Chiefs Will Probe Removal of Conley

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Constitution
July 25th, 1913

Negro Was Taken to Tower Without Knowledge of Beavers or Lanford.

Action is likely to be taken against Detective John Starnes and Pat Campbell, who Wednesday afternoon carried Jim Conley, the negro in the Phagan case, from police headquarters to the Tower without permission of either Chief Beavers or Chief Lanford.

When asked by a Constitution reporter Thursday afternoon what steps he would probably take against the detectives, Chief Beavers declined to talk. He inferred, however, that an investigation would likely result and that action would be taken.

Conley was taken from the station house prison shortly before noon Wednesday without the knowledge, it is said, of even Desk Sergeant Arch Holcombe. He was taken to the Tower for a four-hour examination in the cell of Newt Lee, which examination was promoted by Solicitor General Dorsey and his associate, Frank Hooper.

Neither Chief Knew.

Neither Chief Beavers nor Chief Lanford, it is stated, were aware of his absence from headquarters until informed by newspaper reporters who told the detective head. Lanford immediately conferred with Beavers with the result that the latter hurried to the jail, finding the prisoner with the detectives and attorneys.

Secrecy was thrown about the move, and, it is rumored, it was in an effort to prevent reporters from getting wind of the examination that Conley was spirited from the prison in such a mysterious manner. Starnes and Campbell say, however, that they did not inform their chiefs purely because neither happened to be at headquarters at the time.

If both Beavers and Lanford had been in the place, however, they state, they would have sought permission of each chief before removing the negro. Upon visiting the jail Wednesday afternoon, Beavers did not interfere in any manner with the examination.

Chief Lanford said to reporters Thursday that none of his men would ever again take such liberties, and Beavers declared that if Conley were to be removed in the future he would be fully aware of the move and would personally superintended it.

He was asked if action had been taken against either Starnes or Campbell or the turnkey, Tom Bayne, who was on duty at the time the negro was taken from his cell. His answer was:

No Action on Record.

“I can’t talk. No action, however, is on record.”

When asked if action would be taken, he said:

“I can’t help what you infer. I’m only stating facts.”

He would not state whether or not the detectives were guilty of insubordination in assuming authority which should rest only in the hands of department heads.

“I’d rather not talk,” was all he would say.

It is rumored around headquarters that a thorough investigation is being made, and that Starnes and Campbell will be compelled to make a report of their action.

No Action by Lanford.

Chief Lanford stated to a reporter last night that there probably would be no action taken against either Campbell or Starnes, as Conley is as much in charge of his attorney, William M. Smith, as of police headquarters.

Smith’s consent had been obtained for the removal to the jail, Lanford said, and the attorney had made an effort to communicate with both the detective head and Chief Beavers before carrying out the move. Inasmuch as Conley is held only as witness, and is in charge of his attorney, Starnes and Campbell, the chief declared, did nothing wrong in their act.