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June 21, 1969 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1969-06-21

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Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan

The total irresponsiblity of the police

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editoriols printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. Thi must be noted in oil reprints.



Whose streets are they really?

THE POSSIBILITIES of continued dis-.
order upon South University remain
substantial - especially considering the
vast influx of "weekend warriors" that
can be expected to swell the ranks of
spectators. "Teeny-boppers" from t h e
outskirts of the city as well as cyclists,
-youth, and tourists from Detroit may
very well demand a re-enactment of this
past week's dramatic confrontations.
The prospects for another peaceful
evening are severely jeopardized by in-
dividuals who come merely to observe
the erotic nature of the street-people and
freak life-style, freaks and teeny boppers
who come only to exhibit and defy, and
the curious who come to see Doug Harvey
send his storm troops to the street en
masse again. Their presence only enhanc-
es Harvey's chances for renewed vio-
lence, and seriously endangers the lives
of others. A sensible and rational ap-
proach would be for people to keep off
South 'university altogether, yet, who is
to say who has the right to walk the
A JUDGEMENT of the whole affair re-
quires an understanding of the partici-
pants and of the influences that act upon
their lives. The grounds of the University
and the beauty of the campus have always
attracted an/cl fascinated youth f r o m
outlying areas of the city and from other
parts of the state. They imitate the styles
of life upon the campus as they, revel in
the forms of entertainment designed to
amuse and divert students from the aca-
demic grind. University communities are
becoming,. aside from their academic
character, libertarian communes for
those that have become dissatisfied with
mass-regimented life-styles and motor-
ized group life.
South University provides, perhaps;
the only meeting and gathering place for
teen-aged youth that urgently need the
security of the congregation, lest the un-
settling, intense, and powerful temper of
our times push them to spiritual death.
Our age of hopelessness and futility
fortunately harbors within it vast sourc-
es of dynamism and rebirth that provide
new visions to replace sterile dreams.
Many have found emotional security and
hope within the confines of hippie, re-
volutionary, and "freak" life-styles that
offer a comfortable niche, ideology, and
world-view. This is similar to the sub-
stantial numbers of careerists and pro-
fessionals who continue to adhere to the
tnaterialistic aspects of the American
Wream, and "bear from within" the soc-
ial norms of the middle-class model of
There is no question that many find
the behavior of the South U. "freaks" and
"teeny-boppers" objectionable. After all,
some have criminal records, some drop
Editorial Staff
MARCIA ABRAMSON ...................... Co-Editor
S'TEVE ANZALONE................... Co'.Edltor
MARTIN HIRSCHMAN .. Summer Supplement Editor
JIM FORRESTER .......... Summer Sports Editor
PHIL ETZ .....Associate Summer Sports Editor

acid, smoke pot, or at the least, drink
openly and publicly. They may often seem
obsessed with the obscene and vulgar
which appears reprehensible to the mor-
alists and ludicrous to the large numbers
of free spirits that float in our midst.
All of this does not by any means,
however, diminish their equal and valid
claim .to frequent such areas. And most
tolerate the rampant commercial exploi-
tation that is everywhere evident along
South University. Most tolerate the bur-
densonie presence of steadily-moving
traffic through their "mall."
For it is a mall in an informal sense,
and it has only been their rapidly-in-
creasing numbers combined with police
and city unwillingness to recognize t h e
peculiar stature of the street - instead,
crying of the need to protect the rights
of motorists - has brought on t h e
crisis and its subsequent tension-ridden
THE CHANGING complexion of the com-
munity only illustrates the precarious
state of the fate of the University. Left-
ists may rant and rave at the bourgeois
flavor of the University, and the number
of imperfections and abuses of the school'
seendaily to be mounting, but the es-
sential fact remains that it is more than
anything else a resting place for t h e
dreams, aspirations, and hopes of thous-
ands of people. Good people, many of
whom oppose the existing order of society
as passionately as the freaks, yet h a v e
reconciled themselves to the overriding
need for a congruence of means and ends,
and have rejected violence, demogoguery,
and totalitarian control as an unnatural
state of man.
Harvey's performance to date indi-
cates that he will make every effort to
bait the community into confrontation in
order to secure and hasten his political
standing and future. The handful of
freaks or street-people, or whatever, who
seek disorder in order to secure a
confrontation of defiance, the ones who
were so painfully evident Tuesday or
Thursday nights, do not have any claim
to speak for the community, nor are like-
ly in the future to obtain one. T h e i r
actions only make Harvey's intent that
much easier, and thereby endanger inno-
cent lives as well a their own.
MORE THAN anything else, then, we
must recognize the fundamental need
to discipline ourselves. The city has prov-
en itself unable to perform this task with-
out a return of IIarvey's storm troopers.
The action displayed Thursday evening
by Mendel, Wheeler, Feuerwerker, Liver-
more, and others - faculty who intend to
make sure that an unhindered flow of
traffic occurs - cannot be praised
If we are to prevent another display
of Harvey's fascism, responsible direction
of the community must take place in-
cluding the creation of a mechanism to
quell the rowdier spirits within us -
whose course can only lead to massacre.

To the Editor:
campus late Tuesday night was
more frightening as a revelation
to me, than it was as a deplorable
event to witness.
The revelation is the more
frightful because it was obvious
on too many occasions during the
disturbance that, far from "con-
trolling" the situation, the police
were, in fact, contributing 'to the
disorder - completely ignoring
the most common courtesy to the
most quiet persons or group(s) on
the scene.
Let me explain that, being more
conventional t h a h radical as a
University law student, I believe
that my initial reactions Tuesday
night were tojustify the "need"
for police action in the situation
then at hand.
But let me now protest, all my
good-liberal conventions notwith-
standing, that the clear respon-
sibility for Tuesday night's dis-
order lies with - and only with -
the police.
To the extent that I suspect it
was our "o w n" Sheriff Harvey
who called in the troopers from
areas external to Washtenaw
County, I personally do care to
feel that the sheriff himself is
more responsible for the disorder's
growth and nourishment than is
any other person. I suggest that:
- He irresponsibly called in po-
lice authorities over whom he ex-
ercised no control once they were
on the scene;t
- that he invited these author-
ities to the scene utterly failing to
establish any advance understand-
ing as to coordination of commun-
ication, movements, and actions'
between the several forces; and
- that it was this gross negli-

I personally witnessed five in-
cidents Tuesday that I believe
spawned; the eventual raids and
barricades on East University Ave-
(1) At 11 p.m. President Flem-
ing was convincing non-Ann Ar-
bor authorities in front of Clem-
ents Library that they would best
aid the situation at hand by re-
moving themselves to the business
section of South University Ave-
nue, where "the trouble" was cen-
After the passage of 40 minutes,
Fleming succeeded and the troop-
ers (I believe from Monroe Coun-
ty) retreated. Within seconds
thereafter, as Fleming just began
to discuss the situation with angry
students, a contingent of Ann Ar-
bor police launched a gas attack
on the crowd at Clements Library.
That attack was from the rear
and it was completely without
warning or notice to disperse.
Superficially, it smacked of police
bad faith - of a police set up.
That attack, unprovoked and ar-
bitrary, did m o r e to galvanize
otherwise merely curious students
against "The Badges" than did"
any other possible cause of the
disruption that followed.
(2) A NUMBER OF officers
stood across the avenues, palm-
ing their clubs with considerable
deliberance. If our police were, in
fact, trained to deal with mass
tension situations, they should
have learned early that their re-
sponsibility is to display authority
calmly, and with an impartial ap-
No trained officer, in such a sit-
uation, should ever convey by phy-
sical mannerisms, a desire to have
just one man move so that the

against that force which, while
engaged in such irresponsible con-
duct, is indeed "piggish." S u c h
conduct, again, threatens m o r e
violence and does not help to re-
store peace.
(4) RUNNING DOWN East Uni-
versity Avenue at about 2 a.m.
was not what I wouldcall a "force
of law-enforcing policemen." Rath
of 1 a w - enforcing policemen."
Rather, from my vantage point.
what I saw was a screaming;
shouting, whooping, rampaging
mob of about 50 uniformed police-
men who needed only pinto ponies
to be cast as the meanest Indians
of a TV Western movie.
Their clubs were swinging as
they shouted war-whoops, and
they might just as easily have
been chasing ,Vietcong.
Again, no self-respecting citi-
zen can give such conduct any
credit for "controlling" a situa-
tion. Such irresponsible, out-on-a-
hunt action by police against un-
armed, angered, chanting citizen-
ry provides a greater propensity
to join the angry chant against
"the mob" of policemen, rather
than to help in the effort to re-
sume sone semblance of "order."
Only the police are responsible for
such feelings.
(5) Finally, there is the case of
raw stupidity by police in which
students leaving central campus
libraries were clubbed by police
"on t h e Diag" without warning
and without provocation. The li-
braries were ordered closed, and
thanks to the police authority's
unmitigated stupidity, students
obeying an order to leave libraries
were assaulted by clubs and gas
upon entering the Diag.
Simply being present - existing

of t h e i r breacl
through arbitrary

of public trust
beatings a n d

imally qualified to hold the public
trust the people of Washtenaw
County have placed in him, one
reasonably would expect that:
-he would by now have seen to
it that his men w e r e properly
trained on mass tension control:
- that, prior to inviting various
outside authorities in to assist himn
in keeping the peace. he would
have established a coordinated
communications/control system to
prevent elements within his "col-
lectivized force" from being at
odds against themselves:
- that he would educate h i s
men in the law that they rightful-
ly may employ only such force as
is necessary to restore order, short
of brutally beating unconscious
women on the streets, and
- that he would at least in-
struct his men that before beating,
gassing or 'taking any affirmative
action against citizens they must
give warning.
THE BULK OF US admonish
the young revolutionaries who seek
to "destroy the system" that they
must realize that any human so-
ciety must live by rules, because
,people collectively need rules to
protect themselves, their property,
and their rights f r o m the en-
croachment of others,
How may we truly expect that'
argument to merit consideration
by the yippies when our police, as
the "enforcers" of society's rules,
go about' their business ignoring
those r u 1 e s which appertain to
them in their job: namely, that

civil disruption by means of con-
trolled coercion, respectful of the
people's rights, r a t h e r than
through unmitigated, raw, and
brutally unnecessary force - the
"police riot."
-John Paul Davis, '69 Law
Junce 18
Bull fighting'
To the Editor:
"BULLFIGHTING" is becoming
a popular sport in Ann Arbor. The
stupid but dangerous bovines are
taunted and baited until they
charge at their tormentors in blind
rage. The picadors stand in the
path of the churning hooves for
a moment of bravado before deft-
ly side - stepping t h e. clumsy
But the bullfights in Ann Arbor
lack the beauty of their Spanish
counterparts. Here we see no mat-
ador's grace, but only the picador's
I can't decide which party to
these contests is most disgusting.
-D. M. Gilliam, Grad
June 19
Luu g enforcement
To the Editor:
to anyone who observed at close
range the relationship involved in
the Tuesday evening riot near the
Engin Arch that the students
were hated in an extreme manner
by Sheriff Harvey's forces on duty
there, and almost as much so by
the Ann Arbor police.
Offhand, I couldn't see much of
a race relations aspect present, but
what I did see I could say .was
probably more of a blind hatred
on the part of the armed men.
Why was such a blind hatred so
noticeable? It would need more
than a race and ethnic relation-
ship statementito depict tle sit-
uation. Could it have been a fi-
nancial comparison aspect that
needs more evaluating?
Many persons are extremely sen-
sitive on that basis, without doubt,
and bne c a n easily understand,
how many students aretmuch less
disadvantaged than the" armned
ien pursuing them. It does seem
necessary that t h i s comparison
aspect be much more thoroughly
looked into, because I saw 'one of
the armed men put his roundrod
around the back of a student and
puUl him up tight and drag him
away about 50 feet.
I FEARED the student's neck
would be injured or broken ; was
about 8 feet away and I did not
hear the student say anything -
he was looking, like the others. He
did not seem to resist. The only
explanation I could offer was that
of a blind hatred for the student
involved. I believed that actions in
a riot were not to be on that basis
surely-most certainly not by the
armed 'men whom we asue to
be well-trained against that pos-
sibility. I think it must go into
the field of over-reaction, heard
so often nowadays.
It seemed to me that much of
_hat I saw was "advertising" -
smoke bombs, tear gs, the dog I
saw, the up-raised guns or rifles,
etc. - all seem to be in evidence
to impress usof the necessity of
keeping armed men on duty, and
justifying shighersalaries. The
days of conservative police work
seem gone - into limbo even.
THE UNIVERSITY will simply
have to obtain better control over
all this - it's too easy to say no
to the younger people. I don't hate
those younger people, period, but I
feel some ill-advised persons do.
And that, really, is too ridiculous
for words - they'll be the gradu-
ates of the future, and many will
be running things!
Of c o u r s e (as I said above)
Sheriff Harvey a n d his helpers

went through their usual act, in-
cluding their pet dog, but we'll live
through all that: in a few years
we may even giggle a bit, as rem-
iniscenses occur.
But wait a few months until the
taxpayers read of how the Board
of Supervisors, the City Council,
and the State Legislature are
"passing along'' the bills for what
I describe as mostly law enfore-
ment nonsense!
-Lewis C. Ernst
June 18




gence, focusing on communication,
that allowed the police opportun-
ity to alienate many impartial ob-
servers by acting arbitrarily, by
acting in a contradictory manner
as to different authorities as little
as 50-yards distant, by acting with
malice and with unnecessarily
brutal force in specific situations.
WHAT I 'SAW ON South and
East University avenues Tuesday
night was what the National Com-
mission on Violence has been tell-
ing us about; a Police Riot.
The tactics were like those I
saw via TV in Chicago last August.
Unmitigated police stupidity pro-
voked the situation and, by abus-
ing their authority, the police suc-
ceeded in making the situation
worse, not better. Control would
more quickly have been achieved
had the police been present in far
fewer numbers.

club he holds can be used. Too
many police on South University
taunted students and other civil-
ians by their simple - yet so de-
liberate - mannerism of palming
that club nervously - and, sadly,
eagerly. It was that old grammar
school psyche: "c'mon kid - just
move, and see what I'll do to
you . . ." It was threatening vio-
lence, not controlling or imposing
a peace.
(3) I saw 'ne girl clubbed un-
conscious, and I watched as a po-
liceman continued to whack her
neck five or six times after she
had fallen passive to the sidewalk.
Had I a brick at the time, my con-
cern for the helpless girl subject-
ed to such an unnecessary beating
would have justified my con-
science in giving the cop some of
his own medicine.
Again, such police conduct only
galvinizes self-respecting people

- seemed reason ,nough to just-
ify a crack across the neck or
back. Unless police authorities did
order such conduct, - the only
plausible explanation is that the
individual policemen were indeed
"out-on-a-hunt." Everything that,
resembled a student and moved
was fair game. Again., what self-
respecting citizen tolerates such
treatment from "responsible au-
Only the police are responsible
for their own arbitrariness, stu-
pidity, and ultimate abuse of au-
thority. To that extent they
should only expect to bet called'
"pigs" by a society that places
premiums on good conduct and on
giving consideration to other in-
They should in no way expect a
peaceable restoration of order af-
ter alienating the trust of those of
the majority who are the victims

notice is given before any threat-
ening coercive action.,
We ask youth to accept a society
of rules, yet we! allow our police
to' beat, poke, and gas human be-
ings without so much as expect-
ing th'at they give notice before
commencing such harmful acts.
After Tuesday's police response
to a relatively simple social situ-
ation, Ann Arborites, MAVichigand-
ers - indeed, all Americans -
have some disturbing questions to
reconcile. 4
It is past time for us to "talk"
about our police. It is well into the
time when it is incumbant on con-
cerned citizens to begin to demand
(and give) m o r e money, better
legislation, higher standards, bet-
ter tiaining programs, and effee-
tiveĀ° civilian .review mechanisms
for police conduct.
no doubt is not so displeased with
Tuesday's extravaganza. No doubt,
he has won some'confidence from
many of his constituents by his
"full use of power" to restore "or-'
der" to campus. He needed that
"victory," perhaps, to reinforce
public confidence in him as the
unsolved coed murders continue to
go unsolved.
Here's one apology for the rec-
ord, Sheriff: in my book y o u r
competence in office is even lower
after seeing the type of "law and
order" you and your men impose.
Surely this society is yet cap-
able of achieving o r d e r during

At, the risk of sounding reasonable...


(EDITOR'S NOTE: The author is pire -
ident of, Student Government Council.)
Daily Guest Writer
THE DISTORTION of the events of
Tuesday and Wednesday night in
the news stories and editorials of the
press - all the press - requires some
answer. The fact that the situation on
the streets put the authorities in an
impossible position does not excuse
the actions that they took.
Mayor Harris seems to be unwilling
to face the facts about the disorders on
Tuesday and Wednesday night. There
are two clear cases of either factual
error or ignorance that distort his per-
spective. He stated that most of the
people on South University Tuesday
night were not students and that the
Ann Arbor police acted with restraint
- even if no other police did.
From eyewitness reports, it is clear
chat Ann Arbor police charged the En-
gineering Arch and routed a group of
students who had peacefully assemb-
led on tJniversity property only after
the crowds blocking South University
had been dispersed.
Indeed, Deputy Chief Olson publicly
takes the credit for ordering that
r..a.,ara r'lfl..,. armnn rw r.'ianbz h n, d

The mayor has stated repeatedly that
the city cannot allow a small group to
take' over city streets by force and
violence, that the city's authority must
be preserved. And yet who was out
there leading the charge to defend
the city's authority? - Sheriff Har-
vey, over whom Harris claimed Wed-
nesday night to have no control or au-
If Harris is so concerned over pre-
serving city authority, why doesn't he
publicly appeal to the governor to
keep Harvey in line, to defend the'
city's authority from encroachment by
a madman who enjoys street con-
frontations because he has more guns
than the street people?
Why did Harris run for mayor
promising real change to the student
voters who turned out for him, if he
knew that he could do nothing w i t h
Doug Harvey, the mayor de facto of
Ann Arbor and any other town where
he can send his deputies.
The answer is that it serves Harris's
image as a compassionate liberal to
be mildly disapproving of police bru-
tality, while Harvey does the d i r t y
work and provides a perfect scape-
goat. By making arbitrary and untrue

dents was gassed on his front lawn,
he seev's to have realized that he
could no longer successfully dodge be-
ing involved and came out into the
streets. But the facts of Tuesday
and Wednesday night indicate that
more vigorous action from the pres-
ident was necessary to protect t h e
student body than simply wandering
around and ineffectually preaching
sweet reason.
Repeatedly, columns of police in-
vaded University property and dis-
persed groups of students who were
notrioting and who never tried to at-
tack police. The police arrested on
felony charges students whose only
crime was to be studying at the UGLI
on the wrong. night. It is clear that
Fleming's statement that the police
were acting appropriately was effec-
tively an authorization for them to
consider rioters any students assemb-
led near South University for what-
ever purpose. If after finding out what
went on, he no longer condoned this
type of search-and-destroy mission,
why wasn't the University in .court
seeking an injunction against arbitra-
ry use of the police?
THE RE~AL . A TIO~TN I wouildilike

ing the beating or killing of apolitical
people who simply hate the naked face
of our police state.
It is not a radical action to provoke
a massacre.
The street actions have no deeper
political meaning than the much-de-
served obscenities shouted at the po-
lice, and a glimmering insight into the
facade behind which liberals like
Fleming and Harris operate. For, the
majority of the people there, even that
represents an awakening conscious-
ness. We have to learn about repres-
sion and deception before we can
know how to fight it.
Tuesday night's confrontation was
an emotional thing sparked by in-
competent and heavy-handed use of
police. The people have articulated no
political demand, and to spur them on
to further struggle is sheer egotism,
the manipulation of a spontaneous
event for thei political purposes of the
radical minority.
As one of that minority, J share
those purposes; but for radicals to as-
sume that every violent confrontation
with police is another "vanguard" ac-
tion is the silliest kind of wishful
thinking. Any attempt to add political

pect the curious bystanders to come.
The more risks we face, the more
likely they are to show up. But there
is no necessity for anyone who really
gives a damn about the politics of the
street to come and provide a show for
the entertainment of the public, for
the show is to no one's benefit; by now
everyone knows that the police will go
to the limits of action that their su-
periors permit.
As long as Mayor Harris and other
'"good liberals' are condoning force,
with a big assist from Harvey, we
must face the fact that the powers of
repression that they possess are great-
er than our power to resist, no matter
how extreme a form of collective de-
fense we might be foolish enough to
At the risk of seeming reasonable, I
think that those who wish to accomp-
lish anything political - that is not
simply ego gratification -- must real-
ize that retreat is in order when it is
the only course that leaves us able to
act on the real political questions in
the future.
These real questions are how the




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