WESTBROOK PEGLER SAYS:
Police 'Brutality' Cases Not for Federal Probers
Editor's Note - This is the last column scheduled from Westbrook Pegler until he comes back from his vacation of four weeks. The Union expects to print his next column on Monday, April 27.
THE UPROAR over charges of brutality against New York policemen has completely hidden the fact that here is an attempt by the federal government to take jurisdiction in police court cases which are none of its business. There is no more excuse for the Department of Justice to interfere in an ordinary arm-twisting or poke-in-the-plexus with a rolled newspaper by a city cop than for similar aggression by the same interloper against a dead-end kid who pollutes a navigable stream by throwing a joyous but unsanitary mutt off a dock.
As the Brooklyn Tablet says, and other papers with a more instant obligation have lacked the acumen to say, "The exaggerated charges are largely based on racial appeals and in many instances are styled after the 'exposures' in the Daily Worker."
THE DISGRACEFUL and; for a time, dangerous incident wherein a passe Negro kootch dances was momentarily martyred because the Stork Club was slow to fetch the wine for her filet mignon, was fomented by the same agents. It was quickly followed by organized mob action near the Stork which could have run up a cost in blood and lives.
All this was done for no higher purpose than to gratify the morbid sense of social inferiority of a few individuals whose low character and gross manners forever debar them from decent company. These persons are not Negroes, but White conspirators who contrive to act in the name of the Negro with a pretense of "brotherly" regard.
The Stork Club exploit reacted against the instigators when their heroine plumped for Peron in Buenos Aires and Walter Winchell changed sides to fight alongside his friend, Sherman Billingsley, who runs the Stork.
NO MORE inhibited than the enemy, Mr. Winchell belabored them with abundant proof of their vileness and took wild delight in bombing a gang of fakers who for a long time had complacently regarded him as a ready facility for their furtive schemes. This man's realization of the nature of forces which long had counted on him as one of their own has been an important change in the balance of power. He has waged repartee with a deadly knowledge of their line-up, methods and concealed motives.
It is an unfortunate fact that New York policemen as a corps have to cope with a dangerous situation made the more so by a queasy reluctance of press and public to face facts. The papers resolutely suppress important factors in the growth of violent crime in the streets, parks and subways. The poor cops take desperate chances and many beatings, all as rub-of-the-green. A murderous gangster of immature years is gentled as a wayward boy notwithstanding proof of abandoned character, but a policeman who cracks a skull with a stick or the butt of his gun in a fight against odds is a rotten apple to be made an example of.
NEW YORK policemen are superior to the same number of "citizens" taken at random. The requirements for admission to the force and the proportion of rejections prove that. Their prestige is much more important to law-abiding citizens than it is to the cops themselves. Therefore, the press should examine warily this crass attempt to arouse pity for bad actors who get an extra clip on the ear for luck and another to grow on.
The intrusion of the federal government into petty incidents in the policing of a great city is a studied attempt to degrade local authority and exalt the federal. This comes of the thoroughly dishonest "survey" and "report" of Truman's spurious Committee on Civil Rights. Many of the principals in this shady exploit had flagrant records of association and worse with Communist fronts. They were a strange company secretly selected by the late David K. Niles, the White House agent of the frankfurther system which gave us Alger Hiss, Nathan Witt and Leon Pressman.