Activists call on Gov to pardon John White

Nayaba Arinde | 4/12/2011, 5:23 p.m.

An appeals court has upheld the manslaughter conviction of John White.

White, a 56-year-old working, family man has always said that he was defending himself from a marauding mob of white teens who threatened to murder his teenaged son and rape his wife, in August 2006. In an ensuing physical altercation, when an intoxicated 16-year-old Daniel Cicciaro Jr. approached him from behind, White's gun went off, killing the assailant.

Facing a maximum of 15 years, White was convicted of second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to two to four years in prison. Last week, a state appeals court upheld his manslaughter conviction of the Black Miller Place homeowner.

"Gov. David Paterson should pardon John White," declared retired detective Graham Weatherspoon. "He was confronted by nightriders and he defended himself and his family."

An online petition states: "The following persons and organizations hereby respectfully request that Gov. David Paterson exercise his executive authority under the New York State Constitution and the New York Executive Law to unconditionally and fully pardon John White, a person of African ancestry, for convictions of manslaughter in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree on December 22, 2007 in Suffolk County Court for the death of Daniel Cicciaro, a member of a white mob who trespassed on White's residence threatening to rape his wife and to kill him and his family."

Following an AmNews request for a response, Paterson declined to comment.

"He ought to do something for this decent, upright family man.," said Weatherspoon of the governor. "This is a case where young white hooligans wanted to terrorize a Black family based on the false report that a young man did something that he did not do. Aaron White did absolutely nothing; but this white boy made up a story that he wanted to rape a white girl and an intoxicated Daniel Cicciaro took it upon himself to confront an adult. All those white boys were underage dinking at a party; and went drunk to Mr. White's house and threatened to kill his son and that 'skinny nigger' referring to Mr. John White, and to rape his wife."

Weatherspoon, also a co-founder of the Black in Law Enforcement Alliance continued, "Those white boys drove like nightriders, while John white slept - he had to be up at 4am to go to work. When they got to his home, Mr. White saw that KKK stuff back in the south. There they were; trespassing with intent to commit a crime; and as John walks back up the drive, after he tells them to 'Get off my property,' this Edward G. Robinson little guy Cicciaro runs up on him and attempts to take the gun; that's attempted robbery in the second degree. The gun goes off in the midst of the struggle. He's supposed to allow this boy to get his gun after them saying that they were going to rape his wife and kill his son? There had been no intent in his mind to shoot anyone."