Getting Away with Murder


Fifth Estate # 72, February 6 - 19, 1969

Two cases of “getting away with murder” of blacks by whites are currently occupying the attention of Detroiters.

First is the Algiers Motel murders where Detroit police officers are charged with executing three black youths during the Detroit Rebellion in July of 1967.

The Algiers murder trial, as newsmen term it, was shipped up to Mason, Michigan away from Detroit because the Detroit Police Officers’ Association attorney, Norman Lippitt, claimed he couldn’t get a fair trial for his clients in Detroit, Mason has one Negro living in it and is the town where Malcolm X grew up.

The prosecuting attorney, Avery Weiswasser, astonished the Ingham County Court judge, William J. Beer, when the trial opened in Mason the other morning by asking for the right to cross-examine his own witnesses.

On trial is former Detroit cop, Ronald August, charged with murdering Auburey Pollard Jr. in the Algiers Motel. Two of Pollard’s friends, Carl Cooper, 21, and Fred Temple, 18, were also slain there.

Witnesses will testify that Temple and Pollard died during a “death game” played by uniformed Detroit cops who took residents of the motel into a room and pretended to kill them by firing shots into the ceiling.

Three cops, August and David Senak, and Robert Paille have all been suspended from the force, with August quitting. Also they are charged with sadistic beatings of a dozen residents of the Algiers Motel. The three youths murdered were black and all the cops are white.

Prosecutor Weiswasser told the court “I regret to have to say that there has been out-and-out perjury spread across the record of this case by a Detroit police officer.”

Weiswasser already has said that former cop August’s first two statements were designed to divert attention from his guilt. In a written statement made when he was first called to police headquarters in Detroit, July 31, August said that when he entered the Algiers Annex he saw three wounded men.

Later in the day he asked for his statement back and made another, saying he shot one of the youths when the youth attempted to grab his shotgun.

Obviously August is trying to get away with “murder” and the moving of the trial away from Detroit, where for certain an interracial jury, possibly a black judge would have tried him, was another move “to get away with murder.”

The jury in Mason will be lily-white, as will the judge, William Beer who already agreed to move the trial into Mason, a lily-white, John Birch type area.

Now comes the prosecutor and says he wants to cross-examine his own witnesses because perjury is spread across the record by Detroit cops. The trial has been delayed by Judge Beer until this May.

Another case of “getting away with murder” took place June 24, 1967.

Danny Thomas, a black Ford worker and member of Ford UAW local 600 was murdered while he tried to protect his pregnant wife from being attacked by a group of drunken white hoodlums in Rouge Park, Detroit.

Michael Palchlopek was charged with murder in the case and tried before an all white jury and white judge, with a white prosecutor handling it, in Detroit Recorders Court recently.

The jury brought in a verdict of “not guilty.” The jurors told newsmen they were “shocked” by the murder, but the evidence presented on Palchlopek was so flimsy they were left with no other choice.

Wayne County prosecutor, William Cahalan, said he would scan the two thousand pages of testimony and come up with a decision on whether to seek another prosecution. He has since announced the case is closed.

It has been learned that the 2000 pages of transcript were not transcribed as yet by the court reporter that Cahalan said he would scan, so we don’t know what Prosecutor Cahalan scanned.

Actually another man in the court Gerald Delk, was named as the murderer by witnesses. Prosecutor Cahalan, has a written statement from one of the band of drunken white hoodlums at the Rouge Park, the night Danny Thomas was murdered, who said he saw Gerald Delk kill Danny Thomas.

Another witness, Raymond F. “Buzzy” Schaar, said he saw the actual impact as Delk’s bullet hit Thomas.

Gerald Delk’s girl friend, Sylvia Reed, who gave Prosecutor Cahalan a deposition on April 12, 1968, said that Gerald Delk told her he killed Thomas and was going to get away with it.

No warrant has been gotten out against Delk, That’s “getting away with murder” in Detroit these days.