COPE CONVENTION DUE GOP Courting OTHER CASES CITED `All Started Firing at Once’ fr0 Gov. Price Daniel voted straight down the line with the Southern bloc against strong civil rights resolutions offered by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and others at the Governors’ Confer ence in Hershey, Pa. But brother Bill Daniel, governor of Guam, attracted considerable attention by voting the other way, explain ing that he was voting for the Guamanians. Gov . Ernest Hollins of South Carolina filibustered against civil rights action for two hours, and in the end the chief executives agreed, 32-8, to allow Political Intelligence each governor to sign his preference among four proposals on the subject. After similar stalemates . on other issues, many observers posed the question: are governors’ conferences necessary? Democratic and Republican candidates for each of the four top statewide offices have accepted the invitations from COPE to appear before the group in San Antonio July 17 and an swer questions. For the first time the sessions will be open to the press and, also for the first time in a general election, there is a strong possibility COPE might either endorse GOP candidates or support neither candidate in some races. State president Hank Brown \(Obs., visits with top labor leaders, has said John Connally has yet to commit himself on vital issues consider important by labor, and that COPE should wait and see. The Observer understands that Connally has had some long con ferences with labor leaders . . . . . . One thing sure: the GOP DALLAS Included in the educational television fare available to the public here through the ABC network and the A. H. Belo Corp. is a highly popular collection of tribal fertility rites demonstrated on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.” This program features Philadelphia teenagers performing currently popular dances, and is highly popular with the patrons of several Dallas skid row taverns and, reportedly, among those interested in promoting pagan rites, black masses, and voodoo. THIS WAS all well and good un til the gifted youths began to dance over the telewaves to the tune of something billed as “Goodnight Irene.” Sharp observers were able to find some similarity to the famed work of Leadbelly Ledbetter. They soon lapsed into a state of shock which has not yet ended. “Irene” was the lifelong work of Leadbelly, and has received quite a bit of public acceptance over the past several years. The current teenage version will probably drive quite a few folk song fans to drink or suicide. Somehow it simply does not seem right that Leadbelly’s most important work should fall prey to the “Twist.” For those not entirely familiar with Leadbelly or “Irene,” it is enough to say that Leadbelly was a Negro badman who sang his way out of the Texas and Louisiana prison systems with his marvelous compositions and his 12string guitar. He was discovered in Louisiana’s Angola penitentiary by John Avery Lomax and his son John Lomax. These great collectors of Americana presented candidates are seriously courting the liberal vote. Jack Cox issued a release saying it is “no surprise to me” Brown and organized labor haven’t made up their minds about John Connally since “just a few weeks ago he was calling labor people such names as ‘extremists’, `radicals,’ dangerous reds.’ . . . “Though I differ politically on many points with Brown, I must say I admire his courage in speaking out so frankly despite the tremendous pressure which is undoubtedly being applied by the Johnson-Connally combine.” GOP congressman-atlarge candidate Des Barry, besides attacking Democrat Joe Pool for sponsoring the Pool Bill which he charges discriminated against Ralph Yarborough, says his battle against the Teamsters in Houston proved him to be a better friend of the working man than his opponent. The Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, Bill Hayes, dropped by the Observer office this week, said he respected liberals for their straightforward political opinions although he strongly disagrees, and described himself to Observer staffers as an “ideological” rather than a “special interest” conservative. The implications of all this are quite clear: the Republicans have realized early they need a healthy portion of the liberal vote, combined with a lot of absenteeism on election day, to stand a chance. The Dallas News says many Democratic candidates at lower levels are “jittery”, fearing a strong GOP vote at the top will filter through to their races . . . The Democratic candidates have mainly kept silent about the liberal vote, await Leadbelly to the world, and the arrangement was fine with all concerned. Leadbelly died in the late ’40’s, but his music continues or at least it did until picked up by American bandstand. 140W LEADBELLY was a dangerous person with a love of alcohol, women, violence and singing. His last love secured him a place in folk history. That small niche is now threatened. He was a mean man at times; a convicted killer who probably deserved to be in prison, but whatever he was and whatever he did, this last blow would probably seem more cruel than anything he ever suffered at Huntsville, Sugarland, or Angola. E.C. AROUND TEXAS While the National Ingidnation Convention held rallies in Houston to begin an organized campaign seeking a constitutional amendment legalizing prayers in public schools, the director of the Baptist Christian Life Commission in Texas and the powerful Baptist Standard published the Supreme Court decision of last week. The Court ruling, Christian Life Commission head Jimmy Allen said, “should serve to remind us that the responsibility for religious worship and training of children is placed by God upon the home and the church. “Opposition to this logical interpretation of the relationship of government to religion,” he said, “gives evidence of our desperation because we have not fulfilled Neal, who covered the episode, said he never heard an order to shoot. “It seemed like they all started firing at once,” he added. An autopsy was ordered and showed that the death bullet entered Scott’s back and pierced his left lung. No one will ever know for certain, of course, which policeman’s bullet this was. Scott was six-feet-four-inches tall and weighed 240 pounds. statistics emphasized repeatedly in local news stories and broadcasts on the shooting. Some of these news stories and broadcasts mentioned, almost offhandedly, that all this height and weight was opposed by more than a dozen armed policemen; others were not impressed by this aspect of the conflict and did not mention it at all. Not long ago a steer got loose cn the streets of nearby Dallas and was shot by the police. This upset many animal-loving Dallas residents and protests were made, both officially Sand unofficially. “They wouldn’t treat an animal like that in Fort Worth,” one irate news reporter told his friends. This newsman now lives in Fort Worth and, he told the Observer this week, he was correct about the admirable concern of Fort Worth police for the welfare of animals. “But they don’t hesitate to beat hell cut of a Negro they have arrested for a real or imagined crimes,” he said,. “This time they can’t deny the film’s report.” Punishment Unlikely Police brutality or negligence is extremely difficult, or impossible, to prove. Official reports never mention how the prisoner was handled by arresting or’ interrogating officers, of course. Beatings are administered, when they are, behind locked doors or in the darkened rear seats of squad cars or in paddy wagons. Experienced policemen know that certain kinds of instruments, such as sections of rubber hose and flat “slapjacks” won’t cut or bruise on the surface where it can be seen. Despite the protests and the investigations, it is unlikely that the five policemen who fired their pistols will be harshly punished. Who can say definitely, after all, what each man thought as he squeezed the trigger? And, since nine shots were fired and six hit, who can say for certain whether or not some of those who fired aimed above Scott’s head or toward the ground? Unless facts not yet made public are uncov this responsibility. The answer is not to use the compulsory attendance laws to force the presence of children at religious worship, but rather to call our churches and families to renewed dedica tion to God.” Sens. Ralph Yarborough and John Tower divided on the issue, Yarborough defending it, Tower opposing. Among congressmen, Jim Wright of Texas said “Jefferson and Madison fought for freedom of religion, not for prohibition of religion”; Bob Casey of Houston saw “a cause for some alarm”; Albert Thomas of Houston argued the Court may have done what is “judicially right” but not what is “necessarily morally right”; and Henry Gonzalez of San Antonio responded: “I see it as the overstraining of a legal point, oblivious to an ingrained tradition in our nation.” ered by the grand jury, therefore, how can criminal charges be brought against anyone involved? Any corrective measures in training or orientation which might result from this tragic incident will have to be implimented by Fort Worth Police Chief Cato Hightower, either on his own volition or on order from the city ,council. The city council at its meeting Monday did not take the matter under official consideration. Prior to the meeting, two council members told the Star-Telegram, “they favored disciplinary action against policemen who shot to death a berserk Negro Friday if an investigation reveals’ the slaying was unnecessary.” \(Wording of the newspaper’s story are inside the red to by the two councilmen apparently was the one Chief Hightower said would be made. \(“There is always an investigation when a policeman is involved Councilman Gene Moore said, “I don’t look kindly on this incident and if this action was unwarranted severe disciplinary action should be taken.” City Manager L. P. Cookingham told newsmen he may recommend appointment of a private citizens committee to investigate the shooting. But no such action was announced after Monday’s council meeting. Mayor John Justin said, “if corrective measures are needed they will be ta ken.” One Fort Worth citizen, Joe Barnett, whose place of business is near the scene of the shooting, was disturbed enough to take specific action. He said he would appear before the grand jury with a petition signed by a number of civilian witnesses who believed the shooting was “entirely unnecessary.” “I’ll be glad to show any of the police captains or Chief Hightower how the U.S. Army teaches an individual to handle a man who is unarmed,” Barnett said bitterly. Wayne Brown, the television cameraman whose film aroused the protests, told reporters Saturday: “I’m standing behind the police 100 per cent. At the time, I couldn’t see that there was anything else to do but shoot him.” Two veteran newsmen who have covered the Fort Worth police beat in the past six years told the Observer that Chief Cato Hightower was, in their opinion, “an honest, hard working cop.” One reflected the view of local Negro leaders who said Hightower’s “racist” attitude was indirectly responsible for the large number of Negro prisoner beatings reported in the past few years. A Negro lawyer told the Observer that he had filed several formal and informal complaints to Chief Hightower and city officials about beatings by police, but no satisfactory investigation was made in any of the cases and some of his letters were not even answered. Past Allegations Specific cases cited included: In February, 1960, Tommy Wattley, 34, was picked up at his home after his wife called police, saying that he was threatening to beat her up. As they rode toward the station Wattley protested his wife’s version of their argument and got slapped around roughly for it. He wound up with a broken nose, fractured ribs, and a hemorrhaging eye. When the attorney questioned police about this, he was told that Wattley was only “slapped to arouse him from a drunken stupor.” The attorney complained to the FBI that Wattley’s civil rights were violated by the beating, but the FBI investigation revealed only what official police records said about the case. An elderly Negro storekeeper was returning home from the barber shop. He saw a city bus and ran to the corner, thinking it was the bus he would catch. It wasn’t, so he leaned on a wall to rest from his sprint. A squad car rolled up and stopped. The patrolmen asked him why he ran from the police car. He said he didn’t, he ran for the bus. “You drunk, old man?” one of the patrolmen asked. “No sir.” “Don’t get smart with me, nigger.” Then the man was told to get in the squad car, on the way to the station he was beaten, he said, and beaten again in the notorious “Showdown Room” in the Fort Worth police station. While the “Showdown Room” beating was and saw some of the activities. They were spanking the old man with belts, he said. The old man’s pants had been removed. When each policeman had taken his turn with the belt one would ask, “Which one hit you the hardest?” Any answer the old man made was, of course, wrong and brought on more belt lashes. When the reporter’s presence was detected, the belting ceased and the policemen explained that, “This nigger gave us a lot of trouble.” When the attorney went to the station to check his client’s story, no record of his arrest could be found on the
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