• U.S.

Nation: A Late Apology

2 minute read

Ohio pays Kent State victims

It took more than eight years and cost at least $1 million in public funds spent on three trials and multiple investigations, but the State of Ohio last week finally did what it should have done on May 4, 1970. A statement signed by Governor James Rhodes and 27 Ohio National Guardsmen expressed official “regret” that four students at Kent State University had been needlessly killed and nine others wounded by the Guardsmen on that day. With the statement and agreement by the state to pay the victims or their parents $675,000, a retrial of the civil suit brought by the families was halted in Cleveland and the suit was dismissed.

Sanford J. Rosen, San Francisco lawyer for the victims, termed the out-of-court settlement “a great victory.” On the other side, Sylvester Del Corso, adjutant general of the Guard in 1970, insisted: “There is no apology. We expressed sorrow and regret just as you would express condolences to the family of someone who died.” But why settle now? If the trial had continued, predicted Ohio Attorney General William J. Brown, “we could lose this case.” Said Arthur Krause, whose daughter Allison was killed: “I’m tired. I can’t sit in a courtroom and look at those Guardsmen any more. Their leaders ought to be ashamed that they can’t admit they are apologizing.”

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