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Archive for the ‘police’ Category

The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 22, 1919

Senator Hitchcock’s newspaper is getting worried about who Omaha will offer as a gubernatorial candidate next year. It is a safe bet our mayor will be side-stepped at the convention.

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The fact that the entire country has gone “dry” does not appear to interfere with the little game known as “bootlegging.” Fifteen bootleggers were on hand Monday morning in police court.

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After awhile Omaha people will begin to appreciate what the Woodmen of the World is doing for our city. Also what  great, big man is W. A. Fraser.

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Mr. Shotwell says he can find no way to punish food profiteers in Douglas county. He is about the only county attorney in the country that feels that way.

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Some large department stores attempted to corner up the stock of government stores in Omaha, but did not get away with it. One big concern had to return a big consignment of blankets.

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The policemen have organized to secure an increase in pay. It is about time. The firemen got away with theirs – why not the police?

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The attempt of landlords to squeeze the tenant is being looked into. It is about time. A lot of these vicious landlords were preparing to inaugurate a system worse than that in vogue in England.

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There appears to be no lack of rottenness in Omaha, despite the worthy effort of Police Commissioner Elmer Thomas.

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Mr. Ringer will return to the city next week to assist Superintendent Thomas of the police department.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 22, 1919

No Attempt by City Officials to Curb Vicious System of Rottenness; Growing Up in Last Eighteen Months; Elmer Thomas Gets Share of Easy Money.

When the legislature adopted a law intended to do away with the old system which made prostitution possible it was believed the question had been solved for good. In Omaha, the metropolitan city of the state, the old “red light” district became a thing of the past and the bad hotels were very well cleaned up by the city administration then in office.  It remained so until the people decided to make a change.

Today, under the so-called reform administration, Omaha has more prostitutes, more pimps, more bootlegging, more police court cases, more disregard for law in one day than under the old administration in a week. Police court used to close daily at 11 o’clock at central station. It seldom cleans up now before 1 o’clock in the afternoon, with many cases going over until the following day.

All of this goes on despite the fact that Elmer E. Thomas, acting police superintendent, superintendent of police and city prosecutor, at $300 per month, is daily on the job. Thursday Elmer sat in court for three hours, apparently waiting to hear some hardboiled eggs tell their story of grief. Suddenly the case of a handsome woman, charged with bootlegging, came up and he fronted for her. She was dismissed and, arm in arm with her, he left the court room.

Up and down Sixteenth street, in half a hundred cheap hotels, in many second-class hotels and scores of cheap dumps, some of them isolated, and in numerous so-called “rooming houses” in the residence district, the underworld has been turned loose. The system has become so well organized that honest family life is almost tabooed in hundreds of localities in the city. In our “best communities” the ill-governed houses ply their trade, with bootleg whisky and well dressed members of the demimonde entertaining the vicious element that once confined its activities to Ninth street.

Practically all of this condition has sprung up since the present city administration came into activity. Our good church people have quite overlooked this condition, in their zeal to follow the advice of persons posing as reformers, while they were in reality trying to ingratiate themselves into the operations of the bosses controling the petty grafting system by which these unfortunates exist. Absolute evidence of police officers being paid for protection has been recently unearthed, but no action has been taken against the offenders.

Matters have become almost intolerable for the better class of our people and the present movement for a change is the result. There is a recall movement on  and it is being fought bitterly by those who have secured a taste of graft and are willing to prostitute all decent government to maintain the system recently organized.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 15, 1919

Police Courts Bring Out Evidence Against Several Ringer Officers

One Poker Player Relieved Of $180

Seven Witnesses Testify They Saw Policeman Take Money Which Was Not Returned: Crap Shooter Says Herdzina Got Sack With $23 and Returned $6.

High Jacking has become the big game in our fair city and everybody is doing it. Our city officials wink at reports, always sworn to, that their hirelings are in the business and getting away with it. Innumberable reports are being heard daily of doings of this sort. Not less than four policemen have been caught at it recently.

The business is said to be profitable. Last Monday morning there appeared in central police court a coterie of fellows who were picked up the night before in the midst of a poker game. The story was that they all grabbed their money and jammed it in their pockets. One fellow, however, who was said to have an interest in the game, slipped out for a moment, but was grabbed before he could escape. Seven witnesses testified that a police officer took this fellow’s watch and $180 in money from his pockets. When the visible evidence was turned loose on the court the watch was there, but the $180 was missing. No steps have been taken, so far as known, to either punish the offending officer or to secure the return of the $180 taken from the man’s pockets.

On the South Side another crowd was picked up. They were shooting craps, it is alleged. The fellow taking the rake-off had $23 in the bag which the proprietor of the game had taken in. When the bag was produced in court only $6 was in evidence. Morals Squad Officer Herzina took the bag from the prisoner.

The high-jack game began with the sequestering of hard liquor. A lot of officers learned how easy it was to grab a bunch of booze and ease things up and retain the booze. It was valuable and with a “family fence” in good working order it was not hard to dispose of the booze at fancy prices, to say nothing of the amount they retained themselves. Numerous instances of such actions have been brought to light. The result has been that a large number of officers, whose integrity could not be doubted, have come under suspicion with the high-jackers.

Witnesses have testified under oath that more than one officer has been active in the high-jack game. In one instance an officer is declared to have gone into partnership with one of the booze peddlers. They pulled off a high-jack game together and then the bootlegger high-jacked the officer himself. Chief Eberstein and Superintendent Ringer have both been given information about this deal, it is stated, but nothing has been done. The officer is pretty sore about getting trimmed at his own game, it is said, but is afraid to squeal on the other fellow.

Under the new state-wide, city-wide and nation-wide bone dry law the way to fast fortunes has been easily learned and everybody who has become active in the movement of contraband liquor has been building new homes or buying those already built. On the South Side are a number of fellows rolling in money and the law has become a joke. Hundreds of persons who formerly preserved good reputations for fair dealing are now under cover or are still grabbing off the soft money that comes with law violation.

It is a remarkable truth that whereas police courts used to clean up the daily grist in an hour, it is seldom before 1 o’clork that these courts are adjourned and many afternoon sessions are necessary to hear the hundreds of cases that are now before these courts. Seldom a morning passes that the clerk of the police coort does not have $1,000 in the safe put up for appearance bonds. Sometimes it quite exceeds this amount.

Among habitues of the police court the presence of hundreds of faces regularly is becoming a joke. Fellows who are presumed to be devout church goers may be seen there nearly every day. they mingle with the riff-raff and pay their fines when their cases are called. Newspaper men could write a book about them each day.

It is a case now of catch-as-catch-can, with the high-jackers leading the aravan in securing the big take-off.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 15, 1919

Not less than 100 active, live gambling houses are doing business in the city of Omaha today. The old system of “wide open gambling” has been done away with and the business is now distributed  over a wide area, with the little fellow getting his share of the swag.

Under the regime of years ago cities and towns had a boss, whose particular line of adventure, endeavor, usefulness and uselessness was the operation of the gambling privilege. Politicians got in on the swag and it all ended up in one or two gamblers dying of old age with a cottage and a garden and a fumigated backhouse.

Today it is all different, In Omaha, for instance, instead of the old Diamond and a policy game with fifty gents, the back room pinochle players, a pool table and a pair of dice and such familiar devices furnish the entertainments for the green cloth devotees. Within the week one of these pool tables has come under the observation of the writer. A score of persons stood around the table, each with a roll of from five to five hundred dollars in his hand. A “lookout” and a “take off” man sat opposite each other. The game was “on the square,” as such games go.

It was just one instance in a hundred that are operating in Omaha. some of the men who are officially employed by Police Superintendent Ringer know they are in operation. This paper will prove this assertion if that is necessary. Will Mr. Ringer meet the issue?

Somebody is getting the protection money that is being paid for the operation of these games. If that is not true, the Ringer police administration is a joke. We have got the goods. Will Mr. Ringer meet the issue?

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 1, 1919

That new central police station is still a paper one. A lot of bids are in for constructing  the building,  but there is not enough money in sight to finish the structure. Verily the present administration is having troubles of its own. It is absolutely necessary for a city the size of Omaha to have somebody running it that has some idea of carrying on a municipal business. No police station for another year.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 1, 1919

Two Officers Said to Have Received $180 Monthly from Two Places

Both Are Closed When Money Stops

Baptist Minister Apologies for Misdeeds of Ringer and Solicits for “500 Committee” – Reaction Shows Sort of Men Who Pose as Reformers.

South Side people, who have just learned of the proposed recall of four of the present city commissioners, are beginning to set up and take notice. Some of them have been paying tribute to the powers that be and are wondering whether or not Mr. Ringer and his $300 assistant, Elmer Thomas have been parties to the game.

It has just been learned that several South Side bootleggers have been regular contributors to members of Mr. Ringer’s police force. Two of these officers, in plain clothes, have been collecting $100 and $80, respectively, from two places until they were recently closed. Finally, when they could no longer bleed these “dealers” they turned them in and managed to have their licenses revoked. Both of them have been forced out of business.

It is a tale of leechery that that is seldom heard in the ordinary annals of police activity. It smacks of the Lexow affair in New York a few years ago. These two fellows, wearing the badge of police authority, deliberately accepted these contributions, paid to them under the supposition that the money was for protection against arrest. Neither of the victims knows whether any of it went to Mr. Ringer himself, but they do know that it was paid regularly every month in advance.

There came the time, just before the whole country went dry, that the “dealers” could no longer stand the expense. They wanted to cut the “protection” assessment, but these two leeches, wearing police badges, would have none of it. The bootleggers were turned in. One of them was arrested, although he had been immune for two years. For all that time he had freely poured the hard liquor out over the counter at 25 cents the drink and had never been molested. Every month he laid down his 100 buck dollars and felt that he was being protected.

In the meantime another fellow, a few blocks away, not considered so prosperous as his friends, was paying $80 each  month. The wholesalers in St. Joseph and Kansas City raised prices. The “high-jackers” got to work. The expenses increased. The police officers, soliloquized in their own minds, “Well, we’ve got ours. Let’s clean the slate and turn them in.”

And turn them in they did. One of the “dealers” was “knocked over” one afternoon and the other fellow’s license was held up when he refused to “kick in.” The fellow who had been paying $80 per month simply refused to be bled any longer. These two plain clothes men, wearing their badges under their coats, dropped into his place and demanded the usual $80 for a month in advance. He refused to again become a victim of their financial raids. He laid down a $5 bill for each of them and they threw the money on the floor. In the same breath they declared that he would not get his soft drink license. The license had been held up until that time, about the 10th of the month. It was to be acted upon that day. The same afternoon he learned that a soft drink permit had been refused him.

There is no evidence that Mr. Ringer himself was a party to this deal. It is suggested, however, that the fact of this fellow’s license being refused the day he cut off his $80 per month donation is significant.

Whether or not the Ringer administration is responsible for the acts of these two men, wearing the badge of police authority, is not known. But it is a remarkable condition. The Mediator invites an investigation and is prepared to offer some concrete evidence in the event of Mr. Ringer taking up the matter. In the meantime Mr. Ringer himself is under a cloud and this paper suggests that he act at once, in order that the people of Omaha may know whether this recall business “is all talk.”

One of these officers came from Iowa a few years ago, touted as a prizefighter. He was licked to a frazzle in three rounds of what was to have been a ten-round contest at the old Lyric theater. His partner has been an Omaha police officer for many years.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, July 25, 1919

Popular Young Officer’s Demise Causes Muih Grief in Ranks of Police Force.

The death of Detective Frank Murpy has shrouded the Omaha police department in gloom. Although one of the very youngest officers on the force, Murphy was one of the most popular. He “made” the army and returned to police duty only a few months ago. He was one of the fellows “who used his head” and his death at the hands of a desperate character increased the sadness of his taking away.

It seemed like fate that this splendid young fellow should be shot by a former schoolmate and playmate. The funeral, held today, gave best evidence of how he was esteemed, not only by fellow officers, but by a host of friends in private life.

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