CHIEF INTERVIEWS COMPLAINTS IN CHARGE OF POLICE BRUTALITY
Interviews with several Linda Vista residents who signed a petition charging patrolman James H Harrell with undue brutality in making an arrest indicated they believe they saw the officer choke and rabbit-punch the prisoner, Police Chief Clifford E Peterson, said yesterday. He is continuing his investigation.
Leroy Kime, 31, of 4136 Thirty-eighth st., a laundry truck driver, whom the Linda Vista residents reported was the victim of brutality will be in Peterson's office tomorrow morning for an interview, the chief said.
In a report to City Manager Walter Cooper yesterday, Peterson cleared other officers, accused by Edward S. Hannibal, 30, of El Cajon, of manhandling him Nov. 11 and robbing him on $10 in the city jail.
Harrell told the chief he used a well-known judo hold on nerves of the neck in subduing Kime and jarred the nerve centers in the upper back before placing his prisoner in the car in order to assist him in regaining consciousness.
"The police department stands between criminals and persons threatening the liberty of the public and it must not be emasculated by fear," Peterson said.
"I am trying to find out the facts - whether Harrell used an approved judo hold in subduing Kime, or whether, as there petitioners believe, he used undo brutality. Until this is proved satisfactorily, one way or the other, Harrell remains under indefinite suspension." the chief said.
The police chief transmitted to Cooper copies of reports made by various officers involved in the Hannibal case.
Peterson wrote to the manager that he felt, "after investigation of all phases of the arrest of Hannibal, that he was not mistreated in any way." He pointed out that the reports of the officers "frankly state" that the man had to be forced to enter the police car and to submit to a search.
"It does not seem to me that they should be expected to await the pleasure of a fighting drunk for arresting, searching and booking," continued the chief, "nor do I expect them to ask any fighting and go to jail with them."
The chief offered to display the methods of police routine to anyone interested, by stating in conclusion:
"I would be pleased to have any interested parties participate in, or observe, the arrest, transportation, booking and searching of prisoners, particularly fighting drunks."
The city manager said that he had not received any report that the police chief concerning the arrest of Kime last Tuesday. Cooper said that a report probably would reach him later this week.
Meanwhile, the city manager had before him a letter from G.F. Finck, manager of the Coronet theater commending Harrell's activities in running down Logan Heights hoodlum gangs that for a time caused what Finck had described as a reign of terror in and about his theater.