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Officials to Contemplate Exoneration for 'Groveland Four'

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Posted at 1:35 PM, Feb 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-16 13:35:00-05

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The arrests and killings of four African-American men accused of raping a white woman in Groveland, Florida, in 1949 is considered one of the great miscarriages of justice in the years prior to the civil rights movement.

On Tuesday, Groveland city officials in central Florida will consider a proclamation encouraging the exoneration of the four men known as the "Groveland Four."

The proclamation requests that Gov. Rick Scott and his Cabinet pardon Samuel Shepherd, Walter Irvin, Charles Greenlee and Ernest Thomas, though all have since died.

Thomas was killed by a sheriff's posse. Greenlee was given a life sentence. Shepherd and Irving were sentenced to death.

A new trial was ordered for Shepherd and Irvin, who had legal help from Thurgood Marshall.

They were later shot — Shepherd fatally — by Lake County's sheriff.