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The CHAIRMAN. That is the true condition that prevails?
Mr. GRIFFIN. Yes, sir. Not only in Chicago, but throughout the United States.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand there are other places. As I said awhile ago, I am not singling out Chicago, but this illustrates very succinctly, I think, the real crime problem, the extent and critical nature of the menace of crime in America today.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I don't think, with the conditions that now prevail, that the present rate of increase in crime can continue much longer without there being absolute chaos in our country.
The time is short for us to get control of it.
The CHAIRMAN. I am speaking as one who has observed it pretty clearly, who has been trying to give warning of this situation for the last half dozen years, at least.
Mr. GRIFFIN. I feel, sir, that our police officers have really been inhibited from doing the job they can do.
The CHAIRMAX. Why? Mr. GRIFFIN. By many of our recent Supreme Court decisions. All of this has a definite bearing on criminality,
The CHAIRMAN. I didn't coach you on that, but somebody is sure to say I did. I have been saying that for quite a long time.
Then they tell me I am wrong about it. Some of these theorists say, “That had no impact."
What do you say as a policeman and as a practical observer, experienced in the work? What kind of an impact have these court decisions had?
Mr. GRIFFIN. A tremendous impact, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean by that swinging the scales in the favor of the criminal ?
Mr. GRIFFIN. The pendulum has swung all the way over in that direction. I feel now it is time for that pendulum to begin to swing back in the direction of the poor person who has been victimized, and the police officer.
The CHAIRMAN. I agree with you and I am sure the members of this committee will agree with you. It has placed the scales of justice out of line, where society does not get equal justice.
Mr. GRIFFIN. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. The policeman in trying to do his duty is handicapped. His job is made more difficult.
Personally, I think these decisions have had a tendency to encourage a lot of these charges of police brutality and animosity toward dedicated law enforcement officials in this country and to create even greater disrespect for law.
You may proceed.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Since that time, the Griffin family has been continually harassed, slashed automobile tires, broken windows, fired shots through windows and doors, and so forth.
The high-rise project building located at 6217 Calumet has been a constant source of complaints of gang recruiting. As a result, seven families have taken their children out of school and sent them out of the State to attend school.
There has been an alarming increase in the number of families who have had to make their children quit school or send them out of town in order to continue their education.
The CHAIRMAN. Why couldn't they continue there?
Mr. GRIFFIN. Because of the recruitments, the intimidation, the threats, the beatings.
The CHAIRMAN. Because they were made to join these gangs?
Mr. GRIFFIN. Yes, sir.
Senator MUNDr. One of the centers is in a Presbyterian church and another one was someplace else.
Is that in the high-rise building ?
Mr. GRIFFIN. This is primarily to recruit. This is a public type of housing project. Most of the people who reside in there have large numbers of children. They can't find private housing that is suitable. This is why they go in there and they recruit and intimidate in these highrise buildings.
Senator Munir. Is this a project to provide better housing for the poor?
Mr. GRIFFIN. Yes, sir.
Senator MUNDT. And when they get in there, the children are recruited into the gang?
Mr. GRIFFIN. Yes, sir,
The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask you a question that just occurred to me. Are most of the Negro policemen in this area?
Mr. GRIFFIN. No, sir. Sixty-five percent white and 35 percent Negro.
The CHAIRMAN. You have a 35-percent Negro police force in this area?
Mr. GRIFFIN. Yes, sir; and the cars are integrated to the fullest estent possible.
The CHAIRMAN. They are completely integrated, so there isn't any question about any class relationship or distinction made as between the colored policemen and the white policemen in that area?
Mr. GRIFFIN. No, sir.
Mr. GRIFFIN. In conclusion, I would like to make a few additional comments and observations, Jeff Fort, former Center Chief, and 21 year old, and one of the heads of the so-called Blackstone Rangers nation, has been arrested on 16 different occasions, with charges rang. ing from disorderly conduct to murder.
These arrests have only cost him $90 in fines and 1 year probation.
The CHAIRMAN. What is he on probation for? Is he on probation now?
Mr. GRIFFIN. I don't know if he is still on probation. But this probation resulted from that marihuana arrest.
The CHAIRMAN. From resisting arrest and possession of marihuana?
Jeff Fort drives a 1968 Mustang-and I have heard, since the hearings started, he is now driving a 1967 Cadillac-wears $200 suits, by my evaluation, $40 shoes and $20 Italian knit shirts.
All of the other members of the governing body of the Blackstone Rangers, commonly referred to as "The Sweet 21" dress in the same manner.
The CHAIRMAN. They are not so very poor, are they?
The CHAIRMAN. These are not the poor people you would be talking about if you were referring to poor black people?
Mr. GRIFFIN. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. They are not living way down on the shank, are thev?
Mr. GRIFFIN. No. I would say they are living quite high on the hog. This facade of prosperity and easy living makes them the heroes of the youth in the area of my district which I formerly described as one-fifth of the total segment.
This story of easy living applies to other gangs as well. David Barksdale, leader of the East Side Disciples and an employee of TWO, drives a Buick Electra 225 and was arrested on February 1, 1968, for interfering with a police officer, at which time he had over $1,000 U.S.currency in his possession.
Where did this money come from, and are these the youths that need OEO funds?
The CHAIRMAN. These are the people who have been identified with and taken into what has been regarded as a poverty program?
Mr. GRIFFIN. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I might be eligible myself, if you are permitted to have that much.
Mr. Griffin. I would like to ask is crime to be rewarded by Federal grants, and in particular juvenile criminality?
Recent indications have been that other street gangs have, or will make attempts to get on the band wagon. To be acknowledged they must also establish a reputation comparable to that of the Rangers and Disciples.
Is it possible that the qualifications for such grants be the ability of gang structures to control the crime rate!
My answer to the above inquiries is a definite and emphatic "No" with any emphasis that might be implied.
That concludes my affidavit, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. What you are trying to say in conclusion is that, as an experienced policeman, programs such as this TWO program, as it has been administered, can only be expected in reality to support å gang, to reward them for crime and for their reputation as being dangerous and violent. Seeing how well they fare by reason of such Federal grants, other gangs of lesser stature now in gangland will undertake to emulate them and will expect the taxpayers to support them likewise?
Mr. GRIFFIN. This is occurring at the present time on the West Side of the city of Chicago.
The CHAIRMAN. It is now occurring on the West Side of the city of Chicago?
Mr. GRIFFIN. They are writing proposals themselves.
The CHAIRMAN. I hope the train wrecks before it gets to include them.
Go ahead, Senator Mundt.
Senator MUNDT. Is it your feeling as a police officer, Commander Griffin, that the granting of these Federal funds for the employment of these gang leaders has tended to move in the direction of increasing gangsterism and increasing crime, rather than decreasing it? Because the poor youth of Chicago see these fellows with the tough records being rewarded and wearing those kinds of clothes and driving fine automobiles, and he figures the only way to get in on this easy money is to join a gang?
Mr. GRIFFIN. Yes, sir, and you have created two different categories among the gangs. You have the “have's” and the “have notis," and the “have not's” are trying to become “have’s," and they are trying to recruit groups on their own so that they can now become "have's.” And so you have the "have's” and the "have not’s.”
Senator MUNDT. And unless the youngsters come into the gang and submit themselves to the leadership, the coercion of the Main 21, they find themselves unable to get jobs and to get this training that the Government provides. Is that right?
Mr. GRIFFIN. That is true.
Senator MUNDT. What is your opinion as an experienced police officer as to the part Reverend Fry plays in all this? This is a very perplexing thing to me.
One hypothesis may be that he is well-intentioned, a naive individual who simply doesn't realize the nature of the people with whom he is working. That is about the kindest explanation I could make. Would that be your opinion of his position in this, or do you watch the operation and know a lot of the people he works with? I would like to have, for whatever it is worth, your objective, dispassionate analysis of what motivates Reverend Fry.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Well, I certainly don't believe that the Reverend Fry is a naive individual, and I feel certain that Reverend Fry is aware of the climate that he has, more or less, created and has perpetuated as it relates to the gang structures.
Now, why Reverend Fry will persist in this, I don't know. I don't know. I have my own personal opinions of the gentleman but you are not looking for my opinions. I don't know if that man wants to create his own dynasty, or whatever it is. But whatever it is, it is totally improper.
Senator MUNDT. Is it your objective opinion that, regardless of what motivates him, his efforts, leadership, and his connections with this movement are working to the detriment of the colored youth of the city of Chicago in his area ?
Mr. GRIFFIN. Yes, sir. Let's say all the leadership that he has given this group has been negative.
Senator MUNDT. Just to set the record straight—I don't know how accurate his testimony has been up to this point, and these hearings ultimately may disclose that, or when the record goes to the Department of Justice they may disclose it, but he was shockingly wrong when he told his congregation yesterday, as reported in the Chicago Sun Times, on Monday, July 1, on page 14, where it was said that the cleric, alluding to Reverend Fry, accused Karl E. Mundt, a subcommittee member, of failing to understand the role of the church in today's society. "He thinks,” meaning me, “the business of the church is to go to lunch with the mayor, and give opening prayers to the National Association of Manufacturers."
The Reverend Fry said that. I happen to know the Reverend Fry was totally wrong when he said that, and if he is as wrong in his testimony before this committee as he is wrong when he says that, he is apt to be in trouble because of the conflict of testimony.
I have tried to make it clear throughout that I wish the mayor of Chicago nothing but bad luck politically. I am not on his team. But he is taking the proper steps to enforce law and order in the city of Chicago, and I am for it.
But I certainly don't believe I would be encouraging people to go have lunch with him, because he is a very persuasive politician, and he might line up some more Democratic votes. That takes care of
I don't think I have ever in my life, even in my sleep, said that I think the function of any member of the clergy, especially Reverend Fry, is to give opening prayers to National Association of Manufacturers.
Maybe opening prayers to that association would be good, as they would be good for a lot of other Americans, but I have never thought of that remotely as the function of the church in modern society.
I don't object to his attacking me in his pulpit, but I measure that as a sort of indication that his accuracy was pretty bad Sunday morning when he gave that passionate talk to the people in the congregation.
Mr. GRIFFIN. I heard it, Senator Mundt. It was broadcast at noon on WCFL.
Senator MUNDT. Is that an accurate quote?
The CHAIRMAN. Is there anything further?
Senator MUNDT. Let me ask you: What is your position in the State's attorney's office?
Mr. GRIFFIN. I am not with the State's attorney's office. I am the commanding officer of the third district.
Senator MUNDT. You have been in the law-enforcement business quite a while?
Mr. GRIFFIN. 2212 years.