Rendell's Role in Union Violence Probed

Don and Teri Adams attended a rally protesting President Clinton outside Philadelphia City Hall in 1998 — and were beaten to a bloody pulp by a group of Teamsters. The Adams have filed a lawsuit. A special three-judge panel of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals will convene to hear arguments as to whether a federal civil rights suit may proceed against Governor Ed Rendell for his alleged role in the 1998 Teamster beating.

Rendell, Philadelphia mayor at the time, has since admitted in a deposition to personally inviting Teamster boss John Morris and Teamster Union Local 115 members to attend a pro-Clinton rally, despite knowing the Teamsters’ propensity to use violence against opponents. Rendell acknowledged that he had specifically instructed the Teamsters to “drown out” Clinton protesters.

Moments before the Oct. 2, 1998 beating, Morris was caught by several news cameras marking one Clinton protester for attack by placing a Fedora over his head. The teamsters then charged the man, Don Adams, and his sister, knocking both to the ground before viciously assaulting them. Adams was treated at an area hospital for a concussion, lacerations, and several bruises. His sister suffered minor injuries.

According to a statement from Morris’ top deputy, Rendell later tried to console Morris about the negative publicity the teamsters had generated by promising no charges would be filed against Morris and by suggesting ways to have the victim, Adams, prosecuted.

In July 1999, Adams stood trial after several Teamster women alleged he had assaulted them prior to his own beating. Adams was found not guilty and the women have since recanted their stories.

Morris was never charged. He died in 2001. Five Teamsters pled guilty to various assault and conspiracy charges and were given probation.

Three judges from outside the 3rd Circuit’s jurisdiction were appointed to hear the appeal after the appellees filed a motion asking the entire circuit to recuse itself — due to the fact Rendell’s wife, Judge Marjorie Rendell, is one of its members.