Corporation, the East New York Urban Corporation, and the United Community Center, as well as an evaluation team from New York University.
Diverse efforts were undertaken as part of the United for Safety Project. One that we learned about in detail was a community education project, under the leadership of the Health Department. In the first phase of the project, the agency’s public education coordinator conducted focus groups to understand attitudes toward violence and to develop effective educational materials. The focus groups made it clear that children, teens, and adults were responsive to different messages. While the younger children responded to messages like “Guns will shatter your dreams,” accompanied by the image of a cap and gown under broken glass, the teens made it clear they needed something more extreme. The poster they decided to go with carried the message “Buy One, Get One Free” illustrated with the image of a young boy with a gun and a coffin. The poster targeting adults was “Parents Teach Children to Fight.” The visual aid included photographs of families wearing picket signs with slogans such as “People Fighting for a Safer Community” and a subheading, “Fight Violence, Not Your Neighbor.” Once the team had developed the posters, they placed them strategically throughout the community (see Figure 7-2).
Jason Bentley was initially charged with murder in the second degree, a charge that carried a minimum sentence of 5 years to life and a maximum sentence of 9 years to life. Bentley’s case came before Judge Michael Juviler because of a question about the admissibility of a statement Bentley had made to the police. Because the police had denied Bentley access to a lawyer, Judge Juviler found the statement tainted and suppressed it. Without that evidence, which was an important part of the case, the district attorney and the defense attorney agreed with Judge Juviler to lower the charge to manslaughter in the first degree. Judge Juviler pointed out that, according to witnesses and the shooter’s statement, there was a conceivable, but weak, self-defense justification. Apparently, this was not pursued by the defense team. Bentley pleaded guilty to the lesser charge and was convicted on June 22, 1992. On August 3, 1992, he was sentenced by Judge Juviler to 3 to 9 years in prison. He spent the first part of his sentence in a youth facility and then was transferred to an adult facility, where he finished out his term of imprisonment.
Khalil Sumpter’s case was controversial from the outset. The first newspaper accounts reported that he was “a 15-year-old boy bearing a