Local Singer to Appeal Assault Verdict
Jackie Washington, a well-known local folksinger, was found guilty yesterday on a count of assault and battery and fined $10. After a dramatic trial in the First Criminal Session at the Boston Municipal District Court, Washington's attorney announced that he would appeal the case to Superior Court.
Although the word "brutality" was never openly mentioned, Washington's defense hinged around the fact that the 220-pound Boston policeman whom he is accused of assaulting (Washington weighs 134 pounds) used excessive roughness and that he exceeded his authority when he and his partner apprehended Washington last week for "being abroad in the nighttime."
Broken Nose, Twisted Ankle
When asked about Washington's broken nose and severely injured ankle, the police claimed that it happened when Washington fell against the patrol car during the scuffle. According to Washington he was punched directly in the nose. "The officer offered to give me more of the same if I didn't shut up." "What happened then?" asked the judge.
"There was a lag in the conversation," reported Washington.
Earlier last week, the two officers, while patrolling Commonwealth Avenue on a special detail to search for parking-meter thieves, noticed Washington on the raised lawn of the Bryant and Stratton School at 2 a.m. In response to questioning from the officers, Washington gave his name, address, where he was coming from, and his destination, but maintained that the officers had no right to ask him anything else without showing good reason.
The Scuffle began when he refused to answer when the police asked him to explain a bulge in his pocket. According to the officers, he began to "scream incoherently" about rights. "The word 'right' was used several times," reminisced the patrolman.
Washington was then restrained physically by the two. Office George A. Daley insisted that he held Washington from behind and that Washington began to struggle and kick; one of his kicks caught Daley's partner in the groin. Washington claimed that he was punched in the stomach and that if he did kick the man, it was a reflex.
Washington was then taken to jail in a police van. "At no time did I hear this business about being abroad in the nighttime. I was in jail without knowing why I was in there."
Judge Jacob Lawiton, before announcing the verdict, explained that the officers, by law, did have the right to ask Washington questions.
No further explained that the charge being abroad in the nighttime" was intend to allow notice to pick up suspicious individuals. The defense had presented a string of character witnesses, its manager included M.A. Greenhill, Washington manager, the director of Freedom House, two faculty members of Emerson College, where he is a senior and an creative of the Boston YMCA. The judge agreed that he was "obviously a young man of fine background, perhaps a over explorant.
The judge that gave Washington the option of throwing himself on the mercy of the court by filing the case. He explained that on the merits of the case itself, he would be forced to find Washington guilty.
Washington announced that he would stick to his not-guilty plea about 15 seconds later. Lewiton then announced the $10 fine and granted the motion to appeal.
Plane "Model Case"
Interviewed last night at the Club Mount Auburn 47, Washington said he plans to make his a "model police brutality case. I'm glad that this happened to me now, despite the inconvenience of a and a broken nose. I'm in a good position to focus attention the brutality of the Boston police.
I don't think that the police should be upheld in their belief that they are the law and that whatever they do is right," Washington continued. "I deserve respect merely because I am a person. I have seem others who were beaten without anyone's ever hearing about it. This is a brutality case that will be heard. "My nose is broken, my eye was blackened, I have to use crutches, because I wasn't a 'yessir, boss' man.
There is no way you can make me believe that two men, one of them over pounds, trained as policemen, could have restrained me without causing these injuries," the folksinger added quietly