because the street has all the problems of the “ghettos,” the alcoholics, the addicts, the prostitutes and bootleggers. “Any social worker would go crazy there, trying to figure out where to start first,” Leeland said. He explained that the Peoples Party “position on self-defense is that they have the right to bear arms and that they would exercise that right to protect themselves.” He said Hampton had told party members never to shoot first, to use their arms only for protection. Leeland said he arrived on Dowling Street about 11:30 p.m. that night, after his landlady told him someone had been shot. “I saw these police. They were in bullet-proof vests and helmets and they’d sort of taken over the community. . . . The police started movin’ on the community and started indiscriminately beating people. They had their helicopter shining floodlights on people. When the light shined on a group, they’d start beatin’ that group. They also got me.” He said he was in a friend’s car, attempting to leave the area, when uniformed police surrounded the car and pulled them out. He said they hit him in the head with the butt of a riot gun. He fell down. “A policeman said, ‘You’ve rested enough.’ Then they beat me again. A guy hit me in the jaw and knocked me to the ground and then another policeman said, `That’s enough.’ ” Leeland said he was told, “Run, nigger, and when, you run, I’m goin’ to shoot you.” That night in jail, Leeland testified, “we were all put in a tank together and they kept saying over the loudspeaker, ‘Why don’t you niggers go back to Africa? Why don’t you monkeys go back to Africa?’ ” Leeland had been charged with “failure to move on.” The charges were later dismissed. Leeland, said that Peoples Party II was never able to start a planned breakfast program for underprivileged children or a school or work on housing projects because of “constant harassment on the part of the police force.” On cross examination, Bennett questioned Leeland about police harassment before the night of July 26. The black man was not specific. He talked of the “unusual number of police cars that kept passing by PP II headquarters.” Bennett also managed to put into evidence, through questioning Leeland, a number of statements from the Peoples Party platform that might not be as palatable to the jury as a free medical clinic. He asked Leeland if he agreed with the plank that said all black people should be released from jail because they had not been tried by a jury of their peers. Leeland answered that “poor *people” should be substituted for “black people,” but otherwise he agreed with the statement. MITCH GREEN of Pacifica Radio also testified concerning the uniformed policemen’s actions after the shooting was over. Green said he went into the PP II office twice that night. “The first time there was a pile of stuff on the floor combat helmets, two firearms, one of which appeared to be broken. The second time I went in the police were joking. The place was very trashed. Posters had been ripped off the wall. Stuff had been knocked off shelves in the kitchen. Someone had written on the walls, “Wallace in ’72,” “Pig Knuckles to You” and an Anglo Saxon vulgarism was printed on a Huey Newton poster.” Green said he was hit in the forehead that night by a police rifle butt. Another Pacifica reporter, Don Gardner, was kicked in the rear. Gardner, he said, was charged with “failure to move on.” His charges, like those against many others, were dismissed when he got to court. The most dramatic moment of the day came when prosecutor Bennett asked Green if he remembered hearing Haile say during a Pacifica interview, that he had exchanged fire with police. Green affirmed that he had and Bennett quickly passed the witness. Police in the press room, police in the halls Houston The question of police harassment was a delicate and complex issue during the Haile trial both in and out of the courtroom. At the end of the first day of the trial, a criminal intelligence officer from the Houston Police Department took photographs of longhairs as they filed out of the spectators boxes. A Space City! photographer snapped pictures of the police photographer in return. The scene in the courthouse press While a court case is being presented, all witnesses are asked to leave the courtroom. Police officers subpoeaned to testify spent their time in the press room while waiting their turn on the stand. They could hear reporters call in their stories, thus learning what their comrades were saying on the stand. One reporter, who asked that the Observer not use his name since it might jeopardize his working relationship with the police, called his boss to complain about the cops being in the press room before they had taken the stand. His boss called the judge and the police were no longer seen in the press room while the prosecution was presenting its case. Not all of the reporters at the trial appreciated the newsman’s complaint. “I think it should hdve been a collective decision,” Houston Chronicle reporter Warren Webber told the Observer. “The police are always welcome in the press room as far as I’m concerned. After all, the press is always using police telephones and type .writers.” Webber, the Chronicle’s courthouse reporter, pointed out that witnesses, unlike jurors, are allowed to listen to news pertaining to a trial. And despite the fact they aren’t supposed to know what their fellow witnesses say, witnesses talk to one another anyway. Besides, Webber said, the police weren’t giving any new information at the trial. After they’d been purged from the press room, the undercover agents took up a position outside the press room door, a natural place to choose since it was directly across the hall from the courtroom. At least one reporter was nervous about their presence. “I’m not going to be intimidated by those cops listening to me file my stories,” he grumbled as he closed the press room door for the umpteenth time. This Observer reporter felt less than cozy . in the press room while police were present. When I walked into the press room on the first day of the trial, the men in the room immediately stopped conversing and started staring, “This is the press room,” I said rather uncertainly. They affirmed that it was. “Are you with Space City!?” one of the men asked. I allowed as how I wasn’t. “What news organization are you with?” someone ‘else asked. I identified myself and asked what “news organizations” they were with. Webber introduced himself and the rest of the men walked out. The Chronicle reporter later confirmed that some, if not all, of the men were undercover officers. Later, a friend tried to find me in the press room. She walked in and asked if anyone had seen me. A man answered that the room was for working press only. Yes, I know,” she said. “Are you from Space City!?” she was asked. She flashed her Pacifica radio press card and said no, she wasn’t with Space City! Her interrogator was a member of the criminal intelligence division. K.N. July 30, 1971 5
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