Interview with Dewey Knight

Where were you when the McDuffie decisions came down?


I was at the Holiday Inn on Biscayne Boulevard where a group of Black leaders was meeting, had been meeting since early that morning to discuss the, the actions we needed to take irregardless of how the decision went. There was great speculation seen, having seen television reports of the trial that it, that there was a possibility these men were not going to be convicted and we were trying to strategize to see how we could help this community to, to work through that in case it was a negative, and even if it, if he, if they were convicted. Ah, right near the end of, ah, the meeting, well, really around 4 o'clock and we hadn't really formalized things, and I got a call from the then county manager who says that, ah, got bad news for you, that the McDuffie, ah, the policemen were acquitted. Well, right away when I tell the group that kind of, ah, broke up the strategy because everybody's scrambling then to determine what they were going to. I was told to come to the command post which was at the central police headquarters. And, ah, I, I was in my car, I went over to the, ah, to the shop to get a county car. They didn't have any unmarked cars so I took a marked car, like an idiot, then I asked which was the best route to get to the command post, ah, to avoid the confrontation with the crowds. They said 95th Street because there was shooting on 54th, 62nd, 79th. I was going down 95th Street and I was in front of some apartments close to 17th Avenue and all of a sudden the county car is being shot at, and I kind of hit the gas and sped up. Didn't hit the car but it was really a frightening situation. I get to the command post and everybody is at least telling me you got to be crazy for driving a marked county car through any of the areas. We, um, went, ah, to the command post. At this time the N- the NAACP and, ah, several other organizations had called for a rally on the Metro Justice building steps. And the radio, the local Black radio stations were really playing it up for everybody to go to the rally. But that rally-- ROLLOUT 1065]