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The Klan's place in the Rubric of North Carolina

By the next day, the District Attorney announced that he would try to prove that twelve of the fourteen originally charged were equally guilty of the crime  regardless of who fired the shots. The other two of the original fourteen were being charges with conspiracy to commit murder. According to District Attorney Schlosser, "If other people are present and assisting the actual perpetrator, then they are held accountable for the crime of the actual perpetrator."10 Other officials said that this was being done because it was almost impossible to prove who actually fired the fatal shots. Even though North Carolina television stations had camera crews at the crime scene, and videotapes had been confiscated by Schloesser's office, it was not clear which Klansman actually pulled the trigger. Schlosser continued by admitting that agents of the FBI had been called in on the case, and it was likely to become a federal investigation.11

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was indeed called into the case, and gave the codename of Greenkil to one of the most extensive civil rights investigations ever attempted. Newstapes seized by law enforcement officials showed that a Greensboro police detective followed the Klansmen to the rally, he was powerless to stop the crime. With all that evidence, it seemed likely that North Carolina's courts would be able to enter an immediate, guilty verdict for Klan members.

This was not to be, however, and a little more than a year after the event an allwhite jury announced a notguilty by reason of selfdefense verdict, thus acquitting all Klansmen indicted. Members of the Communist Workers Party had made accusations of political killings and coverups from the start, but now they were even more incensed. Immediately after the verdict, the federal files on Greenkil were reopened and in 1983, "based on additional evidence . . . a federal grand jury indicted nine of the Klan and Nazis for conspiracy to v...

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