Graft and Corruption are Charged to City Detectives and Police by Col. T. B. Felder

Graft and CorruptionAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Saturday, May 24th, 1913

Attorney Who Was Dictographed by the Detectives Gives Out a Statement, Additional to the One He Made Friday Afternoon, in Which He Goes After Police and Detective Departments, and Intimates That More Is to Come in the Sunday Papers


Attorney Thomas B. Felder, who has been charged by city detectives with attempted bribery of Chief of Detectives Lanford’s secretary, G. C. Febuary, has made statement additional to one he made Friday afternoon before reading the dictograph records in The Journal.

The attorney’s complete and detailed statement, in which he promises sensational exposures of the police, will be given the Sunday press, he says.

Colonel Felder asserts that the police department is corrupt and vile and that Atlanta is fostering a system like that of New York.

“I had information,” said Mr. Felder, “to the effect that the detectives have been destroying evidence against Leo M. Frank in the Phagan case.

“It was to obtain proof of this that I consented to visit A. S. Colyar’s room at the Williams House on Wednesday afternoon.

“When I got there Colyar and Febuary claimed to have in their possession the police graft protection list. They also claimed to have affidavits showing the immorality of the two chiefs, Lanford and Beavers.

“They wanted to buy these papers for $1,000, and I, of course, refused.

“They asked if I knew of any one, who would buy them. I told them that Mayor Woodward and Charles C. Jones, who were after the police officials, could raise a fund by public subscriptions to pay for the documents if they proved what Colyar and Febuary claimed them to be.

“I told Colyar that I would introduce him to the gentlemen named, but that I would have to warn them that he is a crook and to be careful in dealing with him. Then I departed. I didn’t remain in the Williams House room for more than five minutes, and I do not believe they had a dictograph there. Dictographs are not sold or rented to crooks and blackmailers to be used in a blackmailing scheme like these men were trying to perpetrate on me.”


Colonel Felder pays his respects to A. S. Colyar:

“He is a crook and a scoundrel and a forger with a long criminal record,” the attorney declared, “and I can get a thousand people, who will swear that they wouldn’t believe him on oath.

“I had dealings with him during the dispensary investigation in South Carolina and I quickly learned that he was crooked and irresponsible. In fact he sent me a number of forged affidavits from South Carolina to used against Governor Cole Blease. I made an investigation and found that the affiants were forgeries and of course, I did not use them. I have retained several of these alleged affidavits, however, as specimens of this man Colyar’s work.”

Colonel Felder quickly found in his desk one of the affidavits which he said was a forgery, and with it he produced a number of letters from Colyar.

“As to the detectives,” continued Colonel Felder, “I am going to show them up.

“Since the arrival of C. W. Tobie, the Burns expert, who is seeking to find and convict the murderer of poor little Mary Phagan, the detectives have continually blocked his path.

“They have seen many witnesses, telling them that the state’s case is complete, and that the state already had all of the evidence it needs. They then tell the witnesses that the Burns people and I are really trying to shield Frank, and then detectives ask each witness to refuse to talk with Burns men.


“Chief Lanford has been working in many ways to thwart justice, and I determined to expose him and his malpractice. He learned of my determination in some way, and knowing that his neck was in jeopardy, he set about to save his job and his reputation.

“He tried this. And what a miserably, stinking farce he has made of himself and his department.

“I am convinced that Lanford is in the employ of Frank,” Mr. Felder declares.

“One of the several things, which convinced me is a purported confession extorted by the detectives from a poor negro named Connolly [sic] who has been kept in jail illegally for three weeks. Febuary declared that he had formulated the alleged confession himself and that while it was false it had been abstracted from the negro by the detectives.”

Colonel Felder declares that he has never stated to the press that he was in the employ of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Coleman but has always said that he was retained to assist the state by friends and neighbors of the dead Phagan girl. He has now exhibited to newspaper men his contract.

His clients are A. C. McCall and G. H. Bradley, two citizens of the Bellwoood district. His fee, which Colonel Felder has previously announced he could contribute to the Burns fund, is fixed at $500, he says.

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Atlanta Journal, May 24th 1913, “Graft and Corruption are Charged to City Detectives and Police by Col. T. B. Felder,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)