Most of us do not know that a civil jury found that the U.S. government conspired to assassinate Dr. King and even found out who fired the shot and why federal police were on the scene around the time of the shooting.
The trail was on December 8, 1999 in Memphis, with a jury composed of six whites and six Blacks. The extensive evidence presented during The trial convinced the jury that Dr. King had been the victim of an assassination by a conspiracy involving the Memphis Police Department, as well as local, state and federal agencies and the Mafia.
The jury heard that Loyd Jowers, the owner of a grill across the street from the Lorraine Motel, received a gun from the shooter while it was “still smoking.” He hid it under his bar until the next morning when a policeman picked it up. They heard testimony from the Black policeman and fireman that were pulled off the detail the day of the shooting.
In my book, The Life, Love and Legacy of Coretta King, she said, “On April 4, 1968, I felt my heart was ripped apart. This was the trail of the century, but the trial of O.J. Simpson was covered by thousands, only a very few carried this trial. If such a crime and cover-up could happen to a man of my husbands’ stature with no consequences, it could happen again. And I want everyone to be aware of what we know”. You can read the report for yourself on line and also read the report of the U.S. Justice Department, who of course, denounced it.
King’s widow, Coretta Scott-King, expressed her gratitude to the jury and called on media to get the truth to the public:
There is abundant evidence of a major high level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. And the civil court’s unanimous verdict has validated our belief. I wholeheartedly applaud the verdict of the jury and I feel that justice has been well served in their deliberations. This verdict is not only a great victory for my family, but also a great victory for America. It is a great victory for truth itself. It is important to know that this was a SWIFT verdict, delivered after about an hour of jury deliberation. The jury was clearly convinced by the extensive evidence that was presented during the trial that, in addition to Mr. Jowers, the conspiracy of the Mafia, local, state and federal government agencies, were deeply involved in the assassination of my husband. The jury also affirmed overwhelming evidence that identified someone else, not James Earl Ray, as the shooter, and that Mr. Ray was set up to take the blame. I want to make it clear that my family has no interest in retribution. Instead, our sole concern has been that the full truth of the assassination has been revealed and adjudicated in a court of law. As we pursued this case, some wondered why we would spend the time and energy addressing such a painful part of the past. For both our family and the nation, the short answer is that we had to get involved because the system did not work. Those who are responsible for the assassination were not held to account for their involvement. This verdict, therefore, is a great victory for justice and truth. It has been a difficult and painful experience to revisit this tragedy, but we felt we had an obligation to do everything in our power to seek the truth. Not only for the peace of mind of our family but to also bring closure and healing to the nation. We have done what we can to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials, and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the widest possible audience.