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Federal Investigation Smacks Of Witch-hunt

Federal Investigation Smacks Of Witch-hunt image Federal Investigation Smacks Of Witch-hunt image
Parent Issue
Day
8
Month
October
Year
1976
OCR Text

Sun City Editor An air of germine sadness swept through the Ebenezer AME Cliurch at 5151 West Chicago Blvd., where the last rites for Deputy Pólice Chief Reginald Curtis Harvel, Sr. were held Monday. Thirty women carried bouquet tributes as the huge crowd paid their respects. In attendance were . members of City Council, civilian Board of Pólice Commissioners, and an untold number of pólice --f rom the top ranks to patrolmetï. both black and white, male and female, including officers from outstate and throughout the city. Neither Mayor Coleman Young nor any representatives of the Mayor were present, however, although it was noted that the mayor may have been out of town on one of his many quests tor funds tor the city of Detroit. Many of tlie moiimeis ariïved well ahead of the memorial service and talked sadly about the whole depressing wave that has swept tliis cornrrranity. Óh, what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive. O The Detroit Sun Andfysls The name of the author of that wise remark doesn't come to mind now, but it is most timely as we view and review the chain of events that hang üke a shroud over this city. From the announcement in ust ihat a DEA investigation was underway into allcged narcotics payoffs involving Frank Blount, the first black pérson to hold the second tofp position in Dctroit's Pólice Department, and otlier top cops . . . To the raid on Blount's home, with the news media convenien'ly there . . . The inclusión of Deputy C'hkf George Bennett as a suspect, accusing him of trying to slip subpenaed tiles to Mayor Young . . . And the shooting death of Deputy Pólice Chief Reginald C. Harvel, whose name is also on the alleged narcotics payoff list. Harvel's death is now being ■called a suicide, despite some strange circumstances surrounding the shooting. All of the above happenings have created much confusión and rage (Continued on Page 2) 1 Federal Investígation Smacks OE Witch-Hunt 'continued from cover) throughout the community, because the names of people they respect have been publicly bandied about as culprits in corruption without giving the citizens substantial evidence to validate the charges. Innuendoes abound. Hints are hurled about by some of the news media to imprint in the minds of the citizens that those so named must be guilty even before the Federal grand jury began calling in people to testify. Up to ihis point, there seems to be a campaign to hold the people named as suspects up for trial in the media. It has all the earmarks of being exactly that. As we said in previous Sun articles, it reeks of a repetition of the old McCarthy witch-hunt era, which destroyed the reputations of many innocent citizens. Citizens of this community have long been weary of narcotics trafficking and the genera! crime wave that has soared in this city, recently reaching the point where their determination to end the menace has drawn many people into a closer relationship with the pólice. More people are cooperating witli the pólice in efforts to elimínate crime than has been the case in a very long time. The hue-andcry of the people is that those guilty of perpetuating the corruption must be ferreted out, regardless of who tliey may be or whatever their position. Bul the people do not want trials in the newspapers, radio and televisión. And those who remember the McCarthy era are most vehement in their rejection of such a practice, to the degree that it hüs served to bring the community closer together wlien they see the heads of people they respect on the chopping block without benefit of a court trial. Meanwhile, during all of this cloak-anddagger intrigue, our information has it that some people who were behind the efforts to . discredit Blount see some things being uncovered that are sure to get pretty sticky and reportedly wish they-could rema in buried. But, as the old saying goes, wlien you start digging in filth, it's bound to stink so loud that you can't hide it. The whole thing takes on the appearance of a territorial gangland war, when the syndicate wants its turf back. The tentacles of the current campaign, according to reports, have spread out into numerous other areas and touch white people as far away as Fort Leavenworth Penitentiary and as close as the Cass Corridor. They embrace such crimes as hi-jacking, prostitution, the numbers racket and others. At least two bars in the Cass Corridor are implicated. Moreover, even before Willie Volsan, whom the media constantly reminds the people is the brother-in-law of Mayor Young and the former husband of Harvel's sister, said he feared for his life, rumors were circulating that a contract was out on him. Volsan is reportedly an informer for the Feds who is alleged to have been involved in selling narcotics at Young's Lounge and Barbeque, once partly owned by Mayor Young and his brother.George. Volsan was reportedly a key witness but now, according to a Detroit News article, he and reputed drug dealer Kenny Garrett "are of virtually no significance at all." Volsan has not yet testified before the grand jury. Strange? George Bennett.who has been accused in the media of taking subpoenaed files belonging to the grand jury to the Mayor, insists that what he took were copies of a subpoena and his own notes on what happened. He couldn't have been sneaking them in because he presented them in front of the parties present. According to our reports, it is believed that Volsan has not been called to testify because he said Bennett is not involved in any of the hanky-panky he previously cited. Despite the report that Harvel committed suicide, most people in the community we talked to do not believe that was the case at all. And f rom this quarter, it certainly doesn't look that way. One account said that Mrs. Harvel rushed down to the bathroom when she heard the first shot and found Harvel slumped over. She couldn't arouse him, so she went to the telephune to cali 911. Before she could talk to the operator, the story goes, another shot was fired. Is it possible that he roused himself that quickly and shot himself again? Did someone who knew him well and knew how to get into the house, do just that and wait for him to come downstairs? Then, too, what about paraffin tests? Were any taken? It seems they would have performed tests on his hand in view of the powder burns found on his paja ma jacket. Many people are talking about that and want a further probe into Harvel's death. They are posing the question: How could Harvel commit suicide twice? Moreover, the word is circulating that the DEA should also be investigated. That isn't a bad idea at all. To créate a wave of suspicion about people by innuendo is sheer cruelty. If people are notified that certain persons are under investigation, they should also be presented with substantiating evidence before the destruction of the character and reputation of an innocent party is risked.