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STATEMENT OF PATRICK V. MURPHY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF PUBLIC

SAFETY, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GOVERNMENT, ACCOMPANIED BY JOHN B. LAYTON, CHIEF, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT; HENRY A. GALOTTA, CHIEF, FIRE DEPARTMENT; DAVID G. BRESS, ESQUIRE, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA; AND HON. DAVID E. McGIFFERT, UNDER SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

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Mr. MURPHY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

I appreciate your having me here at this meeting of the Committee, to give us this opportunity, and I am sure that I speak for Chief Layton and the Command of the Police Department and Mr. McGiffert, and the Department of Justice, in expressing that appreciation.

I have not prepared a formal statement, Mr. Chairman, but I would like to point out that shortly after my appointment to the new position of Director of Public Safety, I went down with Chief Layton and his staff and we reviewed the plans that had been made by the Department; and the Department has done a considerable amount of planning in the past for the handling of crowds, demonstrations, and disorders.

As a result of my review of what the Department had been doing, and my agreement with the policies which Chief Layton had established previously, we simply increased our training and planning back in February sometime. Captain Sanders was assigned full time to the function of the planning and training for disorder prevention and control.

Many meetings were held within the Department and plans were refined. When we had our unfortunate experiences in early April, those plans, in my view, were very effective. The members of the Department, in my view, responded marvelously, not only to the recalls to come back to duty, where the response was so prompt and so complete, but in the good judgment that a policeman used in dealing with an extremely difficult situation.

As I said earlier, Mr. Chairman, I appreciate this opportunity to clarify some of the rumors, and what I honestly think is some of the misunderstanding about the kind of problem we face and the manner in which we dealt with it. This city, like every large city in the United States, is policed by relatively few policemen.

We have an authorized strength of 3100 officers, but we have been somewhat short of personnel. We have had vacancies.

As to police, a population of 800,000 people and a large number of people who reside outside of the District but come here to work and do business every day, and a very large visitor population each year.

So we police this city, as I believe, as other large cities, on the principle that the people support the police; and frankly, if the people do not support the police, it is impossible to have law and order. So, this Department has done a great deal of work and obviously has had tremendous community support.

People report crímes to our police officers. They give information to our policemen. They have come to the assistance of our police officers frequently. They willingly come to court and testify as wit

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nesses. Now, I don't speak for the entire population because we all know that not every citizen cooperates to this extent with the police,

The point I wish to make is that because of the relatively small number of police officers that this and every other city has, and when we divide the department down into its specialized branches and the tours of duty and the fact that police officers work a 40-hour week and we have leave time and sick time and court time, that at any particular moment we would have on the streets of the city, in uniform, no more than a few hundred police officers.

When the tragic occurrence that took place on April 5th, it developen in the way it did, the police, unfortunately, can find themselves just tremendously overwhelmed. When that occurs, I know of no other solution to the problem than masses, numbers of people, and that means the National Guard and Military.

During the early hours of such a situation, the police are limited in what they can do.

Now, I am familiar with the policy that Chief Layton had laid down, and which he had again reinforced to his staff and the Department last year, which was this policy:

, That in the event of disorder and the police being overwhelmed by large numbers of people violating the law, either as looters or windowbreakers, or starting fires—whatever the case may be that although it

— might be impossible for the police officer to arrest every law violator under the circumstances, he should make whatever arrests are humanly possible for him to make.

I take great pride, and I know Chief Layton does, because we have discussed it so many times since the disorder—we take great pride in the fact that the men of this Police Department, from the very first moment, made as many arrests as they could, considering all of the circumstances.

Now, I think I should make another point at this juncture. Many people have referred to newspaper and television photographs that create the impression that police officers were standing by while people looted without control.

I would like to say, Mr. Chairman, that publicly as well as privately, Chief Layton and I have made perfectly clear that we would like to know about any situation in which a police officer failed to do his duty.

But we point out that because of the rapidly developing situation that a police commander faces at a time like this, it may be more important for him at some point to station a police officer in an intersection to prevent the flow of either vehicular or pedestrian traffic as they attempt to isolate a street.

A newspaper photograph taken from a particular angle could create the impression that the officer was standing there and permitting looting. That is never the case as far as we know. He may have had a more important assignment at that particular moment, which was to assist in controlling a particular street or section.

As I indicated from the very first moment of the disorder, our police officers made arrests, and during the days of the problem, our officers made close to 8,000 arrests. As far as I know, more arrests than were made in any other city, even cities which suffered greater damage and greater loss of life.

In addition to having made this tremendous number of arrests, I must point out the wonderful assistance that we received from the Army when they were in here helping us. So many of these arrests were made as a result of the detentions that Military, detentions which were then turned over to the police officers for the arrest process.

During all of this time, the plans that had been well laid by Chief Layton were implemented with the result that we feel we have done a reasonably good job in the paper processing of these arrests and complaints.

With the assistance of Mr. Bress—and I cannot praise too highly both the United States Attorney's Office and the Corporation Counsel's Office in working with Police Department staff.

We feel that we can be optimistic and that we are going to have a significant number of prosecutions and, hopefully, convictions in many of these cases. We think that is terribly important as a deterrent, lest any citizen feels that there is any policy of leniency or of permitting disorder, or whatever misimpressions may exist; that the vigor with which these cases will be pursued and prosecuted—and I might add, Mr. Chairman, that we will even be able to use a section under the D.C. Crime Bill, which was strongly supported by this Committee—we will be able to use a section of that bill to use an additional charge relating to riotous situations.

So, Mr. Chairman, I think that we certainly responded well. The Police Department and the Fire Department and the Federal Government were most cooperative in giving us the assistance we needed.

We have learned things, and not everything was done perfectly, obviously. It is awfully difficult to be able to say anything optimistic or good about such a tragic situation. It certainly is disturbing and heartbreaking to all of us, and especially to those of us who were so close to what was going on during those troubled days.

I feel it was a heartbreaking experience to witness this kind of tragedy in a nation's capital.

I wish, sir, only to assure you that it is my conviction that the people in the Police Department and the Fire Department, the Office of Civil Defense, were a great credit to this city and to this nation in the manner in which they responded to a terrible tragedy.

It may be, Mr. Chairman, that Mr. McGiffert would like to say something about the Army.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. McGiffert.

FEDERAL TROOPS

Mr. McGIFFERT. Mr. Chairman, I don't have any preliminary remarks. I would be very happy to answer any questions any members of the Committee might ask.

The CHAIRMAN. There is one question I would like to ask, for clarification, what kind of orders were given the troops? Were they ordered not to touch any of these people who were looting stores and throwing Molotov cocktails in these stores ? Could the troops touch those people?

Mr. McGIFFERT. Mr. Chairman, the Federal Troops in Washington were commanded by General Haynes, who received his instructions from the Chief of Staff of the Army. Fundamentally, their instructions were to assist the civilian law enforcement authorities to restore law

and order, and in accomplishing that mission, to do so with the use of minimum force.

The individual soldier on the street carried a card giving him instructions. Among those instructions were two that are perhaps pertinent to your question: one was that the soldier could not load or fire his weapon without the permission of an officer, or in order to save his life.

The other one was that he had the authority to detain and then to turn over to the police for arrest individuals who were breaking the law.

The CHAIRMAN. I had one complaint that I recall from a friend of mine. This man is the owner of one of the most popular restaurants in the City of Washington. He tells me that he was driving his car, going to the bank, and three or four men held him up, threw brickbats through the glasses of the car, and pulled him out and beat him up to such extent that he had to go to the hospital. He said that there were four or five troopers from the Army standing by and didn't touch them. I am wondering if the troops had orders to not participate in incidents of that nature.

Mr. McGIFFERT. Mr. Chairman, I am not familiar with that particular incident. I do know there were occasions when some of the soldiers were faced with the same problem which Mr. Murphy referred to in the case of police officers, namely, the soldier or soldiers had been given an assignment to guard, let's say, a store or something of that kind and could not, without violating his orders, move away from his post in order to accomplish some other mission.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Murphy, during the past three weeks I have a group of people, tax payers and property owners, who have been trying to get me to permit them to testify. Each one of these property owners states that a policeman was stationed outside their doors and they asked them to help and they weren't permitted to touch the looters or the people setting fires.

What answer do you have for that?

POLICY IN EFFECT

Mr. MURPHY. Well, Mr. Chairman, those instructions would not be in accordance with the policy of the Department. I was hoping, Mr. Chairman, that after Mr. McGiffert and Chief Layton had an opportunity to express some of the thoughts he has about the problem, he has been closer than I have to the police side of the problem because I have had the Fire Department as a responsibility and the Office of Civil Defense, as well; but I can say to you, Mr. Chairman, that there is no policy in the Police Department, and there was not during the disorder any policy, about not interfering with looting.

There was no policy of leniency. There was no policy of permitting this thing to blow itself out for a few hours. That was not the policy, sir. The policy very clearly was that all arrests that were humanly possible to be made would be made.

I think the tremendous number of arrests is some evidence of that.

Now, this policy was a policy developed by Chief Layton, and I would like, with your indulgence, Mr. Chairman, to give him an opportunity to explain what instructions had been given to his staff and personnel, even before my coming into the present position.

Mr. ABERNETHY. Mr. Murphy, before you call on the Chief to make a statement about a question that the Chairman asked you, isn't it a fact that either you or someone above you, or both of you, made the policy, and the Chief didn't have anything to do with it?

Mr. MURPHY. That is incorrect, sir.
Mr. ABERNETHY. Who made the policy?
Mr. MURPHY. Which policy?
Mr. ABERNETHY. That which you just referred to.
Mr. MURPHY. This policy about arresting the looters, sir?

Mr. ABERNETHY. About the handling of the situation in the District, the looters, the shooters, the window-breakers, the robbers, thieves, arsonists, and so on. Who made it?

Mr. MURPHY. Who made the policy?
Mr. ABERNETHY. Yes, sir.

Mr. MURPHY. Mr. Congressman, there was at the time of my taking this position a policy in the Department which I reviewed and I found very satisfactory.

Mr. ABERNETHY. In other words, this policy has some prior date before either you or Chief Layton came in?

Mr. MURPHY. I don't know about before Chief Layton. Chief Layton has been in office forMr. ABERNETHY. It was before

you came? Mr. MURPHY. Yes, sir.

Mr. ABERNETHY. It was a policy that directed the police on the streets to stand by and watch the people break these windows and march out of those stores with the merchandise; is that it?

Mr. MURPHY. No, sir; that is not the policy. Mr. ABERNETHY. That is what happened. Mr. MURPHY. Sir, if I may explain the situationMr. ABERNETIIY. You were asked to explain it; no one asked the Chief to explain it.

Mr. MURPHY. I will be happy to explain that policy.

Mr. Congressman, as I attempted to make clear earlier, at any particular time there will be on the streets of the city a limited number of police officers; and when suddenly large numbers of people violate the law, somewhat spontaneously, without adequate warning to the police, it is a human impossibility for that police officer to arrest everybody who is violating the law at that particular time.

He is just overwhelmed. It is a numbers problem, sir. What a police officer must do in a situation like that is to exercise extremely good judgment, as a police officer must exercise extremely good judgment day after day in dealing with the difficult problems of human behavior.

Mr. ABERNETHY. May I interrupt you there?
Mr. MURPHY. Yes, sir.

Mr. ABERNETHY. These are dangerous people, aren't they? Or they wouldn't do these things?

Mr. MURPHY. Anyone, sir, who would break a window or loot is dangerous.

Mr. ABERNETHY. Or violate the law, throw rocks, or burn; they are dangerous people?

Mr. MURPHY. Yes, sir.

Mr. ABERNETHY. Don't they think they should be treated as dangerous people?

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