The Sacco-Vanzetti Case and the Grim Forces Behind It
By ART SHIELDS
municipal police departments, and decent industrious workingmen were beaten like dogs. Wholesale jailings and deportations followed.
Salsedo is Terror Victim
In May and June 1919, there were bomb explosions in various cities, unexplained to this day. Nine months late Andrew Salsedo was arrested by the police at his home in Brooklyn as a "suspect." The convenient loaded gun was found in his room, and upon this a formal charge of violating the Sullivan act was laid against the prisoner.
But when arraigned upon this charge, Salsedo was dismissed by the court. Then he was re-arrested by agents of the Department of Justice. Through the long two months of unlawful imprisonment which followed, Salsedo and his fellow-worker and fellow-prisoner Roberto Elia were brutally and terribly treated in an effort to make them reveal ho printed a leaflet entitled "Plain Words," alleged to have been found near Attorney General Palmer's house in Washington after the explosion there.
Protest Meeting Choked Off
After weeks, Salsedo succeeded in smuggling out the letter which carried word of his suffering to friends, including Sacco and Vanzetti....
The Secret Service heads said he jumped.
Then Sacco and Vanzetti were arrested at night on a street car in Brockton, after they had made arrangements for the Salsedo protest meeting to be held the following Sunday. At the Brockton police station they were questioned closely about their official beliefs, and their movements on the evening of their arrest. The prisoners did what all wise workers do when placed under arrest. They refused to give any definite information about where they had been or whom they had seen, fearing that if they do so it would only reveal the names of their comrades who would then be subject to persecution.
Chief Asks About Government
Police Chief Michael Stewart of Bridgewater came over to Brockton to join in the inquisition. Later as a principal witness in the Vanzetti trial he testified, in that stereotyped patter so common in labor court cases, that Vanzetti told him he was in favor of changing the government by force if necessary.
Stewart admitted under oath that he had asked Vanzetti questions along that line, thereby conflicting with a statement by District Attorney Katzmann, who is quoted in the Boston Sunday Advertiser of December 26, 1920, as fellows:
"This is a plain charge or murder, and no issue will be tried. The case has never had any other form in the minds of those connected with the district attorney's office nor of the commonwealth."
Katzmann, however, is on record in the official transcript of the Vanzetti trial as asking witnesses about the defendant's political ideas and his labor activities among the cordage workers.
Murder Frame-up is Crude Job
None of the bandits who terrorized the citizens of Bridgewater and who killed and robbed at South Braintree had been caught; the police had fallen down in that quest. The failure was a sore spot with Mike Stewart. He and the other inquisitors remembered that those crimes had been committed by "dark men." So after a day they set out to fasten those holdups on Sacco and Vanzetti and a third Italian named Riccardo Ociani.
Their work was not a neat ob. It was like a house built by a botch carpenter. It mattered little that Vanzetti had a long moustache and that Captain Proctor had told the Boston
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