Exclusive: Riots that followed a Queens police shooting, 40 years later

SOUTH JAMAICA (WABC) -- In an Eyewitness News exclusive, we take a closer look into a case that sparked riots in Queens.

10-year old Clifford Glover was shot and killed by a white police officer while walking with his father.

That officer was eventually acquitted. 43 years later, how much has changed, and how has the community healed?

I returned to the area with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who grew up there.

"There was just so much anger. It was unbelievable for the children to see what had happened," said Adams.

He so vividly remembers the bloody riots in a racially charged case that took over the streets of South Jamaica in April of 1973 after undercover NYPD officer Thomas Shea had shot and killed the young boy after he and his stepfather were stopped.

"And he ran off and shot him," said Adams. ("He shot him in the back?") "He shot him in the back, it was.. ("A 10-year old boy") "Unbelievable," he said.

Thomas Shea was charged and tried for murder. But after he was found not guilty, the neighborhood exploded as Eric and other children were playing baseball.

"200 people that took over the field, and took our bats and just started assaulting the white children. Those of us in uniform tried to pull the children off the field," he said.

Eric and I walked the same streets where he grew up to see that anger, and does not want to see it now after the grand jury has voted not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner.

"We don't want to return to the days of Clifford Glover and see communities burn. We just started rebuilding our city. We can't go back to seeing our city go back into ashes," said Adams.

As a 25-year veteran of the police force and a founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement, he knows many aspects of the current struggle for change.

"We need police but we need proper police practices and that is what the question becomes, are we going turn this pain into purpose?", said Adams.


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