NEW YORK -- A Queens jury heard a police tape recording of a Howard Beach woman frantically reporting an attack by a gang of whites on a black man, saying, "He's screaming, 'Please don't beat me no more.' "
Despite defense attorneys' efforts, state Supreme Court Justice Thomas Demakos ruled that the tape could be played in the trial of four whites charged in an attack where Michael Griffith was chased to his death in high-speed traffic.
The shaken voices of witness Theresa Fisher and her sister, Angela Romanillo, filled the courtroom as they urged a 911 emergency dispatcher to rush police to the aid of a black man later identified as Cedric Sandiford, Griffith's stepfather.
"There's about 12 guys out there . . . beating up on one black guy . . . with a crowbar," Fisher told the dispatcher who took her call on Dec. 20, 1986. "Have somebody come here really fast . . . . I mean, this kid is screaming out here."
Silent jurors intently read along with transcripts of the edited two-minute conversation, some sighing in exasperation on hearing repeated questions by the dispatcher that showed confusion over the location of the assault. The attack took place outside a pizzeria where three black men had gone for a midnight snack after their car broke down nearby.
Scott Kern and Jon Lester are charged with second-degree murder for allegedly chasing Griffith onto the Belt Parkway. Kern, Lester, Jason Ladone and Michael Pirone are charged with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault and first-degree riot. Ladone, Lester and Kern also are charged with attempted murder in the beating of Sandiford.