Boston mayor Michelle Wu apologizes to 2 black men wrongfully accused of 1989 murder
By Michelle De Pacina
December 21, 2023
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu formally apologized to two Black men who were wrongly arrested for the 1989 killing of Carol Stuart.
Wu’s apology: On Wednesday, Wu held a press briefing to apologize to Alan Swanson and Willie Bennett and their families on behalf of the Boston Police Department, the mayor’s office and the entire city of Boston.
“Those in power closed their eyes to the truth because the lie felt familiar. They saw the story they wanted to see,” Wu said at a news conference. “As a result, our Black residents suffered, as a result Alan Swanson suffered, Willie Bennett suffered, and their families continue to suffer… I am so sorry for what you endured. What was done to you was unfair, unjust, racist and wrong.”
Acceptance of apology: At the briefing, Wu presented the families of Swanson and Bennett with the official apology documents. On behalf of his uncle, Joey Bennett accepted Wu’s apology.
“The apology is accepted, and I hope we can move forward positively from this moment,” Joey said. “In accepting this apology, I wish to emphasize the importance of strength, resilience, empathy and growth. It’s through these principles that we change the narrative so the world can be informed of what transpired 34 years ago and begin the process of healing our trauma.”
About the 1989 case: In October 1989, Swanson and Bennett were named as the suspects in the Oct. 23, 1989, murder of Carol Stuart, who was pregnant at the time and died by a gunshot wound to the head. Carol died the following morning, and her baby, delivered by cesarean section, survived only 17 days.
It was later revealed that Carol’s husband, Charles Stuart, had orchestrated her murder. Charles’ brother, Matthew, eventually confessed to helping Charles hide the gun, noting that Charles killed his wife to collect her life insurance payout. Charles had blamed an unidentified Black gunman for the supposed carjacking and murder of Carol, leading to a police crackdown on Black men in Boston’s Black neighborhood and later to the arrests of Swanson and Bennett.
In January 1990, Charles committed suicide before he could be arrested. This case resurfaced through a Boston Globe investigation and an HBO documentary series.
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