Long Island Shooting Case Highlights Racial Divide

Late in 2007, John White of Miller Place, N.Y., was convicted of manslaughter.

White is African-American. Miller Place is a largely white community on Long Island, 60 miles from New York City. White commutes daily to the city for work.

The story of how he shot Daniel "Dano" Cicciaro Jr., a white teenager, in front of the Whites' spacious suburban house was all over the news in December — how White claimed it was accidental and how Cicciaro's friends and family thought it was murder.

Calvin Trillin, the author of an article in The New Yorker about the case, says the story illustrates how profoundly segregated a community such as Miller Place really is.

Miller Place is 0.4 percent black, and a recent study concluded that Long Island is "the single most segregated suburban community in the United States," Trillin says.

"People saw what had happened completely differently according to what race they were. Some white people, including Dano's parents, were outraged that John White wasn't indicted for murder. And some supporters of White thought that if the races had been reversed — if it had been a white homeowner and four hostile teenagers yelling at him — there wouldn't have been any charge at all," he says.

Trillin discusses the events that led a group of white teenagers, including Cicciaro, to drive to the Whites' house late on an August evening in 2006 and threaten White and his youngest son, Aaron, the shooting and its aftermath.

White is appealing the guilty verdict and is awaiting sentencing, which is scheduled for March 19.

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