The Bate Case

Police Brutality Pt. I

On Wednesday evening, September 19, 1923 about 11 pm, James H. (Harry) Bate was tired. It had been a long day. After working a full shift as Assistant Head Janitor for the Los Angeles County Courthouse and Hall of Records buildings, he’d attended a meeting of his lodge at the Odd Fellows Hall on Wall Street between Seventh and Eighth Streets, where he was secretary, then stopped in at his church, the Second Baptist Church at 740 Maple Avenue, where he served as treasurer. Now, lugging records from both institutions in a pair of suitcases, the 64-year-old walked north the half-block to the corner of Seventh and Maple where he would catch a streetcar home (1).

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The Collins Case

On March 14, 1928, Christine Collins went to police headquarters on West First Street to report that her 9-year-old son Walter had been missing for four days. Collins told Captain Joseph J. Jones, head of the juvenile division, that she believed Walter had been kidnapped by enemies of her husband- also named Walter- who was then doing time in prison.

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The Bum Blockade of 1936

1933. The toothbrush mustache was in, Prohibition was on the way out. The nation was in its third full year of the worst economic depression in US history. The Stock Market crash of October 1929 had caused banks to fail, and depositors lost their savings. There was mass unemployment and homelessness. On taking office in March 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established a series of federal recovery and relief programs to try to address the crisis. One of the programs was the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) created under the Federal Emergency Relief Act of May 1933. The Federal Transient Service (FTS) was a division of FERA created in July 1933, designed to provide transients arriving in a new city with food and shelter and, if possible, a job- at no cost to the state or local governments. On August 10, Los Angeles’ new mayor Frank Shaw restored James E. Davis to power as Chief of Police. Continue reading