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“The Killer Behind the Badge”: Race and Police Homicide In New Orleans, 1925–1945

Abstract

At 5:45 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 1943, New Orleans police patrolman John Licali fatally shot 29-year-old Felton Robinson, an unemployed presser. A few minutes earlier, a neighbor had heard a disturbance in the backyard of Robinson's Loyola Street home and had alerted the Twelfth Precinct police station, which dispatched officers Licali and Emile Eskine to investigate. When they arrived, however, they found no signs of disorder. The policemen asked “was there any trouble,” and Robinson answered “no” and invited the officers to come to the back of the small house and “see my wife.” Veola Robinson, who was casually ironing clothes, explained that she and her husband (both of whom were African-American) had argued a short time earlier about purchasing an automobile. Felton Robinson, the woman added, suffered from “spells” and the effects of a “nervous breakdown,” and he had been “cursing and getting boisterous,” prompting the neighbor to summon the police. But the argument had quickly subsided. Licali and Eskine found Robinson to be quiet and peaceful, and the officers, persuaded that the minor domestic quarrel had ended, left the house. As Eskine entered the patrol car, Licali, a few steps behind his partner, turned to Robinson and admonished him “to keep quiet [because] if he talked loud again some of the neighbors might think he is fighting with his wife and call the police again, and they would have to come back again.” Then, according to the officers' report, “without provocation Felton Robinson suddenly attacked Patrolman John Licali,” grabbing the policeman's right arm, dragging him back into the house, hurling him to the floor, and throwing a glass bowl at him. When Robinson “went to the dresser and opened a drawer,” Licali believed that the violent, deranged man was securing a weapon, and the policeman drew his .38 caliber service revolver and fired three shots. In his report, Licali explained that he “was forced to shoot Felton Robinson in defense of his own life.”

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jadler@ufl.edu
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1. “Report of Homicide of Felton Robinson,” June 17, 1943, Department of [New Orleans] Police, Homicide Reports, New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana Division, City Archives, New Orleans Public Library [hereafter cited as “Homicide Reports”].

2. “Mentally Sick Man Shot by Cop,” Louisiana Weekly, June 26, 1943, 1, 6; “Report of Homicide of Felton Robinson,” June 17, 1943, Homicide Reports.

3. “Report of Homicide of Felton Robinson,” June 17, 1943, Homicide Reports.

4. New Orleans Times-Picayune, March 6, 1939. For late twentieth-century comparisons, see Robin Gerald D., “Justifiable Homicide by Police Officers,” Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science 54 (1963): 229; Sherman Lawrence W., “Execution Without Trial: Police Homicide and the Constitution,” Vanderbilt Law Review 71 (1980), 71; Skolnick Jerome H. and Fyfe James J., Above the Law: Police and the Excessive Use of Force (New York: Free Press, 1993), 41; DeRoma Nicholas John, “Justifiable Use of Deadly Force By The Police: A Statutory Survey,” William and Mary Law Review 12 (1970): 68; Jodi M. Brown and Patrick A. Langan, “Policing and Homicide, 1976-98: Justifiable Homicide by Police, Police Officers Murdered by Felons,” (Report of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2001); Tennessee v. Garner et al., 471 U.S. 1 (Washington, DC, 1985); Fyfe James F., “Blind Justice: Police Shootings in Memphis,” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 72 (1982): 707–22; and Sparger Jerry R. and Giacopassi David J., “Memphis Revisited: A Reexamination of Police Shootings after the Garner Decision,” Justice Quarterly 9 (1992): 211–25.

5. White and African-American newspapers generally concurred on the basic facts of the violence, although African-American newspapers more often depicted African-American victims in sympathetic terms.

6. “Mentally Sick Man Shot by Cop,” Louisiana Weekly, October 3, 1942, 1, 6. Also see Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (1944; reprint edition, with an introduction by Sissela Bok, New Brunswick: Transaction, 1962), 535; and O'Brien Gail Williams, The Color of the Law: Race, Violence, and Justice in the Post-World War II South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999), 143.

7. See Holmes Malcolm D. and Smith Brad W., Race and Police Brutality: Roots of an Urban Dilemma (Albany: SUNY Press, 2008), 20; and Westley William A., “Violence and the Police,” American Journal of Sociology 59 (1953): 38.

8. C[onstant]. C[harles]. Dejoie, “The Killer Behind the Badge,” Louisiana Weekly, October 3, 1942,10. For an excellent analysis of this issue, see Moore Leonard N., Black Rage in New Orleans: Police Brutality and African American Activism from World War II to Hurricane Katrina (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2010), 3, 21.

9. For exceptions, see Rousey Dennis C., “Cops and Guns: Police Use of Deadly Force in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans,” American Journal of Legal History 28 (1984): 4166; and Adler Jeffrey S., “Shoot to Kill: The Use of Deadly Force by the Chicago Police, 1875–1920,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 38 (2007): 233–54.

10. For important studies of police brutality, see Johnson Marliynn S., Street Justice: A History of Police Violence in New York City (Boston: Beacon Press, 2003); Moore, Black Rage in New Orleans; and Wright George C., “The Billy Club and the Ballot: Police Intimidation of Blacks in Louisville, 1880–1930,” Southern Studies 13 (1984): 2041. Also see U.S. Commission on Law Enforcement, Report on Lawlessness in Law Enforcement (vol. 11 of The Wickersham Commission Report) (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1931). For the development of the police, see Lane Roger, Policing the City: Boston, 1822–1885 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967); Miller Wilbur R., Cops and Bobbies: Police Authority in New York and London, 1830–1870 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973); Rousey Dennis C., Policing the Southern City: New Orleans, 1805–1889 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996); Fogelson Robert M., Big-City Police (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1977); Walker Samuel, A Critical History of Police Reform: The Emergence of Professionalism (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1977); and Johnson David R., American Law Enforcement: A History (Arlington Heights, IL: Forum Press, 1981). For cops and street life, see Johnson David R., Policing the Urban Underworld: The Impact of Crime on the Development of the American Police, 1800–1887 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1979); and Sacks Marcy S., “‘To Show Who Was is Charge’: Police Repression of New York City's Black Population at the Turn of the Twentieth Century,” Journal of Urban History 31 (2005): 799819.

11. For a few particularly important examples, see Johnson, Street Justice; Moore, Black Rage in New Orleans; Dudziak Mary, Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Making of American Democracy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002); and Escobar Edward, Race, Police, and the Making of a Political Identity: Mexican Americans and the LAPD (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999).

12. Moore William V., “Civil Liberties in Louisiana: The Louisiana League for the Preservation of Constitutional Rights,” Louisiana History 31 (1990): 67; Joseph H. Fichter, with the collaboration of Brian Jordan, “Police Handlings of Arrestees: A Research Study of Police Arrests in New Orleans” (unpublished report, Department of Sociology, Loyola University of the South, 1964), 32.

13. Hirsch Arnold R., “Simply a Matter of Black and White: The Transformation of Race and Politics in Twentieth-Century New Orleans,” in Creole New Orleans: Race and Americanization, ed. Hirsch Arnold R. and Logsdon Joseph (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1992), 318. The adult African-American population of the city was approximately 100,000.

14. See Smith Bruce, The New Orleans Police Survey (New Orleans: Bureau of Governmental Research, 1946), 18. For a brief reference to the shortcomings of these files, see Tennie Erwin Daugette, “Homicide in New Orleans” (Master's thesis, Tulane University, 1931). A similar disparity occurred in homicide totals for Memphis and generated a fierce debate between the statistician Frederick L. Hoffman and Memphis municipal officials, who were desperate to discount reports of their city's towering homicide rate. See “Misleading Homicide Figures,” Memphis Commercial Appeal, December 29, 1917, 6; “Explains Memphis Homicide Statistics,” The Spectator, February 21, 1918, 95; “Homicides in Memphis, Tenn.,” The Spectator, June 4, 1925, 7.

15. The core facts of the encounters, however, were rarely in dispute, and therefore it is possible to reconstruct the events leading to the use of deadly force. The different records and different voices offer revealing evidence about motivation, such as Veola Robinson noting that John Licali called her husband “boy” immediately before Felton Robinson “tussled” with the patrolman.

16. See Nicholas John DeRoma, “Justifiable Use of Deadly Force by the Police”; Clark William L., Handbook of Criminal Procedure, 2nd ed. (St. Paul: West Publishing, 1918), 6062; Grigsby James E., The Criminal Law including The Federal Criminal Code (Chicago: Burdette J. Smith, 1922), 508; and Wharton Francis, The Law of Homicide, 3rd ed. (Rochester: Lawyer's Cooperative Publishing, 1907), 740–51.

17. “Detective Slayer of Fleeing Youth Wins Exoneration,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, August 22, 1929, 12.

18. See Marr Robert H., The Criminal Jurisprudence of Louisiana, 2nd ed. (New Orleans: F.F. Hansell, 1923), 115–20.

19. Moore, “Civil Liberties in Louisiana,” 60; Fairclough Adam, Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Movement in Louisiana, 1915–1972 (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1995), 79.

20. “Report of Homicide of Hattie McCray,” February 10, 1930, Homicide Reports; “Statement of Charles Guerand relative to the Shooting and Dangerously [sic] Wounding of one Hattie McCray,” February 10, 1930, Transcripts of Statements of Witnesses to Homicides, New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana Division, City Archives, New Orleans Public Library [hereafter cited as “Transcripts of Statements”]; and “Girl Refused Advances of White Beast,” Louisiana Weekly, February 15, 1930, 1.

21. For example, Police Superintendent Theodore Ray responded to Raymond Credo killing a “bandit” by announcing “I will consider a promotion” for the patrolman. See “Two Bandits Shot Down Fleeing Scene,” New Orleans Item, April 27, 1930, 14. Also see Moore, “Civil Liberties in Louisiana,” 60.

22. “Burglar Shot Down As Police Find Two Ransacking House,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, January 21, 1929, 1.

23. “2 Detectives Found Guilty,” Louisiana Weekly, June 3, 1933, 7.

24. Quoted in Moore, “Civil Liberties in Louisiana,” 68.

25. Dejoie, “Not Guilty,” Louisiana Weekly, May 30, 1931, 6.

26. Moore, “Civil Liberties in Louisiana,” 59.

27. See Rousey, Policing the Southern City; and Smith Tom, The Crescent City Lynchings: The Murder of Chief Hennessey, the New Orleans “Mafia” Trials, and the Parish Prison Mob (Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2007).

28. Smith, The New Orleans Police Survey, 1–3, 26, 28, 34, 35; U. S. Commission on Law Enforcement, Report on Police (vol. 14 of The Wickersham Commission Report), 68; and Vyhnanek Louis, Unorganized Crime: New Orleans in the 1920s (Lafayette, LA: Center for Louisiana Studies, 1998), 32.

29. Smith, The New Orleans Police Survey, 29, 35; and Vyhnanek, Unorganized Crime, 32.

30. Smith, The New Orleans Police Survey, 29; and Dulaney W. Marvin, Black Police in America (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996), 4445.

31. For a thoughtful discussion of this issue, see Moore, Black Rage in New Orleans, 19. Also see Fichter, “Police Handling of Arrestees,” 32.

32. Smith, The New Orleans Police Survey, 35.

33. Myrdal, An American Dilemma, 540.

34. By comparison, during the early 1970s, police homicide accounted for 3.61 percent of U.S. homicides. See Sherman Lawrence W. and Langworthy Robert H., “Measuring Homicide by Police Officers,” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 70 (1979): 553.

35. In his newspaper-based research on South Carolina from 1920 to 1926, H[Arrington]. C.. Brearley found that policemen committed fifty-three percent of white-on-black homicides. See Brearley , “Homicide in South Carolina: A Regional Study,” Social Forces 8 (1929): 221.

36. Brown and Langan, “Policing and Homicide, 1976–98,” 33; and Robin, “Justifiable Homicide by Police Officers,” 229.

37. New Orleans appeared to follow national trends. Chicago is one of the only cities for which comparable data is available, and Chicago law enforcers were most homicidal in 1932 and least homicidal in 1941, just as Chicago's overall homicide rate peaked in 1925 and troughed during the early 1940s. For Chicago data, see Sellin Thorstein, The Death Penalty (Philadelphia: American Law Institute, 1959), 60.

38. This is a minimum figure. The police often failed to include any such information. But in fourteen of the fifty-nine cases, the homicide reports explicitly noted a criminal record.

39. “Report of Homicide of John Fazzio,” August 18, 1929, Homicide Reports; “One Boy in Three Facing Car Theft Charge Wounded,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, August 19, 1929, 3; and “Detective Slayer of Youth Wins Exoneration,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, August 22, 1929, 12.

40. “Police Shoot Man to Effect Arrest,” Louisiana Weekly, June 18, 1932, 1.

41. The city homicide rate hovered in the middle of the range for Southern cities. See Frederick L. Hoffman, “The Homicide Record for 1931,” Spectator, March 31, 1932, 12–13.

42. Cohn David L., “New Orleans: The City That Care Forgot,” Atlantic Monthly 165 (1940): 491; and “Sale of Pistols,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, March 3, 1926, 8.

43. For example, see “Police to Get Machine Guns to Fight Bandits,” New Orleans Item, March 31, 1926, 1; and “15 Die, 12 Wounded in Orleans Hold-Up Cases During Last Year,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, January 1, 1931, 1.

44. In 1932, however, a robbery suspect, Percy Thompson, grabbed an interrogating officer's weapon after being beaten, and engaged in a protracted gun battle with local policemen. Thompson killed three policemen, and this incident, much like Robert Charles's 1900 riot with New Orleans policemen, haunted local law enforcers and reminded them of the dangers that they encountered, particularly from African-American residents. For accounts of the Thompson incident, see “Prisoner Kills Three Police; Is Slain by Detective,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, March 10, 1932, 1; and “Prisoner Fights 200 City Policemen; 3 are Slain and He Too, Fatally Shot,” Louisiana Weekly, March 12, 1932, 1. For an account of the Charles riot, see Hair William Ivy, Carnival of Fury: Robert Charles and the New Orleans Race Riot of 1900 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1976). Because the homicide reports for 1932 have been lost, I did not have systematic data on this year, and therefore the Thompson killings were not used in my quantitative analyses.

45. The ratio for the United States during the late twentieth century was five to one. See Brown and Langan, “Policing and Homicide, 1976–98,” 1, 19. For the 1950s, see Robin, “Justifiable Homicides by Police Officers,” 230, and for the 1960s, see Waegel William B., “How Police Justify the Use of Deadly Force,” Social Problems 32 (1984): 144.

46. Every victim in every document was described as either “white” or “negro.” Police reports and accounts in white newspapers relied on this racial dualism, as did every witness interview with African-American New Orleanians and every report, article, and editorial appearing in the African-American Louisiana Weekly. Such a binary construction of local society is consistent with Arnold R. Hirsch's observation that “an unwavering racial dualism” developed in the city over the course of the twentieth century. Hirsch, “Simply a Matter of Black and White,” 318. Police records also folded Hispanic residents into the “white” category.

47. Robin, “Justifiable Homicide by Police Officers,” 229; Fyfe, “Blind Justice,” 719–21.

48. “Report of Homicide of Edward Rovira,” March 21, 1939, Homicide Reports; and “Dope Suspect is Slain Here,” New Orleans Item, March 21, 1939, 5.

49. “Police to Get Machine Guns to Fight Bandits,” New Orleans Item, March 31, 1926, 1; “Burglar Shot Down As Police Find Two Ransacking House,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, January 21, 1929, 1; and Vyhnanek, Unorganized Crime, 46–47. For Hoover, see Potter Claire Bond, War on Crime: Bandits, G-Men, and the Politics of Mass Culture (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1998). For crime fighting and aggressive policing, see Johnson, Street Justice, 8.

50. “Police to Use Machine Guns to Battle Bandits in Future,” New Orleans Item, July 10, 1929, 1.

51. Moore, Civil Liberties in Louisiana,” 67.

52. “Man Shot by Officer Dies,” Louisiana Weekly, September 3, 1932, 1, 4; and “Suspension for Officer Gagan,” Louisiana Weekly, July 22, 1933, 1.

53. Moore, “Civil Liberties in Louisiana,” 67; and Myrdal, An American Dilemma, 535.

54. “Man Shot by Officer Dies,” Louisiana Weekly, September 3, 1932, 1, 4; and “Suspension for Officer Gagan,” Louisiana Weekly, July 22, 1933, 1.

55. “Negro Fleeing Arrest Killed by Road Police,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 30, 1930, 1; and “Report of Homicide of Milton Battise,” June 29, 1930, Homicide Reports.

56. Harold Lee, quoted in Moore, “Civil Liberties in Louisiana,” 67.

57. See Fichter, “Police Handling of Arrestees,” 32–33. Myrdal makes a similar point. See American Dilemma, 541. Also see Chevigny Paul, The Edge of the Knife: Police Violence in the Americas (New York: New Press, 1995), 140.

58. For example, see “Policeman Jailed After Terrorizing Negroes at Wake,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, December 28, 1930, 1. Also see Myrdal, An American Dilemma, 542; Johnson Guy B., “The Negro and Crime,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 217 (1941): 97; and Davis Allison, Gardner Burleigh B., and Gardner Mary R., Deep South: A Social Anthropological Study of Caste and Class (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1941), 501.

59. Myrdal, An American Dilemma, 540.

60. “Second Man Shot at Gentilly,” Louisiana Weekly, August 12, 1933, 4. Although injured, Singleton recovered.

61. Fifty–four different police officers committed the fifty-nine police homicides. Frank Lannes killed three men, two of them white suspects, in the line of duty, making him the city's most homicidal law enforcer during this period. Lannes held the rank of patrolman when he killed his first victim, the rank of detective when he shot the second suspect, and the rank of captain when he killed Boon Coulter, a white robbery suspect who exchanged gunfire with him.

62. See Fichter, “Police Handling of Arrestees,” 32. For social hierarchy and violence, see Gould Roger V., Collision of Wills: How Ambiguity about Social Rank Breeds Conflict (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003). A sociologist, Gould argued that uncertainty in social hierarchies increases the likelihood of violence, as both parties try to establish superiority. In many respects, this model fits inter-racial police homicide in early twentieth-century New Orleans, because African-American acts of perceived defiance threatened policemen's notions of the racial hierarchy and represented assertions of a dangerous kind of equality.

63. “Report of Homicide of Clarence Thompson,” August 17, 1941, Homicide Reports; Statement of John Messina relative to a shooting in which a negro was killed,” August 17, 1941, Transcripts of Statements; “Prowler Killed When He Invades Policeman's Yard,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, August 18, 1941, 3; and “Witnesses Say Man Shot Down in Cold Blood,” Louisiana Weekly, August 23, 1941, 4.

64. Richard E. Sykes and Edward E. Brent argue that police officers first repeat their commands, and if this fails to produce compliance from suspects, law enforcers take more forceful actions to gain control over the encounter. See Sykes and Brent , “Regulation of Interaction by Police,” Criminology 18 (1980): 182–97.

65. “Report of Homicide of George Simmons,” January 10, 1931, Homicide Reports; “Policeman Jailed After Terrorizing Negroes at Wake,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, December 28, 1930, 1; “Ex-Policeman Goes to Trial for Killing at Wake,” New Orleans Item, May 20, 1931, 1.

66. Dollard John, Caste and Class in a Southern Town (New York: Anchor, 1937), 269.

67. Hoffman Frederick L., “The Increase in Murder,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 125 (1926): 23; and Brearley H[Arrington]. C., “The Pattern of Violence,” in Culture in the South, ed. Couch W[illiam]. T. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1935), 690.

68. Harlan Howard, “Five Hundred Homicides,” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 40 (1950): 739.

69. Smith, The New Orleans Police Survey, 8–9.

70. See Dejoie, “Some Crime Reports,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, October 11, 1930, 10; Dejoie, “Negro Homicides,” Louisiana Weekly, September 23, 1933, 8; Dublin Louis I. and Bunzel Bessie, “Thou Shalt Not Kill: A Study of Homicide in the United Sates,” Survey Graphic 24 (1935): 127–29; and Brearley H[arrington]. C., Homicide in the United States (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1932), 97116.

71. For related discussions, see Myrdal, An American Dilemma, 542; and Moore, Black Rage in New Orleans, 8. Many studies of late twentieth-century police interactions with African–American residents have documented this mixture of fear and anxiety. For a few examples, see Holmes and Smith, Race and Police Brutality, 7–8; Waegel, “How Police Justify the Use of Deadly Force,” 147; and Skolnick Jerome H., Justice Without Trial: Law Enforcement in Democratic Society (New York: John Wiley, 1966), 47. William Terrill and Michael D. Reisig describe the “ecological contamination” that results when police officers feel themselves struggling to maintain order in dangerous, high-crime neighborhoods and that contributes to police use of force. See Terrill and Reisig , “Neighborhood Context and Police Use of Force,” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 40 (2003): 295–97.

72. “Patrolman Shot, Instantly Killed by Crazed Negro,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, December 25, 1925, 1; and “Report of Homicide of Patrolman William C. Grunewald,” December 24, 1925, Homicide Reports. For a similar explanation, see Dejoie, “Fiendish Mississippians,” Louisiana Weekly, April 16, 1932, 6. Also see Holmes and Smith, Race and Police Brutality, 92.

73. Report of Homicide of Archie Robertson,” February 6, 1938, Homicide Reports; and “Statement of Gale Fulton relative to a crazed un-identified negro running amuck at Melpomene and Camps Sts., and promiscuously [sic] cutting white citizens and two police officers,” February 6, 1938, Transcripts of Statements.

74. Wire service reports of New Orleans homicides used this phrase as well. For example, see “Kills Two, Wounds Two,” New York Times, March 10, 1932, 12; and “New Orleans Fight at Jail Fatal to 3,” Washington Post, March 10, 1932, 3.

75. Late twentieth-century police officers expressed similar concerns and fears. See Holmes and Smith, Race and Police Brutality, 33–35, 67.

76. Moore, Black Rage in New Orleans, 19.

77. African-American residents killed five policemen during the 14 years for which the police files are complete. But on March 9, 1932, Percy Thompson, an African-American robbery suspect, killed three policemen before surrendering and being shot and killed.

78. As noted in n. 43, the Thompson killings occurred in a year for which the homicide reports did not survive, and therefore these homicides were not included in my quantitative analysis. For the Thompson incident, see “Prisoner Kills Three Police,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, March 10, 1932, 1, 3; “Prisoner Fights 200 City Policemen,” Louisiana Weekly, March 12, 1932, 1; “Statement of Percy Thompson relative to having fatally shot Corporal Geo. Weidert and Patrolman Cornelius Ford,” March 9, 1932, Transcripts of Statements.

79. Dejoie, “Brutal Slayings,” Louisiana Weekly, May 14, 1932, 7.

80. For “suggestive moves,” see Waegel, “How Police Justify the Use of Deadly Force,” 147.

81. “Statement of Jos. Rizzo in relation to an automobile accident resulting in the shooting and wounding [of] one Edward Saunders,” March 4, 1930, Transcripts of Statements.

82. For a similar assessment, see Myrdal, An American Dilemma, 542.

83. Brearley noted a similar reaction. See Homicide in the United States, 101.

84. See Holmes and Smith, Race and Police Brutality, 86.

85. Dejoie, “Fiendish Mississippians,” Louisiana Weekly, April 16, 1932, 6.

86. For example, see ibid., Dejoie, “Too Thin,” March 29, 1930, 6; and Dejoie, “A Call to Arms,” May 13, 1933, 1. Also see Westley, “Violence and the Police,” 39.

87. Dejoie, “No Excuse for Police Brutality,” Louisiana Weekly, February 11, 1939, 8.

88. Ibid., Dejoie, “Not Guilty,” May 30, 1931, 6.

89. Ibid., Dejoie, “Another ‘Accidental Shooting,” October 28, 1933, 8. Also see ibid., Dejoie, “No Excuse for Police Brutality,” February 11, 1939, 8.

90. For example, see ibid., John Bowers, “540 Persons Arrested in Raid,” September 30, 1933, 1. This article describes the arrest, photographing, and finger printing of 540 African-Americans to solve one robbery case.

91. Ibid., Dejoie, “Indiscriminate Arrests,” August 28, 1943, 10; and Dejoie, “Juvenile Delinquency,” September 4, 1943, 1.

92. See ibid., Dejoie, “Police Brutality,” February 3, 1940, 8; Dejoie, “The ‘Hot Tamale’ Decision,” November 8, 1941, 10; “Charge Two, Though Scores Were Put in Hoosegow for Night,” August 3, 1940; Dejoie, “There is No Excuse,” May 20, 1939, 8; Moore, “Civil Liberties in Louisiana,” 60, 65, 67; and Fairclough, Race and Democracy, 79.

93. “Report of Homicide of Jessie Walton,” May 24, 1941, Homicide Reports; and “Statement of Charles Jones relative to shooting and killing an unidentified negro,” May 24, 1941, Transcripts of Statements.

94. Dejoie, “It's Happened Again,” Louisiana Weekly, May 31, 1941, 6. Also see also ibid., Dejoie, “There is No Excuse,” May 20, 1939, 8.

95. Ibid, DeJoie, “‘Runs Amuck’—Or Desperation,” April 23, 1933, 6.

96. Johnson, “The Negro and Crime,” 97.

97. “Denied Attacking Officer,” Louisiana Weekly, September 7, 1940, p. 1; and ibid., “Union Protests Police Slaying,” October 3, 1942, 1

98. Ibid., “Shot to Death ‘Escaping’ Police,” January 13, 1945, 2. Also see also ibid., Dejoie, “Not Guilty,” May 30, 1931, 6; and Moore, Black Rage in New Orleans, 55.

99. See Holmes and Smith, Race and Police Brutality, 76.

100. “Rampart Street Scene of Bloody Beating,” Louisiana Weekly, June 19, 1943, 1. For a similar process in New York City, see Johnson, Street Justice, 193–94.

101. Dejoie, “It's Happened Again,” Louisiana Weekly, May 3, 1941, 6.

102. Fairclough, Race and Democracy, 75, 79, 110. Also see Johnson, Street Justice, 191.

103. Moore, Black Rage in New Orleans, 3, 21, 254.

104. See “Shot to Death ‘Escaping’ Police,” Louisiana Weekly, January 13, 1945, 2. For a late twentieth–century discussion of this process, see Waegel, “How Police Justify the Use of Deadly Force,” 152.

105. For example, see “Report of Homicide of Ernest White,” March 21, 1926, Homicide Reports; and “Denied Attacking Officer,” Louisiana Weekly, September 7, 1940, 1; and Dejoie, “The Killer Behind the Badge,” October 3, 1942, 10.

106. For example, see Dejoie, “Not Guilty,” Louisiana Weekly, May 30, 1931, 6; ibid., “Pistol Wound is Fatal to George Jones,” February 27, 1932, 1, 4; and ibid., “Man Killed by Officer in His Home,” May 7, 1932, 1.

107. “Report of Homicide of Charles Hunter,” May 11, 1927, Homicide Reports.

108. For example, see Skolnick Jerome, Justice Without Trial: Law Enforcement in Democratic Society (New York: John Wiley, 1966), 4748; Terrill and Reisig, “Neighborhood Context and Police Use of Force,” 307; Binder Arnold and Scharf Peter, “The Violent Police-Citizen Encounter,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 452 (1980): 114, 118; and Meyer Marshall W., “Police Shootings at Minorities: The Case of Los Angeles,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 452 (1980):109.

109. Rubinstein Jonathan, City Police (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1973), 330.

110. Terrill and Reisig, “Neighborhood Context and Police Use of Force,” 307; Meyer, “Police Shootings at Minorities,” 101, 103; Binder and Scharf, “The Violent Police-Citizen Encounter,” 118; and Holmes and Smith, Race and Police Brutality, 90, 33–34.

111. Waegel, “How Police Justify the Use of Deadly Force,” 150–51.

112. Smith Michael R. and Alpert Geoffrey P., “Explaining Police Bias: A Theory of Social Conditioning and Illusory Correlation,” Criminal Justice and Behavior 34 (2007): 1277.

113. Knight David C., Nguyen Hanh T., and Bandettini Peter, “Expressions of Conditional Fear With and Without Awareness,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States 100 (2003): 15,280; Phelps Elizabeth A. and Thomas Laura A., “Race, Behavior, and the Brain: The Role of Neuroimaging in Understanding Complex Social Behaviors,” Political Psychology 24 (2003): 750.

114. Devine Patricia G., “Stereotype and Prejudice: Their Automatic and Controlled Components,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 56 (1989): 6.

115. Sagar H. Andrew and Schofield Janet Ward, “Racial and Behavioral Cues in Black and White Children's Perceptions of Ambiguously Aggressive Acts,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 39 (1980): 596; and Duncan Birt L., “Differential Social Perception and Attribution of Intergroup Violence: Testing the Lower Limits of Stereotyping of Blacks,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 34 (1976): 591.

116. Banks R. Richard, Eberhardt Jennifer, and Ross Lee, “Discrimination and Implicit Bias in a Racially Unequal Society,” California Law Review 94 (2006): 1172.

117. Correll Joshua, Park Bernadette, Judd Charles M., and Wittenbrink Bernrd, “The Police Officer's Dilemma: Using Ethnicity to Disambiguate Potentially Threatening Individuals,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 83 (2002): 1314–15; Sagar and Schofield, “Racial and Behavioral Cues in Black and White Children's Perceptions of Ambiguously Aggressive Acts,” 596.

118. Correll, Park, Judd, and Wittenbrink, “The Police Officer's Dilemma,” 1325–27; Eberhardt Jennifer L., Dasgupta Nilanjana, and Banaszynski Tracy L., “Believing is Seeing: The Effects of Racial Labels and Implicit Beliefs on Face Perception,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 29 (2003): 360; Smith and Alpert, “Explaining Police Bias,” 1277; and Kang Jerry, “Trojan Horse of Race,” Harvard Law Review 118 (2005): 1503–4.

119. Eberhardt, Dasgupta, and Banaszynski, “Believing is Seeing,” 361; Payne B. Keith, “Prejudice and Perception: The Role of Automatic and Controlled Processes in Misperceiving a Weapon,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 81 (2001): 182, 186; and Devine Patricia G., “Implicit Prejudice and Stereotyping: How Automatic Are They?” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 81 (2001): 757.

120. Correll, Park, Judd, and Wittenbrink, “The Police Officer's Dilemma,” 1327; and Banks, Eberhardt, and Ross, “Discrimination and Implicit Bias in a Racially Unequal Society,” 1174. Also see Eberhardt, Dasgupta, and Banaszynski, “Believing is Seeing,” 361; Eberhardt Jennifer L., Goff Philip Atiba, Purdie Valerie J., and Davies Paul G., “Seeing Black: Race, Crime, and Visual Processing,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 87 (2004): 876; Smith and Alpert, “Explaining Police Bias,” 1272; Payne, “Prejudice and Perception,” 189; Devine, “Stereotype and Prejudice,” 7; Kang, “Trojan Horse of Race,” 1525; Plant E. Ashby and Peruche B. Michelle, “The Consequences of Race for Police Officers' Response to Criminal Suspects,” Psychological Science 16 (2005): 180.

121. Payne, “Prejudice and Perception,” 181.

122. Knight, Nguyen, and Bandettini, “Expressions of Conditional Fear With and Without Awareness,” 15,280.

123. The amygdala, a structure in the brain that processes memories of emotional reactions, particularly fear, activates when white tests subject see pictures of African-Americans. See Phelps and Thomas, “Race, Behavior, and the Brain,” 754; Phelps Elizabeth A., O'Connor Kevin J., Cunningham William A., Funayama E. Sumie, Gatenby J. Christopher, Gore John C., and Banaji Mahzarin R., “Performance on Indirect Measures of Race Evaluation Predicts Amygdala Activation,” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 12 (2000): 730; and Kang, “Trojan Horse of Race,” 1510–11.

124. Phelps, O'Connor, Cunningham, Funayama, Gatenby, Gore, and Banaji, “Performance on Indirect Measures of Race Evaluation Predicts Amygdala Activation,” 734.

125. Plant and Peruche, “The Consequences of Race for Police Officers' Response to Criminal Suspects,” 180; Phelps and Thomas, “Race, Behavior, and the Brain,” 754; Phelps, O'Connor, Cunningham, Funayama, Gatenby, Gore, and Banaji, “Performance on Indirect Measures of Race Evaluation Predicts Amygdala Activation,” 734; and Kang, “Trojan Horse of Race,” 1557.

126. Sparger and Giacopassi, “Memphis Revisited: A Reexamination of Police Shootings after the Garner Decision,” 221.

127. See Fyfe, “Blind Justice,” 717–21; and Sherman, “Execution Without Trial.”

128. In 1998, the gap was four-fold nationally, which was the same as the early twentieth-century New Orleans gap. See Brown and Langan, “Policing and Homicide, 1976–98,” 5.

129. See Holmes and Smith, Race and Police Brutality.

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Law and History Review
  • ISSN: 0738-2480
  • EISSN: 1939-9022
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