced Mr. Scott on Tuesday took the decision on a priority basis.