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Police: 'Subway vigilante' Goetz arrested in undercover drug bust

By Haimy Assefa, CNN
updated 10:59 AM EST, Sun November 3, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bernhard Goetz ordered freed on his own recognizance
  • Police say Goetz sold marijuana to an undercover officer
  • He was acquitted of attempted murder in the 1984 shooting of four black youths
  • Goetz served less than nine months for weapon possession in 1984 shooting

New York (CNN) -- A New York man dubbed the "subway vigilante" after he shot four youths in 1984 was released from jail Saturday on a charge of selling marijuana to an undercover officer.

Bernhard Goetz, 65, was ordered freed on his own recognizance at an arraignment in Criminal Court, the Manhattan district attorney's office said.

His next court date is December 18, the district attorney's office said.

National attention followed 1984 shooting

Goetz was the subject of national attention when he shot four black teenagers on December 22, 1984, aboard a Manhattan subway car.

The four said they were panhandling and asked Goetz for $5 to play video games. Goetz said he believed he was being robbed.

Goetz, who is white, was acquitted of murder and assault charges in the shooting but was convicted of illegal possession of a weapon. He served less than nine months behind bars.

The incident took place at a time when race relations were strained and crime levels were high in New York City.

Arrest followed drug sting

Goetz was arrested Friday about a block away from his home in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan, according to police.

He is accused of meeting an undercover officer at Union Square Park and agreeing to sell her marijuana, Sgt. Carlos Nieves told CNN. Nieves said Goetz went to his apartment to pick up the drug and then sold it to the officer for $30.

Members of the Manhattan South Narcotics Division swooped in to arrest Goetz, police told CNN.

Goetz is charged with criminal possession, criminal sale and unlawful possession of marijuana, Nieves told CNN.

Goetz's victim dies on anniversary of shooting

CNN's David Simpson contributed to this report.

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