Weaver Freed From Jackson Jail; Raps Brutal Treatment by Police
Claude L. Weaver '65, of Dunster House and Atlanta, Ga., and a fellow student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) worker were freed from a Jackson, Miss., jail on $500 bail Friday night.
Weaver and his companion, Edward Hollander of Baltimore, were arrested Feb. 7 for "conspiring to intimidate a family" in connection with a SNCC-organized boycott in Canton, Miss. Over a dozen other Canton civil rights workers jailed last month for distributing leaflets were also released.
In a telephone interview with the CRIMSON last night Weaver flatly denied the charges against him and said that he would continue working for SNCC in Canton "unless something major happens."
Weaver complained about the treatment he received from Jackson police, saying that he was cursed, slapped, knocked to the floor and kicked by the officer who booked him because he answered a question with the words "That's right, air." The incident was witnessed by over 20 police officers and fellow prisoners. While in jail he was not allowed to receive mail or visitors, contrary to usual Jackson prison policy.
Weaver described the situation in Canton as "tense." He said that police had started target practice and that there was a rumor that the mayor of Jackson has alerted his special mobile anti-riot force.
The next move planned by the Canton civil rights group is a Feb. 29 "freedom day," a Madison County-wide voter registration drive, at which a large turnout is expected. The Negroes plan to assemble at a Canton church and march to the nearby courthouse.
The sheriff of Canton has said that he will not allow over five people at a time to register at the courthouse, but Weaver said that the group doesn't intend to disperse without a legitimate reason. Letters have been sent to the mayor and sheriff asking that additional registrars be added for the day, but no response has been received. They are expecting intensified harassment by Canton police because of the freedom day.
Weaver expressed optimism about the progress of the civil rights workers and noted that the Negro "bourgeoise," local clergy and professional men, were at last taking an interest in the drive "We may all be back in jail the 29th, but things are blossoming out."