- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Grove Press; 1st Grove Press ed edition (1985)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 039455020X
- ISBN-13: 978-0394550206
- Package Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,591,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The turkey shoot: Tracking the Attica cover-up Hardcover – 1985
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From Publishers Weekly
When the time came for law officers to retake Attica Prison on Sept. 13, 1971, the head of the New York state police troop charged with that task told his men he did not want a "turkey shoot." That, however, is precisely what he got, asserts this powerful expose by a former chief assistant to the special Attica prosecutor. Police use of excessive force, charges Bell, set in motion a conspiracy on the part of the state to cover up for the lawmen involved. Loyal to his superior, Bell was reluctant to believe in official wrongdoing, but when he saw his efforts to prosecute the police undermined, he felt he had to resign. He suggests that the cover-up originated in the office of Attorney General Louis Lefkowitz who was eager to protect the reputation of Governor Nelson Rockefeller, named U.S. Vice-President just as the grand jury investigation of the case was climaxing. A major contribution to the Attica story.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
A New York State special prosecutor's investigation into the 1971 Attica prison riot and killings (39 shot to death, including 10 hostages) failed to indict any police officers or prison guards, despite strong evidence that they acted with homicidal intent. Indeed, according to Bell, a lawyer who served as a member of the prosecutor's team during 1973-74 but resigned in protest, the investigation deliberately suppressed the truth about Attica so as not to jeopardize the presidential ambitions of the late Nelson Rockefeller, the man who had ordered the assault on the prison. Tom Wicker, author of A Time To Die ( LJ 4/1/75), thus far the best book on the subject, calls Bell "an American hero" for blowing the whistle on the Attica whitewash. For larger social science collections. Kenneth F. Kister, Pinellas Park P.L., Fla.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
At the beginning of the book, he states his philosophy to his superior, and I quote: "For one thing,if a cop and an inmate both committed a crime, I'd rather prosecute the cop". So much for his objectivity. He thinks that any officer who fired a shotgun was guilty of reckless endangerment! This in the midst of a riot. He thinks spears are not deadly, and he does not believe the inmates had molotov cocktails. Why? When other investigators disagreed with him, he called it a "honest cover up", whatever that is. He claims that inmates were beaten after the riot wes quelled. However, he ignores the report of the Goldman Panel on the Constitutional Rights of Prisoners, which investigated the matter, and which stated that there was no evidence of physical abuse. When his supervisor switched the investigation from the shooters to those hindering prosecution in order to lessen perjury from subsequent witnesses, the author sees conspiracy. When he disagreed with his superior on granting immunity and the questions to be posed to Grand Jurors, Bell shouted "cover-up" and resigned, making his protest known. He accuses everyone - the Governor, the Attorney-General, his superiors as being part of the cover up. When he sent the information to the new Governor, Hugh Carey, a new Commision, the Meyer Commission was set up to investigate charges. Their report concluded that there was no cover-up. Poor Malcolm Bell finally decides to write this book and become a Democrat and Quaker. What a loser!
For a better view of what went on Read "ATTICA - MY STORY" by Commissioner Oswald, which I have reviewed also.
Employing as he does this out-of-context remark as a point of departure, one of the previous reviewers launches into a diatribe which casts Attorney Bell as an out-of-control troublemaker, someone whose main contribution to the whole sad case was basically to spray accusations in all directions.
A more objective consideration of this book (together with the one written by Tom Wicker) tends toward a rather different evaluation of Bell's role in the Attica investigation; that of an attorney encumbered by strong ethical ideals, who came to see the political machinations which riddled this case as something in which he could no longer allow himself to participate.
The role of the whistle-blower has undergone considerable evolution in recent years, increasingly being recognized as often the best, indeed sometimes the only, way to get at the truth of the rampant corruption which all too frequently takes place in both government and corporate halls of power. In this sense, one could conclude that Mr. Wicker's designation of Attorney Bell as "an American Hero" is not an exaggeration.