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Daughter of Lillie Belle Allen: "I'm not angry, but I'm still hurt"

Written by Gordon Rago/The York Daily Record | Aug 28, 2017 12:25 PM
lillie_belle_allen_hattie_dickson.jpg

In this 2006 file photo, Debra Grier, left, Lillie Belle Allen's daughter; Hattie Dickson, Allen's sister; and Michael Allen, Allen's son, stand in front of the portrait of Lillie Belle Allen that was unveiled at the Crispus Attucks Association building in York. The portrait was painted by Marlon Baldwin, Allen's nephew. Debra Grier wrote to the York Daily Record, following the death this week of Charlie Robertson, the former mayor charged for his involvement in Allen's death, that "I'm not angry, but I'm still hurt." (Photo: File)

(Undated) -- Debra Grier forgave Charlie Robertson a long time ago. It was hard, she said, but she did.

She doesn't know if the former York mayor -- charged, and later acquitted, for his involvement in her mother Lillie Belle Allen's death -- had regrets. 

"This man -- just like the rest of us -- has to answer to God for his actions," Grier wrote in a statement to the York Daily Record just days after Robertson's death. "Back then, the city asked us what we wanted, and we said an apology. And that was met with more denials and more racism."

Robertson died early Thursday morning. He was 83. In response to his death, friends and family spoke out, detailing his community involvement during his time as a police officer and later as mayor. 

Others will remember him from court testimony in the early 2000s. Robertson, who was a police officer at the time of the 1969 race riots in York, had been accused of inciting young white gang members to arm themselves and shoot blacks.

Allen, a mother of two from Aiken, South Carolina, was shot and killed while in a car during the riots.

Her sister, Hattie Dickson, who died last year, has previously said that she and her family had received some measure of justice. That came after the 2002 verdicts in which two men were convicted of second-degree murder and seven others had reached plea agreements.

Grier shared her own feelings on the case and Robertson.

"I'm not angry, but I'm still hurt," she wrote in her statement. "For me, there is no closure."

She ended her statement this way.

"Here's a thought: History does not repeat itself. People choose to keep repeating it. We could all take note as adults, stop talking change. Change."

Teresa Boeckel contributed to this report, which is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

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