May 2, 1907


Hints That Crooks Were Protected and
That Officers Used Their Influence
in Having a Prisoner Released --
Witness Assaulted on Way Home

"Did not some detectives, on the pay roll of the city, come out to the race track and ask you to protect some pick-pockets, Mr. Hicks?" Police Commissioner A. E. Gallagher yesterday asked George Hicks during the hearing of the Kenney-Huntsman detectives' row.

"I refuse to answer," replied the witness.

"Why do you refuse to answer?" the police commissioner asked.

"I simply refuse at this time, anyhow."

Later on in the hearing Commissioner Gallagher again asked Hicks if he would tell who had asked him to protect crooks at the track. Hicks at the time being in the employ of a private detective agency. Again he declined, but said:

"I had been asked not to bother certain people."

"And did you leave them alone?"

"I did."

"Tell us who they were?" asked the commissioner. Pausing a moment, Hicks said nervously: "I will not tel you now. I will tell the commissioners privately if they like to hear. I will not name them today."

Still later in the inquiry, Commissioner Gallagher asked Hicks what class of people he had been asked to protect.

"Touts," he said, and when, in answer to further questions, he added: "Touts are 'good things.' They point out the jockeys who know the good things. They are good producers. They get the coin. They skin people. They induce strangers to bet on horses. They put only half the money on the horse and keep the half they do not bet, even if the horse loses. If they win, they get half the stakes."

In order to have everything possible before them prior to reaching a conclusion in the hearing, the commissioners withheld their verdict in the hearing until next week, the understanding being that Hicks is to be called to attend an executive session in order that the board may learn who it was asked him to protect rogues at the races and what rogues he protected.

Two weeks ago there was a personal encounter at police headquarters, in which, according to all the evidence given yesterday afternoon, George Hicks had privately sent for Detectives McNamara and Kenney and had told them that there was a man with $5,000 on him in the "red light district." McNamara turned the case over to Kenney. Kenney located the "roller" and saved his money for him. When Kenney and Huntsman, McNamara and a dozen other detectives were making up their reports the morning following the Hicks incident, Huntsman, who was paired with McNamara, taunted Kenney regarding his detective work. Hicks' name was called and Huntsman coupled it with an epithet.

"You did not call him that till you had got his wife's diamond earrings," Kenney says he said, but Huntsman swore that Kenney used the word "copped" instead of "got."

Huntsman called Kenney a liar and was hit over the head by Kenney's revolver. All agreed the blow was a light one. Huntsman had four witnesses to swear that he was seated at a table when struck. Kenney swore that Huntsman had risen and seemed to be in the act of drawing his own revolver. Inspector John Halpin ordered the men to write a full report of the affair and he sent it to Chief of Police John Hayes. The chief sent it to the board and a week ago yesterday the contending detectives, Huntsman and Kinney, appeared and offered to apologize.

Mayor Beardsley refused to let the matter drop there, declaring that he wanted to know about the diamond deal. Everybody was then cited for yesterday, and when the case was called the board room looked like the detective bureau.

The first hour was spent going over the row in the headquarters, but at last Detective Huntsman told about the diamond earrings. He said that three years ago a police character named George Hicks had told him that he, Hicks, owned a pair of earrings which he had pawned to a man named DeJarnette, and added that DeJarnette was about to leave the city.

"He asked me," Detective Huntsman said, "to get the stones, as he would rather I would have them than let the other men have them. Some time before Hicks had been quarantined in a house and I had arranged to have meals sent to him. He was grateful, and I supposed that was why he was wiling to let me have the stones. I met DeJarnette and gave him $208, the amount he had loaned, for the stones. Before that I took them to Harry Carswell, a jeweller, to have them valued. He said they were worth about $225. I owned them three months and then sold them at a profit of $30. I never told Hicks I was making him a loan on them."

Officer Harry Arthur, who heard the negotiations between Huntsman and Hicks, supported this testimony. Kenney, who had started all the row, said he knew nothing about the details. "I never said Huntsman 'copped' the stones," Kenney protested., "I said he 'got' the stones, and so he admits."

This was all prosaic, but things brushed up considerably when George Hicks took the stand. He proved to be a sallow complexioned man of about 30 years, introduced by Detective Thomas McAnany as "a reformed pickpocket who lately has been working for a private detective agency watching crooks at the track sides." After saying that he was the proprietor of three rooming houses, Hicks admitted that he ad been arrested at South McAlester, I. T., saying in his confession: "I was at the depot with some pickpockets. A coat was stolen and I was picked up. They threw me in jail and I had to stand trial."


"Somebody helped you here. Who was it? Commissioner Gallagher asked.

It developed then that Detective Kenney had gone to Chief Hayes and had asked him to write to the authorities at South McAlester in the interest of Hicks. Chief Hayes took the stand to say that all he had done was to write a formal letter asking what charge had been placed against Hicks, the reply coming that Hicks had been in the meantime released.

Hicks, continuing, under examination by the mayor and Commissioner Gallagher, said he had been employed by a private detective agency to watch for crooks at Elm Ridge race track, and that he had been asked by someone to "protect" touts. It was at this time that he refused to answer the commissioners in detail. Detective McAnany, unwilling to let suspicion rest upon himself, demanded:

"Was it me, Hicks?"

Hicks replied that it was not.

"Me?" asked Detective Rafferty.

"And me, and me?" shouted Detective Bates and Arthur and Ghent. Hicks cleared these men, but said he would not answer any other detective who would question him. Detective Huntsman and Hicks were standing side by side before the commissioners' table, and the former interpolated that Hicks was a "hop fiend," evidently to explain his inability to understand the diamond sale.

"You are a liar," said Hicks. The detective's hand became a fist and Detective Bert Brannon was just in time to get between the two to prevent a blow.

Hicks' explanation of the diamond deal was that he merely wanted a loan on them. Differing from Jeweler Carswell, he said his stones were worth $350.

"Where did you get them?" Commissioner Gallagher asked him.

"I bought one from a pawnbroker for $130 and I bought the other from a thief for $140."

"From a thief!" exclaimed the mayor, who was hearing plain talk for the first time.

"From a thief named George," answered the witness. Hicks then told of a detective "raffling" a gun. "He raffled it twice," Hicks said, "and he still has the gun, unless he has got away with it in the last week or two."

"Now, Hicks," said Commissioner Gallagher, "you are not on trial, but the board wants to get at the bottom of this thing. Are you willing to tell us now the names of the detectives who told you to let the touts alone at the race track?"

"I will not tell; I will not tell you now," was the answer.

Detective Huntsman, in examining Hicks in his own behalf, added for the information of the board: "I have known Hicks for seven and a half years. He is a dice man, a notorious circus grafter, a hop fiend and a liar. He is a stool pigeon, telling detectives and police what other crooks are up to. He got pinched in the Indian Territory and Detective Kenney interceded for him."

When policeman Harry Arthur, who was on the detective force at the time of the diamond deal, was on the stand the commissioners got another tip.

"I was at the race track and pinched two crooks," said Officer Arthur. This made me unpopular with John Pryor, who was making a book. After that, I was put on the beat in front of Pryor's place. He said he would have me removed. I was taken off in four nights. Now they have me out in 'the timber.'"

Detective Ghent admitted he had tried to have the inquiry quashed, but said he did so merely because of his being friendly to both Huntsman and Kenney.

At the conclusion of the hearing there was considerable agitation at headquarters over Hicks' admission that he had been asked by some city detectives to protect touts, and much speculation as to whether or not he would keep his word and tell the board in private who had gone to him. Hicks had denied that he ever "reformed," but the detectives explained that it was the practice for private detective bureaus to employ men who had associated with thieves, "gun mobs" and rogues generally, to work with their regular men at track sides, the duties of the reformed men being to point out their early acquaintances in order that they might be put where they could not pick the pockets of patrons of the race meets.