May 4 activists call for Justice Department investigation

Sierra Guterba

Witnesses to the May 4 shootings are hoping for cooperation with the U.S. Justice Department to launch an investigation into new information in the shootings.

Five of them spoke at a seminar Wednesday afternoon, which was sponsored by the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association. They put on the program to examine May 4’s lingering legal issues.

A U.S. House subcommittee, headed by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Cleveland, missed the deadline to have a hearing before the new House takes control in January.

Carter Strang, co-chair of the Bar Association, said he doesn’t see a Kent State shooting investigation happening now with the House soon shifting to the Republican side.

“That leaves the Justice Department possibility,” said Strang, who was a student on May 4. “The focus there, I think, would have to be on the statements that are contained apparently in the tape, about a possible order to fire.”

Carole Barbato and Laura Davis, Kent State professors, along with May 4 survivor Alan Canfora and his sister Chic Canfora were among other panel speakers.

“I would hope that before the 50th commemoration that we are able to really understand some of the unanswered questions about the Kent State shooting,” said Barbato, who teaches a May 4 class with Davis.

Alan Canfora is hoping the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department will agree to have a new investigation and that “they will send a subpoena to Terry Strubbe and get the original tape and analyze it and verify what the Cleveland Plain Dealer has proven to be true.”

The Yale library made a CD copy of Terry Strubbe’s tape in 2005 for Alan Canfora, and he revealed the information at a press conference in 2007.

The Plain Dealer had that audio analyzed by an expert, which showed four shots were fired from a pistol before the Ohio National Guard fired on students.

Strang also added that he doesn’t think the alleged shots being fired by Kent State student and FBI informant Terry Norman from a .38 caliber pistol is a strong enough relationship for the Justice Department to re-open the case.

He said if the department does re-open the case, it would probably be based on the alleged command to fire, but he doesn’t think that will be a top priority for the Obama administration, either.

Alan Canfora is hoping for a new investigation so the truth will come out and the mothers of the slain students will know why their children were shot.

“We just want the truth,” he said. “We don’t want these guardsmen to go to jail, we just want the truth.”

You can contact Sierra Guterba at [email protected].