August 30, 1907


Men Who Had Once Transgressed the
Law Declare the Police Will
Not Permit Them to
Live Upright

What appears to be a flagrant case of police oppression occurred in police court yesterday. Three young men, who, so far as the police know, have been leading correct lives of late, had been arrested on suspicion and were held on the indefinite charge of "investigation." The young men were Virgil Dale, Frank Smith and Thomas O' Neal.

When the men were arraigned before Judge Young, Detective Edward Boyle said:

These men are bad ones. They have all done time, they don't work and they are hop fiends."

"I never smoked hop in my life," said O'Neal, "and I am working now."

"I can prove that I am working, too," said Smith.

"I have been here but eight days," said Dale. "When I was younger I mixed in bad company and committed a crime. I confessed it before a justice and was fined. My mother lives here. No matter what I have been I still desire to see my mother. On account of the crime I committed I am picked up and held for investigation every time I get in town. Ever since I have been here I have been at home putting down carpets, but last night I ventured out and was arrested. I have been jobbed here before, in this court. I have done nothing on earth to be arrested for."

Inspector Charles Ryan entered the court room at this moment and Detective Boyle said:


"Judge Young, this is Inspector Ryan. Listen to what he has to say."

"We haven't anything particularly against these men, except that they are bad ones," Ryan said. "We have pictures of the two of them and they are hop fiends."

Again came the denial from the men that there was no such evidence and they explained that their pictures had been taken on a similar occasion when they were arrested "for investigation" but were released.

"What do you want done with them?" asked Judge Young, who had listened with interest.

"Fine them $500 and give them a stay to leave town," suggested Boyle.

"I will go," said each man, "but I have done nothing and do not intend to break the law."

Believing that he was following the custom of the court, Judge Young assessed the $500 fines and ordered the men released so they could leave town.

Just as they started to leave the court room, however, they were all huddled together, rearrested before the judge and placed again in the holdover.

"What's all that for?" asked Judge Young. "I thought it was agreed that those men should go? One of those men has a mother here, and I don't blame him or any other man for wanting to see his mother."


"It's the first time I have ever said so in this court," spoke up Fred Coon, city attorney, "but I have seen this same things many times, and said nothing. It strikes me that this is a straight 'job' on these men because, in years past, they have done nothing wrong. There is no charge now against them."

"I don't understand such proceedings" said Judge Young, "and I want to say that in this court it looks mighty shady. I don't like it at all. Instead of recording fines and stays against these men, I shall make a clean record of 'discharged' in each case."

That made no difference, however. Once they had sinned, and they must suffer for it. Dale, in particular, was very frank in his statement to the court about himself.

"When a man has once done wrong," said Dale, sadly, "the people might help him to live a better life, but the police won't let him. Once in my life I was convicted on my own confession. For that I have been made a roamer on the face of the earth, no place to lay my head, no place to call home -- though I have a home, and a mother here in this city. Is it right? Is it just?"

After court Inspector Charles Ryan was asked why the men had been rearrested when the court had released them on a fine suggested by a detective and concurred in by him.

"We are just holding them for investigation," he said.


"Have you anything against them?" he was asked.

"No," he said, "we are just holding them for show up -- investigation is the only charge.

"Will any charge be placed against these men?" was the next question.

"We have none," he replied.

It is charged by a majority of the men who have sinned and fallen into the hands of the police that no matter how hard they try to reform and live upright lives, the police won't permit them to go in peace. The fact that a man has once done wrong damns him forever in the eyes of the police, even though he may have explated his crime by long hours of weary servitude. Ex-criminals declare that the greatest foes they have to right living are the police.