Feb. 19, 2021

Murder and Lynching Wasn't Just A Southern Thang: Who Pays America?

On February 5, 1946, in Long Island, New York, Private First Class Charles Ferguson and his brother Alfonso were murdered by patrolman Joseph Romeika for protesting segregation at a local café. 276 Their brother, Seaman Third Class James Ferguson, was wounded. The three brothers had gathered to wish farewell to Charles, who was about to deploy to Europe.277 As they walked from the café to the bus stop, they ran into Romeika, who pulled his gun and ordered them to stand against the wall with their hands up. 278 The brothers complied, but Romeika kicked Charles in the groin and then shot him in the head. Romeika then “just fired again for no good reason,” killing Alfonso.279 An investigation revealed that none of the brothers was armed. A Nassau County jury refused to indict Romeika, and instead accepted his claim that the shooting was in self-defense.
Equal Justice Initiative