Miami Demonstrations

Published: 1977
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI

Nick Charles: The battle between singer Anita Bryant and Miami's homosexual community had been building for months, the focal point: a Dade County ordinance forbidding discrimination against homosexuals in jobs, housing and public accommodation. That issue was decided by local voters, who turned out in large numbers and voted overwhelmingly to uphold Anita Bryant and repeal the controversial ordinance …

Anita Bryant: "The people of Dade County, the normal majority, has said, 'Enough, enough, enough.'"

Nick Charles: For Anita Bryant, the Miami-area vote had far reaching significance …

Anita Bryant: "All America and all the world will hear what the people have said, and with God's continued help we will prevail in our fight to repeal similar laws throughout the nation."

Nick Charles: Homosexual demonstrations broke out in several major cities following that Miami vote.

This is Nick Charles for Recap '77.

Tom Foty: For more than a year, the New York City area had been terrorized by a killer who came to call himself the Son of Sam. During that time, he killed six people, wounded seven others.

By early August, New Yorkers were witnessing the biggest manhunt in the history of the City. That manhunt ended on a Wednesday night with this announcement from Mayor Abe Beam …

Mayor Abe Beam: "The people of the City of New York can rest easy because of the fact that the police have captured a man whom they believe to be the Son of Sam."

Tom Foty: The man was David Berkowitz, a 24-year-old postal worker caught near his Yonkers, New York home. Chief of Detectives John Keenan …

Chief John Keenan: "He was apprehended. He was advised of his rights. He made a statement, 'Well, you got me.'"

Tom Foty: Sergeant William Gardella was one of the arresting officers …

Sergeant William Gardella: "We did not see him go for any gun and he was, I would say, quite passive."

Tom Foty: The crucial clue that led police to the alleged .44-caliber killer turned out to be a parking ticket issued on the night of the last Son of Sam killing.

This is Tom Foty for Recap '77.

Michael O'Neill: It was one of the longest Federal trials in history, and when it was over the Governor of Maryland stood convicted, along with five others, of fraud and racketeering. But the case essentially was one of alleged political corruption, and Governor Marvin Mandel continued to protest his innocence …

Governor Marvin Mandel: "I want to say to the public of this state that I have never during the tenure of my office ever defrauded the people of the public and of the State of Maryland of anything."

Michael O'Neill: Mandel insisted the guilty verdict was not the end of his legal fight …

Governor Marvin Mandel: "I'm disappointed, of course; but it's here, and I can assure you that we shall continue to carry on the … the fight in -- in this particular case until its conclusion in the higher courts."

Michael O'Neill: But barring a successful appeal to one of those higher courts, Marvin Mandel faces the prospect of four years in prison following sentencing in October.

This is Michael O'Neill for Recap '77.

Roberta Fasinoli: For the crowds inside the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate, Kentucky near Cincinnati, it was just going to be another Saturday night, May 29th. They were there to have a good time; but then came the cry of fire.

Mrs. Rose Doctor was one of those inside …

Rose Doctor: "The fire, the black smoke, was so intense that we just couldn't see, the smoke was covering our faces. And as we walked out of this hallway, they were beginning to push and shove."

Roberta Fasinoli: Firemen fought the blaze throughout the night. By the time it was under control, there was little more than rubble left. One hundred sixty-four people died as a result of burns or smoke inhalation.

Kentucky Governor Julian Carroll expressed the feelings of the people of the State …

Governor Julian Carroll: "No period of time will ever remove the heartbreak that has been brought to the families that lost loved ones in the fire."

Roberta Fasinoli: The investigation into the cause of the fire went on for months, with faulty electrical wiring eventually blamed as the main factor.

This is Roberta Fasinoli for Recap '77.