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Worse Than St. Petersburg

Worse Than St. Petersburg image
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You may bc surprised wheil I say that New York onder the rule of the pólice department was far worse as regards the individual comfort of citizens I than St. Petersburg uilder the most j lent pólice regime. This was accidentally ; illustrated by a witness who took the stand one day. He was a Pole who had been sent to Siberia as a result of the Pol ish insurrection. He had escaped and reached this country, and about a year after his arrival he was unjustly arrested and cruelly beaten. His story was told with an irresistible quaintness and pathos. When he was asked how the pólice of New York comparad witli those of St. Petersburg he answered that the Russian pólice are gentle and humane compared with those of our city. "Asan illustration of the tremendous power wielded by this organization 1 will refer to the difficulty we had in obtainlng witnesses to go upon the stand and swear to facts that they had brought to us in private. At flrst this applied to all classes, both reputable and disreputable. When appealed to they would claim that if they sliould testify the pólice woultl hound tliem out of the city. When asked if thcy coulcl not go elsewhereandestablish theinsclves in 'business, they woulil reply fchat tlio persecution of the pólice of New York ïollow them to every city ia the country"The lower classes of citizens were made to believe that blackmail was lawful and regular. ïhey caine to consider the captain of their precinct as the source of' all municipal authority. In effect he was Kuch to them. You ask me if I think tin power is now crushed. I do, most einphattcally. I think that the public consclence, having once been aroused, tliu machinery of thia nauseous system exposed, will be a perpetual bar against the development of such an organization in the future. I consider the great dangerto uur form of government lies in che possibility of municipal niisrule. "Centralizution, I foeUovc, as this lnvestigation has proved, is the danger of the day. I believe that the example of New York will serve to check this tendency toward eorruption and pólice dominatioii. I cannot answer the question as to where the blackmail money went or in what proportions tt was distributed, for that is a personal matter which would forcé me to mention ñames. Nqr can I teil you Just what linesthe committee will take upon the resumption of its work a week from next Monday. "There are Btill many poiuts to gate and n great deal of rounding up- finishing off, as it were. Go up tügherf I cnnnot say. We wül try to finish thework by the Ist of Jnnuary. Then I shall be obltged to leave the committee to assume the duties uf iny oflfScc."


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News