Police Brutality: East Side Jews Demand Subpoena 1902

Abraham H. Saransohn, a lawyer of 346 Broadway, who is one of the committee of East Siders having in charge the prosecution of the police and the inciters of the riot which took place while the funeral procession of Rabbi Joseph was passing the Hoe Company's plant on Wednesday last, accompanied by Police Captain Albertson of the Delancey street station, appeared in the Essex Market police court yesterday and secured a subpoena for "John Doe of R. Hoe & Co.:

Mr. Saransohn, when seen later at his office, said:

"John Doe is really Harry Serle, one of the men who testified at the inquiry before Inspector Brooks at police headquarters. We members of the East Side Vigilant League have determined on two proceedings. One proceeding, which will be held in the police court against the employees of R. Hoe & Co., and the other against the police for abusing and brutally clubbing the Jews in the funeral cortege.

"Serle is a very important and material witness in both prosecutions.

"He has made affidavits and is willing to tell all he knows. He was to have appeared with Captain Albertson and myself to-day, in the Essex Market court, and we were to have secured warrants against such employees of R. Hoe & Co. as were implicated in the riot.

"He failed to appear in court and we therefore secured subpoenas.

"Since securing the subpenas which we served on Serle by Captain Albertson, we have learned that the reason he did not appear in court was because threats that he would be assaulted and killed were made against him. On account of these threats he was afraid to go home last night and spent the entire night at Coney Island.

"Police Captain Albertson promised that he would protect the witness and if necessary furnish a man to stay with him until such time as he deemed himself safe. We have learned that not only does the captain refuse to give his protection, but also refuses to issue a permit so the witness might carry a revolver as a safeguard against assault."

The press committee of the East Side Vigilance League this afternoon issued the following statement in answer to the statement made by Inspector Cross that the attack on the Hoe building was premeditated.

"No matter how bitterly we may feel toward the cowards who perpetrated these outrages we have decided to refrain from making any comment until that time when we shall be in a position to place before the public proofs and evidence of such a character as will make it impossible for those who may be guilty to escape or to dodge the issue.

"The facts as far as they have been brought to light by all the parties involved, including the admissions made by the Hoe management as well as those of the police and also the statements made by the representatives of various newspapers (not Jewish,) who were eyewitnesses of the outrage, are, it seems to us, sufficient to warrant a conviction. There were nothing less than four policemen in front of the Hoe factory at the time of the outbreak of the trouble. This means that the police admit that a gang of hoodlums were permitted to abuse and assault a peaceable and lawful assemblage right in the presence of at least four guardians of the peace. Had there not been four policemen, had there been merely one who would have cared to perform his duty, this outrage could have been stopped by the mere raising of a hand. The police did nothing to suppress the barbaric onslaught of the ruffians in the factory. They permitted the outrage to grow to such dimensions that the patience of the meekest in the crowd could endure no more, and then when this happened, when the crowd, after making a number of unsuccessful attempts to prevail upon the superiors in the Hoe factory to intercede in their behalf (according to the admissions of the same authorities), saw that the police did nothing to protect them in the performance of their most sacred rite, they resented the attacks of the Hoe crew by hurling back the missiles which were aimed at them from the factory windows.

"It was at this junction that the police charged the crowd and attempted to split the heads and bruise the faces, not of the aggressors, not of those who originated and precipitated the clash, but upon the innocent and inoffensive."

Captain Albertson, commander of the Thirteenth Precinct, which includes the Hoe factory in its bounds, declared that he did not want to discuss the alleged charges of Herman Serle, the witness in the movement to discover which one of the employees of R. Hoe & Co. threw the waste.

"You may say," the captain continued, "that I consider that there is no danger for any one in this district. Of course, I have seen many people since the trouble and I may have met the ma Serle. Possibly he was one of the witnesses whom I met at police headquarters. There is no danger for any one in this precinct on account of the trouble last Wednesday. If Serle or any one else needs a body guard to protect him he can have it."

There were exercises in memory of the late Rabbi Joseph yesterday afternoon at the Jewish Free Sewing Recreation and Religious School, 120 Columbia street. The audience consisted chiefly of the young Hebrew girls who are pupils in the school, nearly 200 of them, but there were also the parents of a number of the pupils present. The address was delivered by Adolph Benjamin, the superintendent of the school, who spoke first in Yiddish and afterward in English.

A committee headed by Lawyer Benjamin F. Spellman, and accompanied by Herman Serels, the witness against whom threats of violence had been made, called at the Delancey street station in order to get Captain Albertson to place himself on record as either refusing or agreeing to give the witness the protection of the police. The committee arrived at the station house at 3 o'clock, but did not see the captain, who was out.

Serels, who was very nervous and frightened, stated that he had been personally served with the subpoenas to appear in Essex Market Court on Tuesday at 2:30 o'clock by Captain Albertson. He alleged that the captain when asked for protection, said to him:

"You seem to be a big, healthy fellow, and ought to be able to take care of yourself. It's all right. Nobody will interfere with you. If anybody assaults you, or you get into trouble, come in and see me."

In order that the witness be not spirited away, arrangements have been made to have him board at the home of one of the members of the committee until wanted. He was a screw machine boy, and earned $12 a week. A week's wages are due him from R. Hoe & Co., but he is afraid to go to the office to collect it.

Mr. Spellman, in behalf of the committee has promised Serels to see that he is supplied with funds and that he secures employment.

Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: Police Brutality: East Side Jews Demand Subpena 1902
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The Brooklyn Eagle August 3, 1902
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