News Tips

Today marks the beginning of WBTA News' series, "Attica at 40: In Our Own Words," featuring interviews with former WBTA personalities who lived and worked through America's worst prison riot.

Today's interview is with Rich Funke, who had interned and worked nights for WBTA in the late 1960's. In 1971, Rich was living in Batavia, working as a news producer and evening anchor for WHAM-1180 in Rochester. On September 9th, he got the call - something big was happening in Attica.

CLICK HERE to listen to our full interview with Rich Funke.

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# maryann valone
Thursday, September 08, 2011 12:46 AM
I am happy to see the media portray a more honest picture of the "Slaughter of "71". I was 15 years old when my father was killed in the retaking of the prison and filled my life with all the lies people involved told and the cover-up of the actual massacre in attica. I am amazed when last week someone asked if all the guards were castrated. My poor father would roll in his grave if he knew that people thought that happened to him. Gosh, wasn,t it bad enough what happenend. -my family worried for years about what really happened -so i got in deep to research in places and people who i felt would and could tell me the truth. Then i was told to shut up- I couldn't accuse the authorities or the govnt or the nys troopers or rockafellor or everyone would hate me. This community didn't want to know-they were made up of the nys troopers and their families. Troopers who came by the funeral homes at midnight and tried to get the undertakers to lie, that bulldozed" d yard," a crime scene, immediately, that lost all the evidence against themselves as they were allowed to investigate themselves and their actions --what, how, who--have you ever heard of such a thing-yes- corruption- non- transparency-- there will never be justice for attica because no one was ever held accountable for their actions at attica - that day in d yard or for that matter in the offices where rocky and his think tank and meetings of nys trooper officials and te doc made their" bright "plans to retake the prison-whose idea was it to use "dum dum" bullets outlawed in the geneva covention as being inhumane-I want his name- this was allowed and the troops followed orders.I grew up knowing all this and being resented by many because I always said it-- people just hated me and worried-because way down deep they knew what i was saying was the truth. Shortly after i found out enough info with credible sources and it started getting around and someone called my home and threatened me so my mother changed our phone number and i moved to texas where even there i could not get away from attica in was on the news waves for years but it was inside me and i couldn,t cure it . I couldn' fix it and i couldn't live with it. In 1994 my beloved brother died and I am telling you attica and the betrayal of my father and my family had a lot to do with it- I guess me and my brother are collateral damages----when i returned in 1997 I was determined to finally take attica on and stated contacting people in the doc and then the inmates legal community. This resulted in some knowledge of actual events and several broadcasts, articles and news clips were aired. The interest at the time was inmate reparation, so people were somewhat focused on the tragedy again. After the inmates got a settlement the forgotten victims of attica was formed and was interested in getting justice- wish the were around - speaking up in 1971 or in the day--maybe it wouldn,t have taken so long and been so hard to get the truth about what happened at attica out to the people because it is a story of politics and govnt officials run amuck and prejudice and the fact that the hostages were expendable under the circumstances, after all rockafellor was being disrespected and the nys troopers wanted to show "white Power"---well they sure did ,didn't they , or they would have used rubber bullets, not dum dum bullets. The forgoten victims of attica years were hell for me. I could not take it or most of them as i was considered a radical to them on this subject and to this day they don't know what to do -love or hate the nys troopers and administrative people who made the decisions concerning the retaking and aftermath of the riot.They worked with the doc to get their results and are happy, most of them with a check, a check never mattered to me- what trickled down to me was chump change anyway so no disapointment there and well I am not polite- I don,t care anymore-- i will say -there will never be justice for the real victims of attica but they have changed the future by their loss of life and finally the truth is known unfortunalely for me my brother and many==qyodg4 a little too little and a little too late.

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