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April 13, 1969 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-04-13

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the.

Sunday

daily

"'And as our social systena could A
not subsist without the sense of
justice and injustice, God has
given us the pow-er to acquire
lthat sense.

Voltaire

Number 6 Night Editor: Bill Lovely
ow the Bethel shoot-out became the Crockett

April 13, 1969
case

Johannes Spreen:
"Certainly e v e r y on e de-
serves equal protection under
the law. But this means the
police officer, too. And Judge
Crockett has not treated the
policeman equally in his court-
room.
By HOWARD KOHN
DETROIT
N COURTROOM No. 3 Judge George W: Crockett,
Jr., leans back almost at a full 180-degree angle and
stares resolutely at the ceiling before passing sentence,
as if thinking of the four months he once spent in jail.
Crockett is a graying 59-year-old gavelist, one of 13
in Detroit's brownstone Recorder's Court. Defendants
here are usually black and poor. Prosecutors are white
and comparatively powerful. Except for Crockett, Court-
room No. 3 could be a microcosm of America the black
and white.
But Courtroom No. 3 is different because the judge
is black and powerful; he protects the rights of indigent
defendants, making prosecutors and policeman uncom-
fortable and unappreciative. Two Sunday afternoons ago
he said "no" to Prosecutor William Cahalan and Police
Commissioner Johannes Spreen.
Spreen and Cahalan wanted 12 black separatists
remanded into custody because traces of gunpowder had
been found on their hands. Crockett jailed two of the
men, released a third on $1000 personal bond and loosed
the other nine because the nitrate tests had been given
without benefit of counsel and the evidence was inadmis-
sable in court.
BECAUSE HE IS also black and because a white
policeman had been killed, Crockett was catapulted
into controversy-even though Supreme Court guide-
lines support his decision.
The police originally arrested 141 members of the
Republic of New Africa and the New Bethel Baptist
Church janitor after two related shootouts late Saturday
night.
Crockett was called to the First Precinct police station
at 5 a.m. Sunday by Rep. James del Rio (D-Detroit) who
was angry because all 142 persons arrested were being
held incommunicado.
Crockett set up court in the First Precinct and pro-
cessed 39 of the 142 persons. He released the janitor out-
right. He released 16 persons on a $100 personal bond to
reappear at noon. He remanded the other 22 to custody
until noon.
Cahalan ordered the re-arrest of one of the men
released; and Crockett cited him for contempt charging
him with "racist intentions" - a proceeding later
dropped.
Crockett then adjourned the informal court and con-
ferred with Cahalan, Spreen and Jay Nolan, an assistant
prosecutor. The four agreed to release all but 12 of the

William Cahalan:
>.: "I said to Judge Crot
'You will only aggravate
situation by doing this.' E
didn't listen and, went c
and released men we had
reason to keep in custody
persons arrested by noon. Then at the noon session in
Courtroom No. 3, Crockett went against the prosecution's
wishes and set nine more free.
Monday's Detroit Free Press reported the entire night's
proceeding with minute-by-minute detail except for one
glaring error. The Free Press said Crockett had released
103 blacks without Cahalan's consent.,
The Detroit News made the same mistake and repeat-
ed it several times during the week.
Free Press editors were naturally chagrined at their
inaccuracy but point out that Crockett did not come
forward until Thursday of that week to correct the mis-
understanding.
ONE OF THE reasons for all the ensuing excitement
is Crockett himself, a living legend of singleminded
idealism, more revered or hated than understood.
Critics say he wants to be a black political leader.
Friends say that he is already a black hero. Some say
he is highhanded and revels in public conflict. Others
that he has a self-assurance otfen mistaken for arro-
gance.
Some say he is a legal sophist protecting copkillers
on a technicality. Others that he is a studiously fair
judge.
But few dispute that he fights for the underdog -
the poor black man. The courtroom has always been
his battleground; and from the high bench he has
particularly challenged the impeccability of police ' as
witnesses.
This has earned him praise from an 88-page Law
School report of the 1967 post-riot court proceedings as
the only Recorder's Court judge to act impartially. But
it has also gained him infamy with the police.
Against this backdrop, the cross-examination of
Courtroom No. 3 often becomes the dialogue of 12th
Street, and vice versa. And Courtroom No. 3 becomes an
excellent thermometer in measuring the temperature of
simmering black-white anger in a city which has hosted'
this century's worst two race riots.
Thus Crockett's decision of two weeks ago is inevit-
ably couched in terms of a riot that could have been.
"I was elected by people dissatisfied with the level
of justice administered in these courts," Crockett ex-
plains, "To that extent I have a mandate and 'a respon-
sibility.
"By releasing black people that the police were hold-
ing incommunicado, I hope I prevented more people tak-
ing the law into their own hands."
Cahalan disagrees: "If anything, Crockett just ag-
gravated the situation."

The argument is moot. Most of the 142 blacks were
not from Detroit, and their presence in jail for an ex-
tended period would not have had the same impact
on the city as it would had they been local.
Still this incident is unique because a black man
who acted to allay a tense black-white confrontation won
respect from black militants and abuse from white of-
ficials.
RUT WHAT Crockett did is as much a function of his
own controversial lifestyle as it is an indication
of Detroit's widening racial schism. Much of the recent
controversy was as concerned with Crockett personally
as with the facts of the shoot-out.
Crockett was a radical labor lawyer in the 1930-40's,
before the UAW became image-conscious and Walter
Reuther purged the "pink" elements. Crockett broke
with Reuther in 1948, setting up Detroit's first inter-
racial law firm with Maurice Sugar, one of the historic
figures of America's labor movement.
In the Smith Act Trial of 1949, Crockett defended 11
alleged Communists in New York where Federal Judge
Harold Median smacked him with a contempt charge for
"goading" the court. He spent four months in the Ash-
land, Ky., prison.
"I don't want to wish prison on my fellow judges,"
he says, "But I think it might do them some good if
they spent time in jail. r
"Maybe they would better understand what it means
to pass down sentences."
Crockett is a graduate of Atlanta's Morehouse College,
Dr. Martin Luther King's alma mater, and a graduate of'
the University's Law School.
He marched in King's civil disobedience demonstra-
tions of the'late 50's and early 60's, staying around to de-
fend those who got arrested and rousirig the Senatorial
wrath of Mississippi's James 0. Eastland.
Back in Detroit he lost a bid for Common Council
in 1964 but won a six-year term to Recorder's Court
in 1966, running both times without UAW endorse-
ments.

4

--Daily-Jay Cassiaty

Judge George W. Crockett, Jr.

A Bunny philosophy: Getting paid for playing girl

By LISA STEPHENS
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Miss stephens, '70, worked as
a Bunny last suinmer at the Detroit Playboy Club.)
AND ON THE EIGHTH DAY, God created the
Bunny Mother to protect and shepherd all
Playboy Bunnies.
For the Detroit Playboy Club he created Mrs.
Lee Wozena, a University graduate who used
to live in Stockwell and who watches over 31
Bunnies.
Not that Bunnies need a guardian angel. Con-
trary to delicious rumors, the Bunny world is
a straight world, straight enough to warm the
heart of the stuffiest mother superior.
No one carts you off unwittingly to The Man-
sion in Chicago. In fact Hef's been to each of
his clubs once: on opening night.
Playboy International is an enormous cor-
poration; and a Bunny inside the club must con-
form to strict rules of decorum and ladylike
behavior.
Nor do Bunnies provide the center foldout
for the magazine. In the entire history of Play-
boy, only three Bunnies have ever been found
with a staple in their navel.
RATHER YOUR function in the Club is that
of a super stewardess or hostess. You serve
drinks, smile, make pleasant conversation, smile,
look pretty, smile, and make sure all the guests
are having an enjoyable evening. Bunnies are
schooled in the geisha tradition of gracious
service, light conversation and making a. busy

swinging. Your feet feel like buckets of cement
and your head like someone's planted an ax in it.
A Bunny needs a very understanding boy-
friend who's willing to take her out on a Tues-
day night. The poor fellow may be able to say
he's got a real live Playboy cottontail for a girl-
friend but damned if he can bring her to a
Saturday night party.
Most girls solve their problem 'by simply get-
ting married (yes, there are married Bunnies).
Or else, like any other American girl they sit
home, do their nails and watch television.
A BUNNY IS A LADY. She represents the
arch-type All-American apple-pie girl-next-
door friendly person. Everything about her con-
duct in the club is governed by regulations. She
is constantly watched by a supervisor while on
duty and a report is sent to the Bunny Mother
each day.
Bunnies receive "merits" for being especially
nice, extra helpful or for volunteering for chari-
ty fund-raising like disc jockey ballgames. You
get "demerits" for tardiness, chipped nail polish
or less-than-perfect anything.
When you accumulate 100 merits, Playboy
gives you a $25 gratis check. When you accumu-
late 100 demerits, they fire you.
You may not touch a Bunny, ever. Even a
pat on the wrist. That may sound like a tall
order for the average American male, but most
men hold up amazingly well. Men who come to
the club want to impress you with their sophis-

mounted on a plaque that says 'Captured Live
at the Playboy Club.' If you like, I'll go get you
one, sir ..."
Getting fresh will get you nowhere.
A BUNNY may never sit down while on duty.
She may "perch"-that is, lean up against
a bar stool or railing if she's not busy-but never
closer than three feet from a customer and then
only if there's a chair arm, bar 'stool or table
between them.
She may not drink in the club under any
conditions, nor may she do so publicly if she
is representing Playboy. She may not at any time
be photographed with a drink or a cigarette in
her hand, nor does she ever do anything in
public to call attention to herself. In short, she
follows all the rules taught in finishing schools.
And those silky-sleek suits? No, they aren't
padded. At least no more than the typically
engineered woman's foundation. They're custom
made of satin for each girl, and are never al-
lowed to go outside the club. They are counted
and locked away by the wardrobe mistress each
day and are cleaned on the premises. When they
are old they are ripped apart and burned. In
the entire history of the Detroit Club, not one
has ever been lost.
BUNNIES ARE, in sum, projecting an image
of an abstraction: the ideal pretty girl next
door. They are the vestal virgins of the 20th
century, made more attractive by their utter

practicing the ordinary and currently denigrated
art of being a girl.
Rather than frustrating men with a look-but-
don't-touch policy, you are often providing men
with a certain amount of security in that un-
availability: they need never have to take the
step of proving themselves. It is "safe" in much
the same way as a young girl's crush on an
unattainable movie star.
BUT WHAT about the girl inside the image?
How does she get to be a Bunny? Does she
become a toy or an object to be used? In an
age of women's liberation, does she remain pn
unwitting slave? Bunnydom can be a rather
spectacular way of beating men at their own
game.
Look at it this way: I can't type. I went to
look for a summer job, and the first thing a
prospective employer asks a girl is: "Can you
type?"
"No. But I speak four languages."
"That doesn't help. Can you type?"
"I'll be getting my B.A. in-"
"Sorry. I'm afraid the only place for women
in our business is in the steno pool."
Or clerking. Or filing. Anything a trained
monkey could do. Why bother?
Women get paid less in executive positions,
too, if they are allowed to advance. Their salary
can be as much as 40-60 per cent less than
their male counterpart. Businessmen will pay
you $100 a week because you're only a girl. But

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