Saturday, May 21, 2005

Arrested Man Sues Turf Club

May 21, 1947
Santa Anita Racetrack, Arcadia

John A. Gordon, 67, retired hardware merchant who came to Los Angeles from Chicago a decade ago, filed suit against the Los Angeles Turf Club today in Los Angeles Superior Court. He claims he was falsely arrested and maliciously prosecuted following a January 23 incident when Arcadia Police Officer William S. Orr and two race track detectives detained him at the track on charges of vagrancy.

At the time, Gordon says, he had more than $1000 in his possession. Gordon claims Orr & co. offered to drop the charges if he would agree they had probable cause to arrest him; when he refused, they countered that they would instead charge him with bookmaking, and did just that. When the case went to trial in Pasadena, Peace Justice J.R. Morton dismissed it for lack of evidence that Gordon had accepted a $6 bet.

Gordon is resident of 502 W. Maple St., Monrovia, painfully near to the scene of his humilation.

1 comment:

Larry said...

Los Angeles Times,
May 22, 1947

28 Acquitted
of Lynching

GREENVILLE (S.C.) — May 21.
(U.P.) All 28 defendants charged
with the lynching of Willie
Earle, Negro, last Feb. 16 were
acquitted tonight.
It took a jury of nine textile
hands, two salesmen and a
farmer five hours 15 min-
utes to reach the verdict clear-
ing the defendants on all four
counts charging murder, con-
spiracy and accessory before and
after the fact.

+ + +

A few weeks after the acquittals in the lynching of Willie Earle, who was suspected of killing a cabdriver, Los Angeles Assemblymen [Gus] Hawkins and [??] Allen introduced a resolution in Sacramento urging Congress to pass a Federal anti-lynching law. [In 1962, Augustus Freeman “Gus” Hawkins became the first African American elected to Congress from a Western state].

A Gallup poll found nationwide support for such a law (69% to 20% with 11% having no opinion). Among Southern states, 56% favored an anti-lynching statute with 35% opposed and 9% having no opinion.

The Los Angeles Times editorialized that a Federal anti-lynching law was unnecessary:
“The Times is as strongly opposed to lynching as any member of the committee [a civil rights panel named by President Truman] could be, and as firmly of the belief that lynchers should be punished. But certain facts which the committee apparently failed to consider must be faced: among them that in Federal courts, the juries must be drawn from the district where the crime was committed, and would give the same sort of verdicts that would be rendered in state courts. It is more the failure of juries to convict that prevents punishment of lynchers than the want of zealous prosecution.

“Lynching is in fact a rare and infrequent crime. There were six lynchings in the United States last year, which is more than the national average for the past couple of decades. That is, of course, six too many. But in the same period there were thousands of murders; Los Angeles alone has more than 100 a year and nobody proposes a Federal anti-murder law.

“…We do not in human relations progress by mutation; on the contrary we advance a step at a time. Left alone, our interracial relations would gradually ameliorate; they have been bettered by this process within the generation. Stirred up, they are more likely to worsen.”

Source: Los Angeles Times, May 22, 1947; June 8, 1947; July 2, 1947; Oct. 31, 1947