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For additional transportation in emergencies, police planners have arranged to get buses from the Department of Corrections to transport prisoners.

Discussing the logistics of dealing with masses of looters, Assistant Chief Jerry V. Wilson, in charge of field operations, said in an interview that policemen were in a bind during much of last month's rioting.

"If a policeman arrests a looter," Wilson said, "he has to hold him till a car can get there, so he's out of the fight. The men know it's better to disperse people, get them out of there, than to let them go on looting while he holds onto one looter.

"Even with that, we were able to arrest far more looters and other criminals than any other city where a riot occurred."

In the four days of rioting, according to Wilson's figures, Washington police made 8,424 arrests, of which 831 were juveniles who were turned over to parents or guardians.

Wilson and Deputy Chief Raymond S. Pyles, commander of special operations, which includes the Civil Disturbance Unit, agreed to discuss what they consider misconceptions, rumors and myths about the rioting and subsequent attempted extortion of businessmen.

The officials frequently referred to a transcript of their radio conversations
with police dispatchers during the first night of the riots. Here are some of the
charges made by congressmen, businessmen and other local residents and the
police officials' replies:

1. The charge: That some order was issued not to make arrests.
Not true, said Wilson, citing at least two police broadcasts the first night.
He quoted the dispatcher notifying all tactical units :
"Orders are: Any violations to take proper police action and arrest."

He also quoted an 11:06 p.m. broadcast from Inspector Mahlon Pitts to Pyles saying:

“I have eight cars ready to leave with instructions to proceed south on 14th Street as per your orders to start arresting."

Pyles said he had told Pitts earlier that night that he wanted 120 men in 30 cars to cruise 14th Street and "as you assign four men to each car, you are to instruct them that they are to enforce the law and make arrests."

2. The charge: That police were ordered not to shoot looters. False, said Wilson. Police were operating under a 1954 order, last revised in 1956 and in force at the time of the riot.

Under that order, police were told they must be constantly alert to three factors: That the offender could be captured only through extreme methods, that the offense is of sufficient gravity to justify the possibility of serious injury or death and that the lives of innocent persons should not be endangered through the use of the service revolver.

Both Wilson and Pyles emphasized that the widespread use of tear gas made use of guns and billy clubs unnecessary in most cases. The Kerner report on civil disorders advocated using tear gas and it was used more widely here than anywhere else.

The two police officials believe that the tear gas and the curfew were the reason the Washington riots ended in four days while rioting went on elsewhere for a week or more.

3. The charge: That police on the street didn't know what to do.


Pyles was quick to refute this.

All the men on the street were under supervision of some official, and getting instructions from captains, inspectors and deputy chiefs.

For an example, Pyles turned again to the transcription of the broadcast and cited a 1:31 a.m. message he received from the dispatcher asking, "Do you have any extra officials? There are about 20 men at 14th and Monroe and 14th and Park Road with no officials ?" Pyles' reply was swift: "I've got a sergeant up here. I'll send him."

4. Other charges : That policemen's hands were tied by higher officials, that police were ordered to unload their weapons and that snipers were all over the place.

Both Wilson and Pyles denied they were handcuffed from above, denied that guns were ordered unloaded and denied that snipers abounded.

Soldiers' weapons were unloaded but not police guns, they said.

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As for snipers, police responded to as many as nine calls for snipers in one afternoon but found that the jittery public was mistaking firecrackers and backfire for gunfire. Only one man was arrested as a sniper and it turned out he was firing at random in some woods instead of shooting at a chosen target.

One set of rumors is not being denied by police. Instead, they want to pin down whatever facts exist behind the rumors.

These are the rumors that businessmen are being told they must contribute to the Poor People's Campaign or some other cause or their buildings will be burned down.

Others, according to rumor, have been told to close today in observance of the late Malcolm X's birthday and some businessmen victims of the rioting have been warned that if they open for business again, they'll be burned out.

Plenty of rumors are reaching police but they're not getting the complaints from victims of the alleged extortion.

Wilson said that where the merchants have complained, police usually have been able to make arrests but their hands are tied when they don't know who is being victimized.

Since businessmen may be afraid to report these threats and extortion demands through the usual channels, precinct commanders are going to the businessmen in their precincts and telling them that police will accept their complaints as confidential and they won't have to go to court. The precinct commanders themselves will take the complaints.

Police also are trying to cope with another riot aftermath-juvenile gangs prey. ing on merchants.

To curb the juvenile marauders, police have been ordered to step up enforce. ment of antiloitering laws and truancy regulations.

(“Letters to the Editor" Washington Evening Star, May 21, 1968)

LET PUNISHMENT FIT THE CRIME SIR: To prevent more civil disturbance, offending individuals must learn to substitute constructive acts for destructive acts. How? If their rearing has omitted training to respect the persons and property of others, public agencies must provide that training.

Since the offenders deal in physical acts, the initial training, to be understood, must involve tangible things, and it should relate directly to the nature of the offense. Let's start with having the offenders work (under the supervision of law-enforcement officers, if necessary) to clean up the areas they've damaged. Then teach them the skills to rehabilitate these areas. Eventually they might be taught to assist their neighbors whose businesses and homes have been destroyed or damaged. When these individuals who have upset us can show callouses of constructive work, we can welcome them as fellow citizens of the District. They can earn our forgiveness.


SIR: Citizenship is not just a question of rights; it is also civil responsibility. Let's pass out shovels to those who are so ready to leave others homeless and jobless and let them clean up the mess they made.


SIR: Jail sentences are certainly in order for the militant leaders and more serious rioters but for the thousands of otherwise good citizens I have other ideas,

Anyone who participated in any way with the mob violence against our established government should be punished in a constructive manner. If each of those individuals is sentenced to three or four hours a day at hard labor cleaning up the mess they have created, it would accomplish two purposes. First, it would save many hard-earned dollars and, second, it would make those people who partici. pate in the reconstruction less apt to tear down the product of their own hard labor.


No RIOT AT WAKEFIELD SIB: On Friday, April 5, some of the radio broadcasting stations reported rioting in many of the area high and junior high schools, including Wakefield. An

inexcusable wrong was committed to all the students of Wakefield High School as a result of this negligent and irresponsible reporting.

The Negro students of Wakefield deserve every honor for their behavior on that day. They, and many white students, assembled in a peaceful demonstration of their grief over the tragic murder of Martin Luther King. There were no fights and no sign of violence of any sort. Instead, there were some of the most eloquent and moving speeches by the students I have ever heard on the subject of racial problems.

Their behavior should serve as an example of what can be gained where people use reason instead of violence.


AFTER 44 YEARS IN BUSINESS SIR: We are owners of a hardware store in Northeast Washington. We write in behalf of the many who share our problems. We have obeyed the laws, paid our taxes, and insured ourselves, though it was expensive. We are more than equalopportunity employers, as the majority of our help is Negro, and has been for years. We have been father-confessor, banker, and adviser to our customers, with whom we have dealt honestly and fairly. We are charter members of the Business and Professional Association of Far Northeast, and have worked diligently for local improvements and closer cooperation between consumers and merchants. We are for civil rights for all men.

Prior to April, 1968, we had lost money on bad checks, burglary, shoplifting, and vandalism, all repaired or replaced at our expense. We have taken needed hours from our business to sit in court at the request of police, only to see the judges postpone the cases or dismiss the defendant. We are constantly in need of more reliable help. We have had trouble for years.

Since April 5, 1968, we have been the victims of repeated looting, and vandalism. Our store was closed for two weeks in order to repair the major damage done to us on that date. Since we reopened for business, we have been broken into twice and have had numerous broken windows and doors.

Insurance may or may not cover a portion of these expenses. The bills for repairs to our property, and merchandise and equipment that was damaged or stolen are arriving daily. We have lost our expected busy spring season. We are frustrated with the past and pessimistic about the future.

Now, we receive word that the insurance on our building is to be canceled. Since conditions in the District are so bad, this could be the end of our business. We can obtain jobs in the suburbs and lower our standard of living. We can do without the responsibilities of owning a business and all that entails. We can manage. We will not need welfare.

But the taxes the District collects will be lost. All of our years of endeavor will be wasted. Our employees will probably need some financial assistance. Our customers will lose the convenience and service they depend on.

To our way of thinking, this benefits no one and hurts many. Is this what is to become of us after forty-four years in business, Is this what is to become of our employes who have been responsible supporters of their families ? Is the city to be left an empty shell of families living on relief?

Citizens must be protected. Criminals must be jailed. The police must have the men and the methods to do this. Businessmen must be able to obtain insurance. We are willing to pay for it. Of all the groups now clamoring for help, how many are offering to help themselves as we have done and hopefully will continue to do?

We and all the others in our predicament are watching our life's work go down the drain, along with our children's education and our security.


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[From The Washington Post, May 21, 1968)


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(By Robert G. Kaiser) Private contributors gave more than $145,667 to the Urban Coalition's emergency fund for victims of last month's riot, but only $11,269.95, less than 8 percent, of that had been spent as of May 15.

Flaxie Pinkett, local real estate agent and chairman of the emergency fund committee, made the figures public yesterday.

The Urban Coalition's executive committee will meet Thursday to decide what to do with the $134,000 left in the fund, Miss Pinkett said.

She announced three weeks ago that the emergency fund committee thought the money should be saved for future use. She said she will make this proposal to the Coalition's executive committee.

Miss Pinkett has said that the emergency fund provided money to all victims of the riot who could not get assistance from public sources or other private


Winifred G. Thompson, director of the District's Department of Public Welfare, confirmed this yesterday. Miss Thompson said everyone who sought help as a result of the riot got what he needed.

“There was not the real demand for crisis money that we thought would grow out of the disorder," Miss Thompson said. "Most of the damage was done in the area of commercial property," she added, and said a surprisingly small number of private citizens needed assistance after the riot.

There were fewer families burned out than expected, Miss Thompson said. She added that although her Department was “very generous" with its own cash assistance to eligible victims of the riot, not as much of her emergency fund was spent as she had expected.

[From the Washington Evening Star, May 29, 1968)

(By John Fialka and William Basham) The chief judge of the U.S. District Court here said today that the impact of about 400 anticipated felony cases stemming from the April riots will almost nullify his court's "crash program” to reduce its backlog.

Chief Judge Edward M. Curran told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that U.S. Atty. David Bress has estimated that a special grand jury now hearing riot cases will indict 500–600 persons in about 400 felony cases.

Curran also urged the subcommittee to push for legislation to set up a new court for felony cases in the District.

The Grand Jury has already returned 35 indictments. About 860 felony cases resulted from the riots. The majority of suspects were charged with seconddegree burglary in the looting.

Most of the remaining cases, Curran said, would be sent back to General Sessions Court for trial as misdemeanors.

He said that by using visiting judges from other jurisdictions on civil cases and by concentrating District judges on criminal cases, the court's backlog dropped from 1,100 cases last October to 700 just before the riot began in April.

“Now we'll almost be back where we were,” Curran told Sen. Joseph D. Tydings, D-Md., who chaired the subcommittee hearings.

Curran said he will assign three judges to a special “Emergency calendar" to hear the riot cases, which, he said, could be disposed of at a rate of two per judge per day.

The chief judge also told the subcommittee that next Monday he will hold a meeting of District Court judges and propose a plan to give immediate trials to defendants up for bail bearings whom the judges feel present a danger to the community.

Under the Bail Reform Act, he said, judges cannot consider danger to the community when they set bail. Both Curran and Tydings agreed that the act needs "tightening up."


Curran said the District Court space situation was so critical that some new judges may have to commute to their courtrooms from chambers across town in the new U.S. Court of Claims building on Madison Place NW, where he has borrowed office space.

He added that the administrative office of the federal court system has offered to provide the District Court with rented space at the Dodge Hotel, near the Capitol. Curran said he didn't think the hotel was a "proper place” for a federal court because among other non-judicial features, he said, "they've got a bar in there."

Curran said that he felt the ultimate solution for court backlogs in the District would be to set up a new Superior Court of Criminal Jurisdiction to try felony cases.

He said it should be served by a chief judge and 10 associate judges appointed for 15-year terms.

"As Washington moves ever close to home rule,” Curran said, “it is only logical that a truly local court system be established."

He said the new court would handle crimes now prosecuted in his federal court. They are the so-called common-law crimes, such as murder, rape, robbery, burglary, abortion and assault with a dangerous weapon.

In other jurisdictions, the chief judge pointed out, these common-law crimes are not federal offenses. They are tried in state, county or city courts. “Local crimes should be tried in a local court as they are everywhere else," he said.

(From the Washington Post, June 1, 1968)

(By Elsie Carper) The Washington Convention and Visitors Bureau yesterday reported a "severe” decrease in the number of tourists coming to Washington in the wake of the April rioting.

Twenty-five per cent of room reservations were canceled in April and 22 per cent in May, the Bureau said.

One medium-sized hotel has told the Bureau that a single tour company had canceled reservations for 2300 visitors this summer.

Another hotel, catering to conventions and tourists, says it has 125 fewer employees than it would normally use during this period, a payroll reduction of $45,000 a month. The hotel has estimated that it will pay the city $12,000 less in taxes in May than it ordinarily would.

A third hotel reports it has 116 fewer employes, with a payroll loss of $30,000 and a tax loss of $10,000, and a smaller tourist hotel, which normally operates with 80 employes, has cut back to 60.

The report of what has happened to tourism, the city's largest single source of private money, was presented to the Senate District Appropriations subcommittee by Clarence A. Arata, executive director of the Bureau, and Victor 0. Schinnerer, the immediate past chairman.

The Bureau has asked Congress to appropriate $200,000 in the fiscal year beginning July 1 to recapture the tourist and convention trade.

Business firms have been asked to subscribe to a special emergency fund, Schinnerer told the subcommittee, “to launch a massive campaign to tell America and the world that Washington is again free from disturbances and unrest and that visitors can again feel safe in the Nation's Capital."

In addition, he said, the businessmen expect to raise $350,000 to expand the operation of the Bureau, which now operates on a more limited budget.

Arata said that if the present trend continues, there will be substantial tax losses to the city. Last year, direct revenues from tourists brought in $21.6 million. In April and May alone, revenues were approximately $1.5 million less than normally would have been anticipated.

"We find that cancellations of tour groups is continuing into the months ahead-all because of the widespread unfavorable publicity which the city has received and is receiving currently," Schinnerer told the subcommittee.

Two major conventions scheduled to come to Washington next year "are skittish” about meeting here, Arata said.

"We thought we had a convention of 9000 people tied down for 1973 but the decision of whether to meet in Washington or move to another city has been postponed until October,” he said. "We are extremely hopeful that crime and unrest in Washington will soon pass. If we could see the terminal point we could go out and fight. We have a tremendous problem in promotion.”

Travel agents are being shown where the riots took place and where tourists stay and visit to point out that there is no close relationship, Arata told the subcommittee.

He said that the rioting and the Poor People's Campaign have replaced crime here as the major deterrent, although crime is still a factor in keeping tourists away.

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