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August 07, 1970 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1970-08-07

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a 4


Page Two-S

Friday, August 7, 1970



Friday, August 7, 1970


fled that I arrived with, I think they
said three passengers in a Volkswagen
That was the'first lie, I was alone in the
car. I started to leave Afro House, Rick
(Dowdell) asked me for a ride to some
girl's house. They (the police) start, they
were sitting about a block down with
their lights out and they started after us.
I mean I guess they were after us be-
cause they didn't have any lights-at
first they didn't have any lights, then
they didn't have the red light on. They
didn't try to stop us, you know, when thev
say they did. At the time they did try. to
stop us I didn't pay them any attention,
because I had-you know-I hadn't done
anything wrong. I hadn't broken any
Daily: Did they turn their red light on?
Miss Cole: "Finally, I had gone, I
guess, oh about a block and a half and
then about three fourths of the way
through an alley before they even turned
their light on. When they did I didn't pay
them any attention.
Daily: You just kept on driving?
Miss Cole: "Uhuh" (affirmative).
Daily: And then what happened?
Miss Cole: "I turned right out of that
alley and went about half a block and
there was a four-way stop. And there I
ran the stop sign, I didn't even see the
stop sign but I ran it anyway. Went about
another half a block and started to turn
right into that alley and I hit the curb,
stopped, and when I stopped Rick got
out of the car and-in no hurry-he just
got out of the car and closed the door,
started to walk into the alley, and, uh, in
the meantime there were about two
(police) cars already parked, and then
the one behind me pulled up behind the
service station-you know-on one side
of the alley and by this time, you know,
they (the police officers) had all started
to get out.
"And the one came around and order-
ed me out of the car and I went and
stood at the back of the car. And Rick
had started to walk into the alley, and I
looked into the alley and he had started
to trot, he looked over his shoulder, he
looked back, he still wasn't running, he
was trotting, he had long legs, I guess you
could say he was trotting and he looked
back, and that was when, you know, the
one that started into the alley behind
him fired a shot."
Daily: He fired a shot or the policeman
fired a shot?
Miss Cole: "The cop did. And, uh,
after that you could pretty much say it
was confusion. I never did see Rick fire
his gun at them. He didn't have his gun
drawn. If he had a gun it was concealed,
I never did see a gun."
CHARLES SCOTT is one of the attor-
neys who fought the case for Linda
Brown against the School Board (To-
peka, Kansas), in 1954. That historic
case ended with a victory in the Supreme
Court which set the precedent ruling
school segregation unconstitutional.
Scott has been retained by Rick Dow-
dell's father to conduct an investigation
into the killing, and, if necessary, prose-
cute any claim that there may be against
the police.
Scott says he is trying to enlist the
aid of the Federal Bureau of Investiga-
tion in the investigation into the Dow-
dell shooting. The FBI has jurisdiction
in any case where a federal right has
been violated, and Scott feels a federal
right was violated when Dowdell was
"You've got a young citizen who was
a member of a black minority and we
feel he had a perfect right to be on the
streets," Scott says. "If he were, without
provocation, shot down by a police of-
ficer, then of course he is being deprived
of his right-a natural right, a legal right
to live, and certainly he was denied this
right by having his life taken away from
Scott views the Dowdell shooting as
the expression of racial tensions which
have grown progressively worse since the
slight gains made during the civil rights

eastern Kansas has become pro-
gressively worse," Scott says. "I don't
think the school case has had any effect
one way or the other. It was an attempt
to abolish segregation on the basis of
race in elementary schools. W'e had
hoped that there would be broad applica-
tion to other areas of our society, but it
has not proven to be as effective as we
had contemnlated.

"The Lawrence situation is a very clas-
sical example where an apparent polari-
zation of at least certain segments of the
black and white communities has oc-
cured. It has been demonstrated two
times now by the killings-I can't say
that--but at least the one killing involv-
ing Rick Dowdell and also the so-called
violence where the confrontations be-
tween blacks and whites have involved
the use of weapons. Certainly this indi-
cates there is a hostile relationship be-
tween the two races."
Rick Dowdell's brother, Morris, views
the death of his brother differently. "To
my personal point of view their (the-
police's) whole thing was to kill a Dow-
dell anyway," he says. "It really didn't
make a difference which one it was.
"The night before Rick was killed,
Garrett had stopped him," Dowdell adds,
"for tail-lights or something like that,
and he threatened to kill Rick."
Morris Dowdell finds the police version
of the story impossible to believe for other
reasons. The fact that the police say the
gun was by Rick's left hand when Rick
was right handed indicates to him that
the police murdered Rick, and in their
haste planted the gun by the wrong
O THER MEMBERS of the black com-
munity feel that the gun was plant-
ed by the left hand because the police
may have thought the man they shot to
be Dowdell's elder brother, Frank, the
only left-handed member of the family.
The Dowdells are physically distinctive
--all of them are very tall and have sim-

AS AN ALTERNATIVE to a coroner's
inquest, Young had the option of re-
questing either a grand jury investiga-
tion or a general inquest to determine
whether a felonious act was committed
when Dowdell was shot.
Scott feels a grand jury investigation
would have eliminated much of the doubt
concerning the validity of the inquiry in-
to the Dowdell shooting. A judge pre-
sides over a grand jury investigation; a
doctor sits on the bench in a coroner's
inquest placing the county attorney in
the position of being both prosecutor and
the highest legal authority in the court-
In a coroner's inquest there is no op-
portunity for cross-examination of wit-
nesses or challenging of jurors.
Culp says the inquest was as fair as it
could be "considering Young's prejudices.
Dan Young has lunch with these men,"
referring to the police and local officials
involved -in the inquest. Young refused
comment on the case.
When asked whether he feels the cor-
oner's inquest was fair, Scott says, "No,
of course not." In addition to his legal
opinion that Young was wrong in not al-
lowing Miss Cole to testify without waiv-
ing her fifth amendment rights, Scott
says the jury, which was all white, was
illegally constituted.
THE ANGER and frustration of t h e
black community remains unabated
despite the conclusions of the coroner's
inquest. The position paper issued by La-
Verta Murray, chairman of the Black
Students Union (BSU) at IU commun-

sheriff of Douglas county says, "An at-
tack on the black community will be con-
sidered as an attack on us, and we will
respond accordingly."
THIS SOLIDARITY can be explained
by the same circumstances that pre-
vent divisive rifts among the blacks
themselves. Radical action from all see-
tors of Lawrence's society is inspired by
immediate necessity, not political phil-
The black and white radicals see them-
selves as fighting a common enemy. The
blacks say they are fighting for their
lives - the whites for their life style, but
each group sees its struggle as equally
urgent. Their political differences do not
prevent united action.
And this united action is typically mil-
itant in Lawrence. David Awbrey, stu-
dent body president last year at KU, ex-
plains, "We don't hassle over the poli-
tics of militancy here." Arming oneself,
it seems, is the obvious solution to the
people in Lawrence who feel they need
to defend- themselves.
"I grew up on a farm, and I've been
exposed to guns since I was a little kid,"
one student says. "I got a rifle for my
ninth birthday."
Everyone in Lawrence talks of weap-
ons quite casually. The day after Dow-
dell was killed, the white radical com-
munity rallied to the aid of the black
community by shipping all their arms to
Lawrence's East side.
The disaffection between t h e police
and the black community in Lawrence
dates back to the civil war. But young
whites in Lawrence now feel an equal
need to defend themselves.
HARRY "NICK" RICE, a 19-year-old,
white student at KU, w a s shot to
death July 20 in a confrontation between
police and young people. Although guilt
has not been officially assigned, blacks
and young whites all feel he was delib-
erately shot by the police.
KBI Director Harold Nye explains that
a coroner's inquest into the shooting has
not yet been held pending completion of
the KBI investigation, although the in-
quest into the Dowdell shooting was held
before the start of any investigation.
During the confrontation which cen-
tered on Oread Avenue - an area term-
ed "hippie haven" by townspeople in
Lawrence - eyewitnesses state they
heard the police shouting, "Shoot them,
shoot the motherfuckers." Four seconds
of shotgun blasts followed, according to
the reports, and then Rice fell fatally
wounded. -
Merton Olds, a black graduate student
at KU, was also shot in the leg during the
same incident.
The most recent disturbances on
Oread Ave. started when a group of peo-
ple decided to try to burn d o w n the
"White ,House" and opened the fire hy-
drant to prevent the f i r e department
from putting it out.
The "White House" had recently been
the target of repeated arson attempts
and firebombings as a protest against the
eviction of its occupants May 10.
The nearly 20 eyewitnesses to the
shooting say the police arrived in the ar-
ea about ten minutes after the hydrant
was opened. When they ordered every-
one out of the Rock Chalk Tavern -
situated at the end of Oread, the people
moved towards the Gaslight Tavern at
the other end of the block.
THEN SOMEONE drove a red Volkswa-
. gen into the middle of the street and
asked the crowd to burn it so he could
collect the insurance money. After the
car was overturned, additional police ap-
peared from behind the Gaslight. Wit-
nesses say they threw tear gas canis-
ters and fired into the crowd, killing Rice
and wounding Olds.
In addition to what Lawrence's young
people feel to be two police murders -

one of a black and one of a white, the
blacks and white radicals there face oth-
er similar conditions.
Both groups claim' they are under at-
tack from vigilante bands who they say
would just as soon take a pot shot at a
white freak as string up a black man.
One KU student says the people living
in Afro. House - a black militant com-
mune - gave up the effort of keeping
glass in their window frames. Vigilantes
were shooting it out as fast as t h e Y
could replace it.

White street people complain of repeat-
ed shootings and firebombings on their
homes from the vigilante groups.
The whites, however, are more closely
involved with the university th a n the
blacks. While the bulk of the black com-
munity lives in East Lawrence, far from
the campus area, the white street people
are centered on Mt. Oread, adjacent to
the northeastern edge of the campus and
a prime target for university expansion.
LANCE HILL, a member of Lawrence
Liberation Front (LLF), says the uni-
versity's recent purchase of the "White
House" is part of "a concerted effort by
the university to drive out the freaks."
KU Chancellor Lawrence Chalmers,
however, denies any.such plot. "That ar-
ea separates two of our large residence,
halls from the main part of campus. For
about 20 years, the endowment associa-
tion fund has purchased properties in
that area as they have become available
on the market," he explains.
Before its purchase a n d subsequent
razing by the university, the "W h i t e
House" served as a center for radical ac-
tion. "A lot of freaks lived in the house,"
Hill says, "and there was a hell of a lot
of (dope sold out of the house - that is
what it was known for at first, more than
anything else.
"From time to time people would get a
band together and play on the second
floor roof. In the winter there were great
snowball fights, and people would try to
"free" transportation by snowballing the
"When the (May 8) strike happened, a
lot of the leaflets that advocated a more
militant posture were printed from the
house. The Yippie thing was sore of cen-
tered there."
The occupants of the White House were
evicted two days after the strike started.
They claim t h e university's Office of
Buildings and Grounds knew they were
to be evicted two days before they were
served notice by their landlord, Mr. Ling,
a professor at KU.
tween the university and Ling in the
move to kick out the freaks from the Mt.

politics in Lawrence still comes d o w n
from non-students," Hill says.
This seems to be changing, however,
David Awbrey says, "The Regents and
the state are fast turning this into a
radical campus."
KU has always been regarded as radi-
cal compared to other colleges in the
state, one student says, "but now par-
ents are scared to send their kids here."
Despite local attitudes towards KU, it
is an inescapable fact that the university
represents the dominant "industry" of
Lawrence. But w h i l e the university's
presence is felt in almost every sector of
the community, it is not necessarily an
active participant in everything that
takes place in the city.
KU Chancellor Lawrence Chalmers
says the university has been hurt by the
shootings and feels the news media is to
blame. "I 'can simply cite a newspaper
headline on the east coast. It read, 'KU
Killings,' and, of course, unlike Kent
State or Jackson State, these were not
confrontations on the campus. In fact,
the campus throughout this entire period
has been calm and serene and students
have attended their academic business
and the like."
But while KU may not have been in-
volved in the actual shootings, its domi-
nant position in the community almost
presupposes a large role in the events
surrounding those incidents.
AFRO HOUSE WAS run largely by the
KU Black Students' Union, using
money allocated to the BSU by the uni-
versity as a student organization. Be-
cause of the notoriety earned by Afro
House in connection with the Dowdell
shooting, the Kansas Regents have
placed a freeze on all student organiza-
tion money until a new allocation policy
can be worked out. Obviously, Afro House
cannot expect to gain from the outcome.
Indirectly, the university also supports
another black community organization,
the Ballard Center. While the center's
money comes from private contributions,
local druggist a n d ex-mayor Richard
Raney, who is on the center's board of
directors, says, "Most of it comes from

"We're talking about the betterment of
and that's what we deal

"But there's this one big colored man making trouble-
Harrison. I don't know what he preaches them over there
at that Ballard Center, but it's black militancy that comes

confrontation. I feel very strongly that
isolating myself in the front office is not
the way to know intimately and feel in-
timately the pulse of the students or the
faculty or the staff of the university,"
Chalmers says.
The students at KU recognize this and,
for the time being at least, are willing
to stand by him. But like any president
of a state-supported university, Chalm-
ers is the focal point for political pres-
sures from around the state and, most
notably, from the Kansas Regents.
DESPITE ANY national image it has,
KU has been the liberal university in
Republican Kansas for many years. Be-
cause of the events of the past year, it is
now downright "radical" in the eyes of
many Kansans.
Following the two shootings, Chalmers
narrowly won a vote of confidence from
the Regents and was directed to dismiss
aide Gary Jackson, a black, for allegedly
helping purchase 27 boxes of ammunition
for Afro House following t h e Dowdell
That fragile balance now maintained
within the university could possibly be
upset this fall, w i t h students talking
about withholding their activity fees. An
addition was made to the football sta-
dium a few years ago and the students
are paying for it.
Students claim the bonds which were
sold to finance the venture are being
paid off at a faster rate than necessary,
and with the numerous and substantial
financial involvements of a few Regents,

voters of
sas. But i
inte thr
an attcm
His i
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Gen. Ker
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-Daily Kansan-Greg Sorbor
The most recent disturbances on Oread Ave. started when a group
of people decided to try to burn down the "White House" ...

ilar facial characteristics. This, many
think, could have led to the confusion of
the police.
Although Miss Cole is the only private
citizen known to have witnessed the
Dowdell shooting, she was not allowed
to testify at the coroner's inquest.
Douglas County Attorney Dan Young,
who conducted the inquest, claimed Miss
Cole would waive all fifth amendment
rights protecting her from self-incrimi-
nation by taking the stand. On the ad-
vice of her attorney, David Culp, Miss
Cole refused to testify under those con-
Culp says Miss Cole would have left
herself open to questions about activi-
ties which were totally irrelevant to the
Dowdell shooting because th e statutes
concerning the right of a witness' attor-
ney to object to questions during a cor-
oner's inquest were vague.
Scott, who was present at the inquest,
says Young was "dead wrong" concern-
ing Miss Cole's right to plead the fifth
amendment during testimony. B u t he
says he would have objected to any irrel-
evant questions directed to Miss C ole
despite the questionable legality of his
doing so.

icates this frustration in a highly co-
herent manner:
"Within the past few weeks the black
people of Lawrence have been forced to
face the terrible reality. What has hap-
pened here in Lawrence with the killing
of Rick Dowdell is a strike against and
an assault upon the black community.
Where is justice? Black people now real-
ize that they must stand armed and pro-
tect their rights and in fact themselves,
against what can be termed nothing less-
than pure racism."
The black people of Lawrence are arm-
ed, and, apparently r e a d y to defend
themselves against what they see as po-
lice brutality and harrasment and vigi-
lante attacks.
The night after Dowdell was killed,
Police Lt. Eugene Williams was shot in
the chest while patrolling East Lawrence.
He is still in the hospital. The KBI is in-
vestigating but there is no sign of a sus-
There is a unity of purpose, if not of
ideology, in the black community, and
between the black community and the
radical white community.
There Is unusual solidarity in Lawrence
among black and white radicals. George,
Kimball, who is running with a black for

Oread area. He says the university paid
Ling $38,000 for the white house although
it was worth only $3,000 on the o p e n
market because Ling does all his financ-
ing through Capitol Federal Savings.
Bubb, a Regent, is president of Capitol
Federal Savings.
"After the freaks were evicted," Hill
says, "the White House became more or
less a symbol of landlord oppression and
of the university's drive against a whole
culture." There were continuous trash-
ing raids and close to 15 firebombings on
the empty house before it was finally
razed to make way for"a university park-
ing lot.
A distinct sub-culture of white street
people became evident in Lawrence only
two or three years ago. Hill says t h e
Oread community first consisted of
former KU students - some of them ex-
pelled f r o m the university because of
radical action. Now the street p e o p l e
'identify themselves very strongly as a
separate group, both from...the city and
the student body..
"I wear my badge on my head," says
Brian Bauerle, staff member of Head-
quarters, a drug crisis house. "If my hair
were short, I'd have no chance of being
trusted by a lot of people."
In Kansas, the drinking age is 18 and
much of the Oread community's social
life centers around the Rock Chalk Tav-
ern. Any night 80 or more street people
.can be found inside the Rock Chalk or
milling in front of it. They talk, throw
frisbees, drink beer and make plans to go
to impromptu parties nearby. When a
cloudburst b r o k e a 40-day drought, a
racous water and mud fight broke out,
ending only when everyone was thorou-
ghly soaked.
POLITICS IS PART of the Rock Chalk,
a too, since it is the one place more
than any other where the Oread com-
munity gets together. "The real heavy

university people, while the percentage
from the business community is v e r y
For many townspeople, therefore, the
Ballard Center is a University project -
an impression strengthened by the fact
that 90 per cent of the Center's tutors are
white KU students. -
In talking to residents about the trou-
ble in Lawrence, the names of the Bal-
lard Center and Harrison crop up con-
stantly, in a variety of contexts.
Mrs. Richard Kennedy, wife of t h e
owner of an automobile glass company,
maintains that Lawrence is not a divid-
ed town, "It's just the nicest place there
is," she says. "But there's this one big
colored man making trouble - Harrison.
I don't know what he preaches them ov-
er there at that Ballard Center, but it's
black militancy that comes out."
OTHERS ARE NOT even willing to give
Harrison the benefit of a doubt. Ralph
Fried runs a gun shop and says, "There's
about 15 more in this town that need
killing and that'll take care of it." He
seems to have a list to go with his analy-
sis, including Chalmers, Harrison a n d
Gary Jackson.
Raney describes Harrison as "the abra-
sive, militant black in the community.
When a Rick Dowdell is shot, Leonard
Harrison becomes an abrasive, black soul
brother. And that's when the white com-
munity. becomes aware of him, but to
think of the Ballard Center as a cesspool
of black racism is wrong."
Chalmers' 1 a c k of popularity among
certain segments of the community can
be traced not. only to' what the univer-
sity does, but to his own actions as well.,
"I suppose one of the reasons some
folks are critical of me or my adminis-
trative style is that I deliberately spend
occasional moments, when I have them
free, in off-campus beer taverns or on the
street when there seems to be friction or

"One thing concerning Lawrenc
special thing is that there is no issue ii
ly a cultural difference that's not b,
.......... ..::: : ... ......... .......... ...r.,.... .,....... . ......... .......... ........

at least some students suspect they are
trying to gain in some way at the stu-
dents' expense.
If the f e e s are withheld, Chalmers
might find himself out of a job a little
more than a year after taking it. Much
of the answer to that question lies with
Democratic Governor Robert Docking.
The p o w e r structure governing the
University of Kansas is typical. The Re-
gents - appointed by the governor -
serve as the Regents for all state sup-
ported institutions of higher education.
THERE ARE; at present three vacan-
cies on the board and the Governor
has so far failed to nominate people to
fill those vacancies. In an election year it
is -possible that he might neglect to ap-
point successors until he is safely re-
elected, because he no doubt wishes to
break the Republican stranglehold on the
board while avoiding antagonizing t h e

that the
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