Coercive interrogation by mob in civil rights case

AP/Houston Chronicle:

The FBI used mob muscle to solve the 1964 disappearance of three civil rights volunteers in Mississippi, a gangster's ex-girlfriend testified Monday, becoming the first witness to repeat in open court a story that has been underworld lore for years.

Linda Schiro said that her boyfriend, Mafia tough guy Gregory Scarpa Sr., was recruited by the FBI to help find the volunteers' bodies. She said Scarpa later told her he put a gun in a Ku Klux Klansman's mouth and forced him to reveal the whereabouts of the victims.

The FBI has never acknowledged that Scarpa, nicknamed "The Grim Reaper," was involved in the case. The bureau did not return a call for comment Monday.

Schiro took the stand as a witness for the prosecution at the trial of former FBI agent R. Lindley DeVecchio, who is charged in state court with four counts of murder in what authorities have called one of the worst law enforcement corruption cases in U.S. history.

Prosecutors say Scarpa plied DeVecchio with cash, jewelry, liquor and prostitutes in exchange for information on suspected rats and rivals in the late 1980s and early '90s. Scarpa died behind bars in 1994.

Schiro testified Monday that she and Scarpa traveled to Mississippi in 1964 after he was recruited by the FBI. She said Scarpa helped find the civil rights volunteers' bodies by "putting a gun in the guy's mouth and threatening him."

She said an unidentified agent later returned to the room and gave Scarpa a wad of cash, and took back the weapon.


Not as subtle as water boarding, but apparently effective. Somehow, I don't think the ACLU is going to complain about this coercive interrogation of the KKK. Obviously this torture did not lead to false information since they found the bodies. I wonder if Pat Leahy will want to investigate the Kennedy Johnson Justice Department's torture of witnesses.


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