A prisoner uprising and hostage situation at the maximum-security Attica Correctional Facility near Buffalo, New York ended in the murder of 42 people — 32 prisoners and 10 state employees — at the hands of law enforcement on September 13, 1971. Kunstler was initially contacted by the prisoners to monitor their negotiations with the state, and soon after became the lawyer for the inmates. (You can learn more about what happened at Attica in this additional video.)
Surveillance Report: Account of Speech at the New Cavalry Baptist Church in Norfolk, VA on December 11, 1971
"…I arrived in Attica on the night of the 10th and I was handed a document which I have brought with me…that was addressed to the people of America and in part the document said we are men. We are not beasts and do not intend to be treated as such…We have set forth demands that will bring closer to reality a penal institution to serve a useful purpose to the people of America…and then at the very bottom it says we urgently demand immediate negotiations through William M. Kunstler, Attorney at Law…"
Surveillance Report: Account of Speech at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh on October 8, 1971
"KUNSTLER compared the prisoners of Attica with the American colonists who fired on British troops at Lexington and Concord in the revolution. KUNSTLER said, 'They, too, felt they had reached the degree of repression where they had no choice to proceed...KUNSTLER further said ‘The Attica prisoners, though they have been murderers, thieves, rapists, child molesters, con men or addicts, were far more honorable than those who marched in there.’ KUNSTLER stated that the situation at Attica could have been controlled with State Police armed only with clubs."
NEXT: Wounded Knee »