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Police Blackmail

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Washington, Nov. 22.- John W. Goff, the prosecuting attorney tor the Lexow committee, who is stopping in Washington for a few days, has given the Evening Star an interview of nearly three columns on the work of the committee. "It was, ns yon muy imagine," he said, "a tremendous tast that confronted ns when -me started the investigation. We knew positively tliat thu pólice departiaent of Xew York, a most magnifican organization as regarás its own strength, was systematioally blackmailing all classos of oitizens. That tremen'dous power had seized udoh the community until it liad obtained complete possussiun. There were two distinct elemente that preventcd. at thc bcgiantng. a fair start, and had escapea uk In erar efforfs to got reliable testimony These werc, flrst, the fears, and second, the npftthy of the citizens. Kverybwly Was Blackmailed. "I 6peak within the bounds of my knowludge when I say that there was not a business man in New York city who had not feit the power of pólice blackinail Therc were perhaps a very few instan ces where honorable men had refused to giv-y their tithos of illegal tax tü the pólice, but fllmost without exception these men were forced out of business. One peculiar feature about the blackmall was that it ppared no one olass, however obscure its calling. I have pai-ticularly in mi nd the Failmakers, who are among the most upright and sturdily honest people in New York. They are mostly retired sea captains, comnianders of the old clipper shipa who have been forced out of btisiness by the introduction of steani, or their son. Not one of these honest men dared to opon his mouth and complain. U'a Not Wise to "Go Higher." "So the question was, what classus Bhould we apply to and appeal to in our crusade. We were urged at times, an1 importunately, ti 'go higher,' and nail the responsibiUty to the sourcc of authority. On this question we held most earncst consultations, and finally decided that it would not be wise or efficacious to do so. Our duty was to arouse the conscience of the people of New York, which hart lor.g been smothered - almost killed. The common people, the voters, the peopls who most feit the oppression of the police. would need to be aroused by ilifferent methods They were to have the UIefEecta of pólice corruption brought to tlieir hearts. (ave Them an Object Lesson. "The gpectacle of a little boy sitting all night on the top step of a pólice station, erying bitterly for his father, who had been unjustly arrested andbrutally beaten by the pólice, meant more to these people than the demoustration that tlie captain had paid large money for his promotion, or that the cemmissioner, perhaps, had been bribed. The common fellows would non notice auch matters.but they would notlcc the tyranny of the pólice over the applB woman, over the peanut roaster, over the bootblack. the newsboy, the keeper of a small sodawater stand, the owners of littlci restaurants- a greac class of honest citizens, striving, htruggling, for a living. Hard to Move tlie Well-to-Do. "The men at the clubs, the more idle olasses of the population, drinking over the fancy bars of the up-town hotels and restaurants, dining at the cafes, rnight possibly bo Interested in the exposure of the high offioial, hut it would not shock them, it would not arouse in them such a feeling of personal resentinent as would lead them to go to the polls and by their votes aid in crushing the power which these things signifled.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News