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The Indicted Police Officers

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The Indicted Police Officers

Post by Karen on Tue 2 Mar 2010 - 0:21


New York Extraordinary Grand Jury Discharged - It Recommends That All Departments be Investigated.

NEW YORK, April 5. - The Extraordinary Oyer and Terminer Grand Jury finished its labors today by bringing in four indictments and recommending that all the departments of the city government be investigated the same as the Police Department has been investigated. It transpired this morning that serious charges had been made against Superintendent Byrnes by Dr. and Mrs. Whitehead. The Oyer Grand Jury after hearing the charges they made against Byrnes did not consider them strong enough on which to base an indictment and dismissed them.
According to a statement given out by Assistant District Attorney Lindsay no indictments were found in matters to which ex-convict Joseph Liss, alias Silver, testified. The charges against Detective Sergeants Jacob, McManus and Lang in the Budner and Stromloff matters were dismissed.
Mr. Lindsay also gave out another statement to the effect that the Grand Jury had considered the charges against ex-Police Commissioner Sheehan and had dismissed them. The charges were from violating the election law in the Twenty-fifth election district of the Thirteenth Assembly district, and for asking Captain Schmittberger to allow a gambler of the name of Maynard to run a house in the Twentieth precinct. Nearly thirty witnesses were examined in the Sheehan matter, but no evidence was had.
At Police Headquarters a number of names were mentioned as among those indicted. An authority which can not be questioned, however, said: You can count on these being among the indicted: Thomas J. Brady, formerly Superintendent of Buildings; Nathan Straus, formerly Park Commissioner; Abraham B. Tappen, formerly Park Commissioner and Thomas Killelea, Police Captain.
There is also an unconfirmed rumor that Inspector Williams has been indicted for the various offenses charged by witnesses who testified before the Lexow Committee.

Source: The Daily Palladium, Friday Evening, April 5, 1895

Grand Jury Says Other Departments Should Be Inquired Into.

The Extraordinary Grand Jury met together for the last time as an official body yesterday morning at 10:30. All the business which had been brought before it during its long session had been disposed of on Thursday, and it only remained for the jurors to come into court, hand up what indictments had been found, and make their final report before being discharged.
Shortly after the Court of Oyer and Terminer had been opened, District Attorney Fellows, Assistant District Attorney John Lindsay, and Austen G. Fox of special counsel appointed by Gov. Morton to assist in the prosecution of cases of police corruption came into court. Next the Grand Jury, with Foreman Leggett at its head filed in. All the members were present.
There was a short wait until Justice Ingraham was apprised that the Grand Jury was ready to report, and then the Judge came from his chambers. Chief Clerk Carroll called the roll, and, after all had answered to their names, Foreman Leggett handed up the four indictments to the Clerk. Mr. Leggett made the following statement:
"May it please your Honor, I am requested by the Grand Jury to state to the court that the mass of evidence before us satisfies us that there is good reason for further investigations into various departments of the City Government, including not only those to which we have devoted our attention, but others, into which, by reason of lack of time alone, we have been unable to inquire, and we ask that the regular Grand Juries be hereafter directed to institute investigations into allegations of official misconduct and corruption in all the city departments until the entire subject shall have been thoroughly inquired into and the truth or falsity of such allegations determined."
Justice Ingraham, addressing the Grand Jury, said:
"In discharging you, gentlemen, I wish to express to you, on behalf of the people of the State, my appreciation of the services that you have rendered. I am well aware of the devotion and the sacrifices that you have made in continuing this work. I am well aware of the time that you have devoted to it. I am well aware of the obstacles and obstructions that you have found placed in your path. I can only say that I fully appreciate, knowing something of the labors you have had, what you have done. I know that no body of men could have done better.
"When I asked of you to undertake this work, I had no idea that one department would require so much of your time, and I then thought it quite necessary that the charges that have been made against the other departments should be thoroughly investigated. I think so now. I think it is of the utmost importance that these charges which have been made should in some way either be proved to be true or proved to be false; and I concur in the recommendations that you have made, and will do what I can to see either by the efforts of the Regular Grand Juries or the impanelling of another Grand Jury at some time to continue the investigation and to make it thorough as to all departments.
"I appreciate the fact that a thorough investigation as to one department would be of much more use to the city than a superficial one of several, and, therefore, I approve of your action in devoting the time that you have to the Police Department. I hope that your labors will meet with the recognition that they deserve, and I hope that the result of them will be a substantial improvement in the public service.
"I now discharge you for the term, expressing to you again my personal and individual thanks for your efforts, and hoping that I shall have at some time the pleasure of seeing you all again."

Charges Upon Which It Is Said They Rest - No Arrests Last Night.

After the indictments had been filed, Justice Ingraham signed bench warrants for the arrest of the accused persons. These warrants were taken personally by District Attorney Fellows to Police Headquarters, and were handed to Superintendent Byrnes.
No arrests were made last night, but all the indicted persons were notified to appear at the District Attorney's office this morning and give bail to answer the charges.
It was currently reported yesterday that the indictments against former Park Commissioners Clausen, Straus, and Tappen were based upon the manner in which they had expended the $1,000,000 appropriated by the Legislature in January, 1894, for the purpose of giving work to the thousands of unemployed poor. It was charged that the Commissioners violated the law in not advertising for bids for the work, but let it out by private contract.
It was also charged that the Commissioners had purchased from the Sicilian Asphalt Company quantities of material amounting in price to less than $1,000, so as to evade the law which requires that material purchased and amounting to $1,000 and over shall be advertised for. In this way other companies manufacturing asphalt were shut out from competition with the Sicilian, of which Commissioner Clausen had been Treasurer.
The charge which it is reported forms the basis of the indictment against ex-Superintendent Brady was brought to the notice of the Grand Jury quite recently. It said that Brady received a piano from Weser Brothers, piano manufacturers, who at the time were erecting a factory at 524 West Forty-third Street. Justus J. Smith was the contractor for the erection of the building, and when it had reached the second story he was greatly annoyed by Inspectors of the Building Department, who caused delay by discovering violations of the building laws.
Smith, as alleged, suggested to Weser Brothers the sending of a piano as a present to Brady. The piano was sent as a Christmas present in December, 1890, and it is charged that thereafter the progress of the building was not interfered with by the employees of the Building Department.
Capt. Killelea's indictment is said to be due to the testimony placed before the Grand Jury that he had accepted gratuities in connection with the furnishing of police protection at the baseball matches and other athletic shows at the Polo Grounds and the Manhattan Field, both of which are within his jurisdiction as the Captain of the West One Hundred and Fifty-second Street police.
Patrolmen Cassidy, Thrall, and Miley are, as is reported, indicted on the testimony given against them by Hans S. Beattie, ex-Street Cleaning Commissioner and now Treasurer of the Metropolitan Traction Company. While on his way home early one morning in March last Mr. Beattie was arrested by Cassidy and Thrall, who were in plain clothes, for no apparent reason, and while he was being taken to the station house in East One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Street, Miley, who was in uniform, intimated to him, it is alleged, that there was an easy way to save himself the trouble and disgrace of going to the station house.
From the manner in which this intimation was conveyed to him, Mr. Beattie, it is said, concluded that the arrest was planned to extort money from him. At the station house he was discharged by Sergt. Grant. Mr. Beattie declined to make charges against these policemen to the Police Commissioners, but preferred to have the investigation made by the Grand Jury.

He Admires Dr. Parkhurst - Would Revise Corporation Ordinances.

Foreman Leggett before he left the Criminal Courts building admitted that four indictments had been handed up. One indictment, it was said on good authority, included the ex-Park Commissioners, Messrs. Clausen, Straus, and Tappen, one was against Thomas J. Brady, ex-Superintendent of Buildings; one against Captain Killelea, and the fourth against three patrolmen.
Foreman Leggett, in a short discussion on the work of the Grand Jury, said:
"There is a matter which in the press of business we entirely forgot to consider, and which I think important. It should be considered by the Grand Jury now in session. I refer to a revision of the corporation ordinances. They are too strict, and are in a measure an incentive to commit crime. The matter would have to be considered very carefully. If all the laws now on our statute books were properly observed and strictly enforced, all of New York's business men would have to remove their business places out of the city."
Later, Mr. Leggett, in talking with a reporter for The New York Times in reference to Mr. Moss's letters to the Grand Jury, Mr. Leggett said:
"I have in my possession, several letters sent to me as foreman of the Grand Jury by Mr. Moss, the counsel of the Society for the Prevention of Crime. I do not feel indignant over them, nor does the Grand Jury feel indignant, so far as I know.
"The only trouble with Mr. Moss is overzealousness. He is honest and earnest, and Dr. Parkhurst and his society are thoroughly honest and earnest in their efforts against the police. But Mr. Moss has not had experience as a criminal lawyer, and he is not fully qualified to judge what is legal criminal evidence. He is not so fully qualified in this respect, I think, as some members of the Grand Jury.
"I do not feel at liberty to give out copies of Mr. Moss's letters or to state the nature of their contents. I can say positively that Superintendent Byrnes has not been indicted, and I can say with equal positiveness that if there had been evidence showing wrongdoing on the part of the Superintendent there would have been no hesitancy on the part of the Grand Jury in indicting him. We were there to do our duty, regardless of what officials suffered.
"I desire to say, for myself, that I am heartily in sympathy with the Rev. Dr. Parkhurst, Mr. Moss, and the Society for the Prevention of Crime. They are doing a good work, and deserve the encouragement of all good citizens. But for their exposures and efforts, I am convinced, there would have been no Lexow investigation.
"I do not wonder that the Society for the Prevention of Crime was anxious to have Superintendent Byrnes indicted. Dr. Parkhurst has publicly said he was an unfit man for the place. But in order to indict a man there must be legal evidence against him, evidence that will stand in court.
"I desire to say, also, in regard to the District Attorney's office, that in my three months' experience with that office on the Extraordinary Grand Jury I saw not a single fact to show that the office was putting any obstacles in our way, or was doing other than the best it possibly could to bring all, available evidence before us."

Mr. Tappen Speaks of a Sacrifice and Mr. Brady of an Injustice.

Ex-Park Commissioners Clausen and Nathan Straus could not be seen last night.
Mr. Clausen was said to be away from home, and Mr. Straus refused to talk with reporters.
Ex-Commissioner Tappen was visited at his office in the Bennett Building in the afternoon. He said he had not been informed that he had been indicted by the Grand Jury.
"It may or may not be true," he said, "and I shall not be surprised at anything. A sacrifice was needed every day in the old Roman festivals, and that's just the way things are here today. The New York Romans must have a sacrifice.
"If there was any indictment found they won't need to issue a bench warrant for me, because I'll give myself up as soon as I am notified.
"The old Park Board stands upon its record, and I'm sure that the $1,000,000 for the poor was handled all right. There was only one mistake made by me, and that was when I failed to hand in my resignation on the day that they passed that one-million-dollar appropriation.
"All the expenditures were explained in the report made by the Park Commissioners on Jan. 1 last. As I understood it, the money was to be expended in the discretion of the Commissioners on the parks and highways under their control. They were required to get the work done quickly, so as to give immediate employment to the poor people. To have advertised for bids for the work would have taken a great deal of time, during which the poor, whom this appropriation was designed to help, would have been left to suffer. The law may have been evaded in not advertising for contracts for the work, but I am sure that no one will believe that the Park Commissioners were guilty of corruption. The only mistake we made, perhaps, was not advertising for bids."
"Why did the Commissioners select the Sicilian asphalt, in which Commissioner Clausen was interested, in preference to other asphalts?"
"I don't know much about asphalts, but I was informed it was of superior quality and the best for the purpose."
Thomas J. Brady, formerly Superintendent of Buildings, said last night that he had not been officially notified of an indictment, and knew nothing more about it than what he had seen in the newspapers. He added:
"While I naturally decline to discuss the accusation made against me or my defense to it, I will say this:
"The indictment is most unjust. It was found on ex parte testimony. I was given no hearing. I made an earnest appeal to the Grand Jury to hear my defense, and offered to submit myself to them for the severest cross-examination. But my request was refused. That privilege, which only an innocent man values, was denied to me.
"I shall reserve my defense for the trial. I will not talk about it now, but in the meantime I ask my friends and all those who have known me and who may be inclined to withdraw their confidence on account of this unjust charge, to hold their judgment in suspense until I have the opportunity of presenting my defense to the court."

What Dr. Parkhurst Has to Say About the District Attorney's Office.

The Rev. Dr. Charles H. Parkhurst said last evening he was not surprised at the escape of so many prominent public officials from indictment. The fault did not rest with the Extraordinary Grand Jury, but with the District Attorney's office, which he likened to a picket fence.
"We have had so much experience with city officials," said Dr. Parkhurst, "that we know perfectly well who are working with us, and who are working against us. It doesn't take long to find out whether they are our aides or whether they are working at cross purposes. I have received today a voluminous communication from District Attorney Fellows. I have not read it yet, and don't know the nature of it, but I presume it is a reply to one I sent to him a few days ago.
"The exact nature of Dr. Whitehead's charges against Superintendent Byrnes has not been divulged beyond the Grand Jury room, and I cannot say what it was. But Dr. Whitehead had some interesting things to tell and when the time to turn on the light comes we ought to have the facts made plain. The Grand Jurors themselves seemed willing to have everything brought before them. It is a matter of regret to me that the District Attorney's office is so apt to serve in the capacity of a picket fence, keeping the Grand Jury railed in, or information railed out. This is especially noticeable when cases of a particular kind, or persons of particular standing are implicated.
"This was not the fault of the Grand Jury. The Grand Jury was most courteous. I was in the Criminal Court Building three days ago to see Mr. Moss, and the foreman invited me into the Grand Jury room. He asked me if I had anything to say. I said, "No." "If you have," he said "let us hear it."
"I am only objecting to the picket fence. The District Attorney says he is not a picket fence. We only differ as to what a picket fence is. You may look at a picket fence as made of slats to keep things out or to let things through.
"There has been a great change in the attitude of many city departments toward us. The Excise Board, for instance, is not only willing but anxious to let us co-operate with it. This change is very refreshing. The same is true of the Street-Cleaning Department. We know our friends when we see them. No amount of verbose recognition of our services will take the place of good, square, honest co-operation.
"The Grand Jury worked hard and faithfully for three months. It seems to have been scrupulously careful not to find indictments that were not absolutely watertight. At the same time the foreman truly said that much remained to be done. It is presumed that the indictments found, if properly tried - that is a large If - will issue in the conviction of inculpated parties."
"Did any representative of the District Attorney's office interfere with you when you addressed the Grand Jury?" asked the reporter.
"What I have said about the picket fence," replied Dr. Parkhurst, "covers everything."

Says He Made No Charges Against Members of the Grand Jury.

In speaking of the letters which Frank Moss had written to the Grand Jury in his endeavor to secure the indictment of Superintendent Byrnes, Ezekiel P.M. Rand, the Secretary of the Grand Jury, said yesterday:
"I regret very much that the jury did not present Mr. Moss for the letters he was "constantly sending to the members. He was continually sending notes, and even went so far as to question the integrity of some of the jurors."
When Mr. Moss was told of what Mr. Rand had said, he was indignant. He said:
"Mr. Rand must be "off his base" to make such a statement. I have not in any manner questioned the integrity of any member of the Grand Jury. Personally, I sent no letters to the Grand Jury, but the letters were sent by the Executive Committee of our society. There were two cases - one of them was the Byrnes case - in which we had the testimony of several witnesses, and we felt that it was due to these witnesses that the cases should be presented to the Grand Jury without first being strained through the District Attorney's office.
"I made no charges against the Grand Jury or any of its members. The case against Superintendent Byrnes came before the April Grand Jury first and was sent to the March Grand Jury and finally reached the Extraordinary Grand Jury. In all the stages of the case, strange and persistent obstacles were put in the way of obtaining a hearing for the witnesses."
Mr. Moss refused to give the particulars of the accusation against Superintendent Byrnes, but said that he might decide to do so at some future day.

He Said An Attempt Was Made to Ruin His Family.

Superintendent Byrnes was indignant yesterday when he learned of the accusation brought against him by the Parkhurst society through Dr. Newton Whitehead.
Through the long and trying ordeal to which he has been subjected as the executive head of the Police Department he has borne himself with exemplary patience amid the storm of adverse criticism of his official acts, but the attack upon his private character, which up to this time had not been assailed, roused his anger. The attack was aggravated because of the person chosen to besmirch his private life.
Dr. Whitehead has been arrested many times on charges of malpractice, and there are now three indictments hanging over him. He asserted that he has evidence which would tend to disgrace men of high repute in public life, and he bandies the names of these people about without regard to the consequences. The vile accusation brought against him by such a man naturally made the Superintendent angry, and, for the first time in all his trials, he gave vent to his feelings.
"It is a dastardly outrage," he said, "on the part of my enemies to destroy my private reputation, which is dear to me and my family. I don't know who the woman is that is referred to, and I don't know anything about the case, but it is a damnable conspiracy to ruin me.
"Through all the long Lexow investigation, lasting nearly a year, every effort was made to find somebody to give testimony against me. The State prisons throughout the country were searched for people to come forward and implicate me in wrong-doing, but without success. The investigation closed and my character remained unblemished. Then what do they do? Why, these conspirators get hold of a miserable felon, and they put up a job, a "fake" burglary, and they tried to attack me in that way, but they failed. They then pick up this woman, Zella Nicolaus, an adventuress, and they parade her before the Grand Jury, but this also proved a fiasco.
"Next, they got hold of this beast of a man, Whitehead, to trump up a vile charge against me. Let me tell you that that man's remuneration was to be immunity from further trouble and subsequent dismissal of the three indictments against him. This is what he was promised by these conspirators. Everything failed, and then what do they do? They have sought to destroy my private character and my family."
The Superintendent broke down when he spoke of his family. His voice faltered and tears gathered in his eyes.
"I don't want to say any more," he concluded. "I prefer to let the facts speak for themselves."

What Is Said in a Statement from District Attorney's Office.

The following statement in relation to matters considered by the Grand Jury and in which no indictments were found was given out from the District Attorney's office:
No indictments were found in any matters relative to which Joseph Liss, alias Silver, testified.
Specific charges against Officers Jacob and McManus and Lang in the Budner and Stromloff matters were dismissed.
The Budner case was a charge against Jacob, McManus and Joseph Goldberg of extorting $250 from Harris Budner in April, 1890, by threatening to accuse Budner of a crime. The Grand Jury, after hearing Liss's evidence, examined in this matter Harris Budner, his son, Jude Budner, and his two daughters, Yetta and Lena, and dismissed the charge.
The Stromloff case was another of Liss's and the charge was that Jacob, McManus, and Lang had conspired to extort money from Stromloff by threatening to send him to Sing Sing, and failing in this had caused him to be committed and sentenced to imprisonment for eight years upon a charge of burglary, of which he was entirely innocent.
The Records of the General Sessions show that in April, 1892, there were pending against Stromloff three indictments for burglary. On one charge he was indicted jointly with one Eichelbaum; on another one with Wichensky, and on the third he was the only defendent.
Wichensky, the statement says, was tried on a charge of burglary, preferred by Abraham Eppstein, a grocer of 106 Suffolk Street, and was convicted and sentenced to eight years' imprisonment at Sing Sing. Stromloff was tried on the following day and was also convicted and sentenced to eight years' imprisonment. Eichelbaum was not tried, but was released on his own recognizance, because Assistant District Attorney Wauhope Lynn, who had charge of the prosecution, did not think the evidence was sufficient to secure a conviction.
The charge made before the grand jury was that Stromloff's arrest and conviction were brought about as a part of a conspiracy between Detectives Jacob, McManus, and Lang, and the burglar, Liss, to extort money from Eichelbaum and Stromloff, and that, after Stromloff's arrest, attempts were made to get money from him. It was charged, the statement says:
When Stromloff was arrested he at once protested that he had bought the watch (alleged to have been stolen) from Eichelbaum or Liss, but the officers told him not to say so because if he did he would surely be convicted: to swear that he had bought it at a pawnbroker's, and this was the reason why he perjured himself on the trial. That after his arrest, demands were made upon his wife and mother for money, and, failing to obtain the money, they decided to "railroad" him to Sing Sing, and succeeded in doing so. In support of this theory, Stromloff himself has made an affidavit in Sing Sing Prison, in which he swears that he bought the watch from Liss in December, 1891 - as a matter of fact, the watch was in the possession of Goldfisher, its owner, up to March 25, 1892. The Grand Jury fully investigated this charge, and examined as witnesses Sarah Stromloff and Abraham Stromloff, the convict's mother and brother, in addition to hearing the testimony of Silver, and dismissed the charge.
Further, the statement from the District Attorney's office says:
The Grand Jury considered the charge against John C. Sheehan of having commanded and induced the ballot clerk of the Twenty-fifth Election District of the Thirteenth Assembly District to violate the election law of the last election by omitting to deliver constitutional amendment ballots to voters, unless the voters asked for the same, the election law requiring that full sets of ballots shall be delivered to all voters by the ballot clerks, and that the voters shall receive them all, and return such as are not voted.
The Grand Jury examined all the witnesses who could give any evidence in support of the charges, including Charles C. Beaman, Joseph Larocque, Judge Henry H. Beekman, William Travers Jerome, besides the Good Government Club watchers, all the election officers, (Inspectors, ballot clerks, and poll clerks,) and a number of voters. In all, twenty-four witnesses were examined. The evidence failed to show that a crime had been committed, and the charge was dismissed.
Another charge against ex-Police Commissioner Sheehan was that based upon the testimony given by Capt. Schmittberger before the Senate investigating committee, to the effect that Sheehan had endeavored to induce Schmittberger to permit a gambler named Maynard to maintain a gambling house in the Twentieth Precinct, of which Shmittberger was the Captain. Schmittberger testified before the committee that a man named Proctor had come to him with a letter of introduction from Commissioner Sheehan, and had asked him to permit Maynard to run his place, saying that he (Proctor) was interested in it, and that Sheehan himself had personally solicited him to permit the place to be run.
The Grand Jury, in considering this charge, took the testimony of Capt. Schmittberger, Maynard the gambler, and a number of police officers connected with the Twenty-second Police Precinct, and dismissed the charge.
Assistant District Attorney added to this statement that the Grand Jury had also investigated a charge made against Superintendent Byrnes by Dr. Newton Whitehead, and had taken the testimony of Dr. Whitehead, his wife, Charlotte E. Whitehead, and Emma Luthauser, a servant in Dr. Whitehead's house, who had been summoned at the urgent solicitation of Frank Moss of the Society of the Prevention of Crime, but the Grand Jury had refused to find an indictment in that case. Continued in the post above.

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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