July 25, 1907


"Don't Do It Again," Warns the
Mayor -- Preacher Who Caused
the Arrests Interrogated
by Commissioners.

Two young boys, Jesse Lynch, residing at 2106 Belleview, and his chum, John Rafferty, living next door, gave Sergeant Seldon and Policeman Barton a fright yesterday in the police board room. By way of a by-product, the boys had the fun of hearing the mayor bore in on John Hart, who said he was the "commanding officer" of the Red Cross mission at Twenty-first and Belleview.

The boys had been arrested on a charge of disturbing a religious meeting. Six or eight neighbors were on hand to testify that they had been sitting on their porches watching each other and the boys for an hour or more, so they were able to say there had been no disturbance. The policemen's defense was that "Commanding Officer" Hart had directed them to arrest the boys, "and some of them," said M. G. Hammon, "were not more than 7 years of age."

"I think there were some little fellows in the gang. I got nine," said the policeman. Afterward his sergeant admitted locking them in a cell to scare them. The bad impression this made on the commissioners was wiped out when the sergeant said he had refused to let the "commanding officer" swear out a warrant, but that he had turned the boys loose.

"I do not like that sort of thing," Commissioner Gallagher said.

"That is exactly the way I feel about it," the mayor echoed. "I do not want little boys locked up. I do not even want them arrested if it can be avoided. Here we find this preacher telephoning for the police to rout a gang. Officer Barton comes on the scene, finds two excellent boys, so this testimony every bit shows, sitting peacefully chatting. They are arrested and in the march to the station seven others are picked up. This is not right. Don't do it again." Policeman Barton said he had supposed his duty would compel him to arrest on information filed by a reputable citizen.

"But not women or children for trivial things like this," Commissioner Gallagher said.

"This was supposed to end the case, when the "commanding officer" returned to the attack. He wanted to know if the boys could train dogs to go into his mission and break up the meetings.

"That is not what the commissioners ought to settle," said a Mrs. Parks. "What you ought to settle is whether or not Preacher Hart has the right to shoot into a crowd of boys with a revolver."

"It was a cannon firecracker," the "commander" quickly said.

"It was a revolver, for I saw you loading it after you had fired it, and you put it under a pillow. I could see through my window and yours," Mrs. Parks asserted. By this time the mayor was sitting up and taking notice.

"Let us hear about this shooting," he said, but he heard two sides and had to take his choice. In the end the commissioners decided that Policeman Barton had not been guilty of anything in the arrest of the children. The Red Cross mission "commanding officer" was warned that he could not make another blanket raid on the boys about his church.