NEW YORK -- One of two former Black Panthers on trial for the attack on two policemen during an April 1981 shootout in Queens was identified in court by the surviving officer.
Richard Rainey, a former police officer who still has a bullet in his right leg and is retired from the department on a disability pension, was expected to take the stand again today in the trial of James Dixon York, 42, and Anthony LaBorde, 33, both former Panthers and alleged members of the Black Liberation Army.
The two are charged with murder, attempted murder of a police officer and assault in the April 16, 1981 attack. Rainey's partner, John Scarangella, was killed.
Rainey said Tuesday he saw his assailant twice. The first time he saw the gunman, he testified, was when he and his partner pulled over a white van on a Queens street.
Rainey pointed at James Dixon York, seated at the defense table, when asked to identify his assailant in state Supreme Court in Queens.
Rainey told the court the driver and passenger of the van, two black men, got out and walked toward the police car. They stopped in front of the car's headlights, raised automatic pistols and began firing, he said.
Rainey said he saw his assailant the second time when the fusillade that shattered the car's windshield ended.
During cross-examination in the afternoon, defense attorney William Kunstler tried to shake Rainey's testimony by noting discrepancies between his testimony in the morning and testimony made at preliminary hearings.
Kunstler claims both York and LaBorde are being 'picked on because they were Black Panthers.'
LaBorde also has been indicted as a member of the radical gang that killed two police officers and a Brink's guard last October during a bungled $1.6 million armored car heist.