Plymouth, Mich.

Police State


Fifth Estate # 76, April 3-16, 1969

Plymouth, Michigan, is a small town. To say that it is conservative would be an understatement.

It is run by a small group of politicians and pigs, among them Carl “Pig” Berry, the chief narc; Chief of Pigs “Daley” Straley; Harold Gunther, the ex-mayor, who is running for the post of city commissioner; and a few others.

And it is election time, which means that the pigs are doing their best to show their constituents that they run a tight ship.

The object of their victimization is the Bye Chance, a local head shop owned and run by Lionel Friedman, which has been there since September. The store has been continuously harassed since October, when the city tried to evict Friedman on some phony bullshit zoning laws.

Gunther and George Lawton, another local politician, told Friedman to be out by March.

Rumors were widespread that businessmen in the area were paying kids to break the windows of the Bye Chance.

This is very possible since the store has had windows broken again and again in the past months. The vandals even went so far as to use a bowling ball from a local bowling alley to do their dirty work. The pigs returned it to the alley and took no further action.

Also, in January, the store was broken into and 1500 dollars worth of merchandise was stolen, The Pigs did nothing.

Carl “Pig” Berry, the city’s genuine-imitation Gestapo, then moved in and confiscated Friedman’s Fifth Estates without a warrant, on the charge that it is obscene

When asked at a local meeting of teenagers why the paper was confiscated he refused to answer. And at another meeting, when he refused to answer whether he believed in freedom of speech, ninety per cent of the audience walked out.

Berry began showing up at the store on Saturday nights, when Friedman brought in bands, and harassing customers and employees.

But the shit really flew on the night of Saturday, March 22, when Berry, Chief Pig Straley, and three other pigs entered the store during a break between sets and physically attacked a member of the band as he was attempting to leave.

On Monday, March 24, Berry again entered the store and attacked a local youth, Chris Foster, handcuffing him and dragging him out of the store.

He then explained that Foster was under arrest for the sale of dope. Foster was arraigned and freed on $5000 bond.

Friedman called the pigs and Harold Gunther for an explanation, but they said nothing. When George Lawton was called, he replied that the store would not go over anyway because Plymouth is a “very conservative town.”

Lionel Friedman is in a bad position. He has been forced to move out of the building, and is attempting to find a new location.

He is presently getting in touch with the American Civil Liberties Union in Detroit, because “there is not one single decent lawyer in the whole damn Plymouth area. They’re all part of the establishment.”