I say that King originated the twin ideas of non-violent protest and civil disobedience during the civil rights movement. Now, non-violence as crafted by King meant that civil rights advocates may break the law without moral blame. King stated that he believed that if a law is unjust, or if he wishes to violate a just law in order to bring a condition of claimed social injustice to the attention of the public, he may break such laws. Now this philosophy was the root of all sit-ins, lie-ins, mass demonstrations, looting, burning and all other offenses against the community that had been committed in the name of civil rights. Nowhere in the Constitution can I find that this gives you the right to do all this under the banner of civil rights. Now, King was endorsing the breaking of any law, this was an open invitation to law-breaking to anyone who chooses to do so. The late supreme Court Justice Frankfurter once said, if a man can be allowed to determine for himself what is law, then every man can. That means, first chaos and then tyranny.
King followed this philosophy throughout the whole civil rights movement. He didn't waiver. If you will recall, Rap Brown was one of King's leaders in the civil rights movement and Rap Brown said in the public press and on television in a speech which he made in Washington, DC in an Episcopal Church: "We will make the Vietcong look like Sunday School teachers. Violence is necessary. Get your guns and burn this town down." He went on to say: "If America doesn't come around, we are going to burn America down, brother, we are gonna burn it down."
Now I say that Martin Luther King used what I call the Big Lie technique. Now, maybe he picked this up from politicians, but the Big Lie technique goes around saying he is preaching non-violence and all the time he is encouraging it. This was his philosophy. J. Edgar Hoover said that Martin Luther King was the world's most notorious liar and he never retracted it. Bobby Kennedy tried to get Hoover to retract the statement but he never did retract it.
Stokely Carmichael was another of King's lieutenants and he had started a black power movement. I know you have seen that hand go up and he was probably one of the most radical in King's group. Now, he came into Montgomery, Stokely Carmichael did. We were trying to keep up with all these people - it was hard to do. He came into Montgomery and I assigned two men to follow him - don't let him out of your sight, and I think he ended up going to Birmingham - I hate to put this off on Birmingham, but we had to get rid of him.
The Communist Party was involved with King - I mean he had Communist surrounding him all over. Bayard Rustin, Stanley Levenson, - Stanley Levenson was the one that dished out the money that came in from Russia. He was in the KGB of Russia and he was handing out money and King was getting his share of it, I'll tell you. You know, they jumped on this movement, back then, - you know back then, the Cold War was going on and Communism was trying to get a hold on this country and King probably did more for the Communist Party than anybody I know of. King criticized the Vietnam War, compared the United States with Nazis, and he was a traitor - and what I say, he was a traitor to this country.
See, he used…. Fidel Castro when he took over Cuba. He saw that the police was the first line of defense and he set out to destroy and I say, King copied his, some of his tactics down there, and this is where the police brutality first started, was down in Cuba and then King took it up and his groups would get out there and cause a disturbance and then the police would have to get involved, and then he hollers 'police brutality.' Now I am not gonna say that some of that didn't go on, but they were carrying out their duties in enforcing the law.
Now, I could tell you about some happenings right in Montgomery where marchers came in and they said we are going to fill the jails full, see. Most of your cities hadn't got adequate space to handle these big groups so what I did, we had a new jail, I activated the old jail, ___Prison had a building outside the prison that they called it the trustee barracks and it holds probably around 300. I contacted the Board of Corrections, got with them and they agreed I could use that trustee barracks and they would feed our prisoners and we would furnish the guards inside. Most of your police departments, the wagons they had, the paddy wagons, would hold 12-15 at the most. So I had a big wire cage made that would fit over a lowboy trailer and they would back that trailer in there and drop that cage down and take off. I arrested a bunch of them up there at the Capitol and when that truck pulled up there, King took off - it took all the wind out of the sails, I think.
Anyhow, we took a lot of verbal abuse, I mean they would call you every kind of name in the book, and that's hard to take. But when they started spitting on us, I drew the line . That's assault. I told my men either charge them with assault or make a fat-lip case out of it. If you make a fat-lip case, they ain't gonna be spitting tomorrow, I guarantee you.
These people had no respect for law and order or anybody in the City of Montgomery. One group that we arrested, they lay down in the street, we put them under arrest, while we were waiting on the wagons, they were relieving themselves and the Dempsey (?) Avenue had a kind of slant to it and it was running down the street, and after we had done and arrested and out of there, we had to call the fire department to wash the street down. These people would do most anything. The civil rights movement, and I told King this, the civil rights movement draws all your thugs, your black criminals. They get in the civil rights movement because they think they can do a lot of things and get away with it. And they did. But I had made up my mind before they started all that in Montgomery that we are not going to put up with this. You are not going to come in here and take over our streets and burn and loot.
We went before the Mayor with a list of equipment that I needed and he said we hadn't got the money to buy that equipment. And I said, We are in war. That's what this is and we need weapons of war. And I am not going to put my police out there with a peashooter against an AK47. I said, Mr. Mayor, figure out what is this town worth. What is this town worth? And he said, That's ain't fair. I said, Yes, that's fair. If they come in here and burn this town down, what is it going to cost to replace all this? If you give me the equipment and the personnel, they ain't gonna do it.
So we had one incident that happened. There was two teenagers, one was 17 and one was 18 and they was out of Detroit, Michigan and they threw a fire bomb on a radio station in a downtown area of Montgomery. As luck would have it, a black and white car had their lights out, parked down there and they was watching a couple other guys walking the street, they felt they were burglars and were going to break in a place and they were sitting there and saw these two guys put the fire bomb in there. Well, they tried to get them to halt and of course they didn't. They shot them, they killed 'em; they killed two teenagers. There was a black in the car that put them up to it, he was down at the end of the street waiting on them down there and we got him, too, didn't kill him, but these two teenagers were killed and we were catching a lot of flak from that and they were calling Detroit and all around - "We are coming in there by the busloads and burn your town down." And I told them, I said, Well, we are going to use that force necessary to protect the lives and property of this city and if you come in here, you may leave like those other two, in a box. It's as simple as that."
They said, "Well, you can't get us all." And I said, "Yeah, but we are going to get our quota."
Now that don't sound too professional and maybe it's not but that's what I told them. And then when the Mayor was getting calls and the Police Commissioner and they were running scared, and when I told them what I was telling them, they said, "Don't tell them that." I told them, "That's what I'm telling them." And they didn't come in there. They sure didn't.
During that time like that, when your men's out there on the firing line every day, you got a morale problem. This scum's cussin' you out all the time, it was a constant deal keeping your morale up in your police, I told them, "We're going to win, men, we can't retreat. We're going to win." And of course, we did win in Montgomery.
We had one newspaper guy that give us a fair write-up. Most of the news media, as you know, the liberal press and the liberal politicians just about ruined this country. And I decided I was going to take a stand as long as I was Chief of Police and I thought to myself, I won't be here long because I was getting cross with the Mayor and the Police Commissioner, but I took a course and I probably retired a little earlier than I wanted to. I had 22 years and we had 20 years retirement regardless of age, and I got crossed up on an arrest that one of the officers made of the Postmaster's General's son. I stood behind my officer and of course, we had some problems.
Here's what I say about the police. I feel that the foundation of this great nation has been seriously challenged in a variety of ways and had it not been for the dedicated and the professional way in which these challenges have been met by law enforcement officers at all levels, there would have been breakdown in law and order and far-reaching implications. The challenges facing law enforcement is growing larger due to terrorist activity and crimes of violence. It has become increasingly hazardous and difficult to serve the American public in the uniform of a law enforcement officer. We expect him to show the composure of the clergy and the knowledge of appellate judge. Indeed, if he fails, he is condemned or scorned in a manner never inflicted on any other public servant. When the police does something wrong, it is headlines.
Vigorous law enforcement is needed to cope with crime and violence in this country. It cannot be achieved if the arresting officer is required to make an apologetic approach to every law violator, killer, rapist, robber and thugs roaming the street. If the rule of law is to prevail, the law must be enforced. We are asking our police to operate on an honor system in dealing with an element of our society which has no honor . Certainly the arresting officers cannot be permitted to resort to illegal tactics themselves, but they should be allowed to perform their duty with confidence and with assurance they have the support of the public.
I thank you for inviting me up here, and enjoyed meeting all of you, I wish my wife could have been here, she would have enjoyed it. Whenever I get a chance to tell the Montgomery story, of course that's just part of it -I can't stay here all night - it was a, I tell you what, it was a disgrace to this country what happened and the Selmer-Montgomery march and all that - thank you very much"
End of speech.