Florida's new governor Ron DeSantis posthumously forgiven four black men accused in a rape case in 1949, even after the wheelchair-bound accuser scolded him in court.
Republican DeSantis, who had sworn on Tuesday, presided at the Executive Council meeting on Friday at Tallahassee, which voted to excuse the so-called "Groveland Four".
The case has been documented in a book and is considered a scourge of Florida's history. One of the four men was killed before he could be charged and the other three were sentenced with subtle tests.
The families of the men accused of the assault told DeSantis and the cabinet of three members of the state ̵
Norma Padgett, who was 17 when she said she had been raped, sitting in a wheelchair at the Friday hearing and reiterated her testimony that the rape occurred, and the men were guilty
New Florida governor Ron DeSantis has pardoned the four blacks accused in t-he has racially denounced the case of rape of the 1949 at the clemency hearing on Friday
Groveland Four's family members were seen in 2017, when Florida House filed a resolution apologizing for the injustices that men have suffered
Norma Padgett, who was 17 when she said she was raped, sat in a wheelchair and told DeSantis and the Cabinet that rape actually happened.
Padgett, now 86, said she was dragged by a car, took a gun to her head and was told not to scream or blast their brains. "
At one point, the two sides clashed when a member of the family of the accused dramatically called the liar of Padgett.
Beverly Robinson, a grandson of one of the Groveland Four, was talking to the governor and the Cabinet when he addressed the woman and her children
"It never happened. You're all liars, "Robinson said.
" It's enough of you, "Padgett said
" I know it's enough for me. It is always enough when you tell the truth, "replied Robinson
The unanimous vote of grace arrived almost two years after the state House and Senate voted to formally apologize to the relatives of the Groveland Four and to ask the then Governor Rick Scott to forgive men Scott, now a US Senator, never took action, DeSantis replaced Scott on Tuesday and made pardon forgals.
& # 39; Y & # 39; all I do not know what kind of horror I've been through all these years & rsquo; said Padgett (above), his voice trembling as he reiterated his accusations on Friday
Norma Padgett and her husband Willie were seen after questioning in a newscover of 1949. The couple said they were present when Norma was attacked and raped by a band
The complete statement by Groveland Four to the commission of clemency
Norma Padgett, 86, gave the following statement to the Florida Board of Directors Clemenza and to Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday, 11 January 2019 in Tallahassee:
"My name is Norma Tyson Padgett Upshaw and I am the victim of that night.
And I'll tell you now that it's in my mind, it's been in my mind for about 70 years.
I was 17 years old and this never left me in mind …
I'll tell you this: if they held a gun to your head and told you that if you had screamed and I did not do what they said they will blow up the brains, so what would you do?
And if you had a daughter and a mother and a wife and a sister or a niece, would you forgive yourself? No, I do not think you would. Not really.
And every time it comes out, I just shudder from inside. And I lived for 60 years.
When my boys were small, I kept my mouth shut because … I was afraid something would happen to him. They could find out where they were and kill them or do something to them. Now my grandchildren are up, and they go to school, and I worry about them. And my great-grandchildren are coming.
You do not understand what kind of horror I've been through all these years.
(His voice trembles.)
I never told my children … they knew it but they never knew what kind of horror I had. And I love each of them.
And I do not want to forgive them, no, I do not. And not even you.
I know that she (Beverly Robinson, cousin of Samuel Shepherd) called me a liar.
But I'm not a liar.
If I had to go to court today I could tell you the same story that I told at that time and I could [take] have you on the path. Some of the places are not there, but I could [take] you and I could show you and I walked all night.
I do not know how many kilometers it is, but I have walked all night. And I knew I was closer to another city. But they went that way and I had seen the headlights and ran into the woods. I do not know how long I stayed there. I had no clock. I had nothing.
And right now, my nerves are so bad and I'm shuddering inside and I can not do anything about it.
I'm starting to not forgive because they did.
Your minds could be invented. I do not know.
If you do [pardon them] you'll be just like them …
And that's all I have to say, because I know I'm telling the truth.  I went to court twice …
I can tell you now – not the exact words – but I could tell you today almost quoting what I said then. And if any of you have any questions, ask me, I will answer them the best I know.
As I said … if something happens to my children, I hope that you ponders the mind of all [because] I have begged you not to do it and is liable to.
As I said, if there is any question you would like to ask me, I will try to answer if I can. "
Source: Orlando Sentinel
" I do not know that it is possible to examine this case and to think that these ideals of justice are satisfied. In fact, they have been perverted over and over again, and I think the way this was executed was a judicial abortion, "said DeSantis.
Padgett is witnessed in the original case
The trial began in Lake County in 1949, when Padgett, then seventeen, said he had been raped.
Her husband Willie also said to the police who was present when four black men attacked the couple in their car where he had stopped on a country road, and dragged her under arms to rape her.
Three of the men identified as the suspects were arrested and beaten harshly, a quarter, Ernest Thomas, escaped.
A team of about 1,000 men was trained to hunt down Thomas, who shot him 400 times when they found him sleeping under a tree.
White residents also formed a crowd and went into a black neighborhood, burning houses and firing guns into houses in a disorder that took days to quell.
Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin and Samuel Shepherd were condemned by an absolute white jury.
Lake Willis McCall County Sheriff 39, extreme left, and an unidentified man stand next to the left (right) the suspected rape Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd and Charles Greenlee in 1949
Samuel Shepherd is seen on the left while in the , Air Army Air Corps, circa 1948. He was shot dead by Sheriff Willis McCall (right) while handcuffed in an alleged attempt to escape in 1951
Other evidence that they could have cleared her – how a report of the doctor who was not sure if she had been raped – they were held back in their trial. Greenlee was condemned to life, and Irvin and Shepherd died.
Thurgood Marshall, later the first African American judge on the Supreme Court of the United States, collected the appeals of Irvin and Shepherd for the NAACP, and in 1951 the US Supreme Court ordered new evidence.
Shortly before the trials began, Lake Willis County Sheriff McCall fired at Irvin and Shepherd, claiming that the handcuffed men tried to flee while transferring them from prison to a jail.
Pastor is dead. Irvin was shot in the neck and survived despite an ambulance refusing to transport it because it was black. He was again convicted, even though a former FBI agent testified that prosecutors made evidence against him.
The charges were never brought against white police officers or prosecutors who dealt with the cases.
Irvin was released in 1968 and found dead in his car as he returned to Lake County for a funeral a year later.
Greenlee was released in 1960 and died in 2012.
Sheriff McCall (right) is on the scene after firing at Irvin and Shepherd during an alleged attempt to escape while transferring them from a prison to a pr to their re-trial
The two suspects were seen after being hit. Pastor is dead. Irvin was shot in the neck and survived despite an ambulance refusing to transport him because he was black
Greenlee's daughter, Carol Greenlee, told DeSantis and the Cabinet that there were overwhelming evidence that her father was innocent.
accused, jailed and tortured for something he did not do, "he said.
The woman who claimed to have been raped challenged family stories.
" You do not understand what kind of horror I've been through all these years, "he said." I do not want them to be forgiven, no, I will not do it and you would not do it either. I know (Robinson) has called me a liar, but I'm not a liar. "
Later, state senator Gary Farmer, who sponsored the 2017 resolution by apologizing to families, said the woman's comments were disappointing.
She is now at the end of her life and has had the opportunity to come clean, to ask for forgiveness for herself and to support the justice that these four families and these four men deserve, "said Farmer. "It's very sad that he missed this opportunity and continued to perpetuate this lie, this crime did not happen, the evidence is overwhelming."
Greenlee family members met with journalists after the vote. Carol Greenlee said that while the family is grateful for the pardon, she wants her father to be exonerated.
"I started with two goals in mind: one, because the world knows the truth, that is, my father is not a rapist, the second was to erase his name, so his sons, his nephews, grandchildren and nephews would not continue to walk with this stigma, with shame, "he said. "These two things have been accomplished, and the complete exoneration will fill the gap.This is our mission."
Despite the pain the family went through, Greenlee's brother, Wade, said that his parents were teaching always to their children to love and not to hate.
"If I had the opportunity this morning, I would have said (the accuser) that the Greenlee family forgave you a long time ago." We have no hatred against you because we have been taught different, "he said.