On Oct. 12, 1995, Johnny Gammage, cousin of former Pittsburgh Steeler Ray Seals, was stopped by a Brentwood, Pa., police officer. Seven minutes later, Gammage was dead. This original docudrama goes beyond issues of Black and White to expose the failures of public policy that still trouble the city of Pittsburgh.
October 12, 1995: Jonny Gammage, 31, a black businessman and cousin of then-Steelers lineman Ray Seals, is apprehended by five white police officers at a traffic stop. During a seven-minute fight with the above officers, Gammage dies. An autopsy determines that he suffocated after pressure was applied to his neck and chest.
November 3, 1995: After a three-day open inquest, a coroner’s jury recommends that homicide charges be filed against Brentwood Lt. Milton Mulholland, Baldwin Borough Patrolman Michael G. Albert, Brentwood Patrolman John Vojtas and Sgt. Keith Henderson and Patrolman Shawn Patterson, both of the Whitehall force. Coroner’s jury comprised of two black women, a black man, two white men and a white woman.
November 27, 1995: District Attorney Bob Colville announces he will file charges against only Mulholland, Albert and Vojtas. No charges are filed against Henderson or Patterson. Vojtas to be tried separately from Mulholland and Albert.
November 13, 1996: An all-white jury finds Vojtas not guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
July 22, 1998: After two mistrials, Judge Joseph F. McCloskey dismissed the charges against Mulholland and Albert.
February 19, 1999: U.S. Justice Department said it would not file civil rights charges in the death of Gammage because it couldn’t prove that the five suburban officers had used unreasonable force to subdue him.
March 22, 1999: In Syracuse, a group of clergy and community leaders held a march protesting the way the case was handled in Pennsylvania and calling for the US Justice Department to reopen the investigation.