I’ll Indict Gang, Says Beavers

I'll Indict Gang

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

Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, May 25th, 1913

Declares He Will Die Fighting ‘Foes of Reform’

Felder Denies Bribe Charges and Scores Police

Chief Sees Conspiracy to Overthrow His Rule and Calls Felder Leader in the Plot

Chief of Police James L. Beavers Saturday night gave to The Sunday American a sensational statement in reply to Colonel T. B. Felder’s accusations against him and the police department, and declared that he would go before the Grand Jury, and seek to indict Felder and all others implicated in the “conspiracy” against him. He made it very plain that if there were men “higher up” he would go after them, too.

While the Chief mentioned no names but that of Felder, it is known that the dictograph evidence in the hands of the police involves the names of Mayor Woodward, Charles C. Jones and Edward O. Miles.

The Chief said he would present his evidence to the Grand Jury at its next session. He said further that he does not depend solely on the evidence furnished by A. S. Colyar, Jr.

Has Proof of Plot, He Says.

“I have the testimony of other reputable witnesses that will show up this plot against me,” asserted the Chief.

The Chief declared that the alleged attempt to bribe Detective Secretary G. C. February [sic] to steal the evidence in the Phagan case was but an effort to discredit him and is “the fight of a gang of vice promoters and defenders.” He asserted that the fight is now open and on to the finish, and that he will “fight to the end, even if he dies in his tracks.”

The Chief mentioned the name of Councilman W. G. Humphrey, of the Eighth Ward as having declared to him shortly after the segregated district was closed by the Chief that “these houses will be open again within eight months—you can not keep them closed,” and sought to discourage his move. The Chief characterized Felder as the “agent and mouthpiece of these gangsters,” and referred to Charles C. Jones “as the main backer of Felder.”

Says Enemy is Cornered.

Chief Beavers’ peppery statement follows:

“I dislike very much to become involved in an affair like this, and to have to defend myself in this manner, but the time has come when I can rest quietly no longer. I have been shooting into the hole until my enemies must now come out and fight in the open. I’ve got them cornered and they must show their colors. It’s a fight in the open and to the finish. This thing must come to a showdown.

“This gang of vice promoters and defenders set out to get me when I first closed the restricted district and they’ve been after me ever since, relentlessly. But they’ve been fighting under cover and have sought to stab me in the back. But I’ve run them from cover now and I’ll fight to a finish, even if I die in my tracks. Consequences will not be considered—I’ll regard nothing but the principle in the fight. It’s a battle between decency and indecency, and I’m satisfied that right will prevail and decency triumph.

“This is the gang that has run Atlanta for years, but it is now losing its grip. Its reign is doomed.

Calls Felder Agent of Gang.

“Thomas B. Felder is the agent and mouthpiece of these gangsters, and this activities are in their behalf. He is the legal representative of these forces of evil. Charlie Jones, who is losing thousands of dollars of revenue since the restricted district was closed, is Felder’s employer. But he is not the only one who is losing this kind of money, and he’s not the only one interested in this fight to get me. There are others.

“All of these people who have been making money off the shame of women and who are interested in keeping the houses of vice open have been fighting me. Their sole motive is to oust me from the office of Chief of Police in the hope that they can again open these places. They have seized on this Phagan case as an instrument in their underhand fight. It was their purpose to embarrass me in this case in a way that might aid their fight. They grabbed at this as a last chance to make a stand. But the light has been turned on they’ll be shown up.

“Always Tried to Block Me.”

“Every effort I have put forth to make Atlanta a cleaner and better city has been met with obstacles. Attempts have been made to block me at every turn. This gang has been on the alert every minute.

“But there’s one thing certain now—they’ve got to fight a real battle in which no quarter will be asked. I won’t be frightened off by any alleged plot to assassinate, nor any other threat.

“I have received reports of numerous dirty methods that have been used against me. One of these reports came to me about Christmas. I was informed that certain persons had offered three $500 checks to anyone who would get me in a room with a woman. I’m satisfied, from my information, that traps have been set for me, but they failed to work.

Hurls Defy at His Foes.

“I have heard discouraging remarks on all hands, but none of them has shaken me in my efforts to make Atlanta a clean city.

“I was in the office of Councilman W. G. Humphrey a few days after the houses were closed, and he laughed and joked me about my closing order. He told me I could not keep the houses closed, and said they would be open again in eight months. I told him they would never open again.

“I have remained firm in my position in this matter, because I know I’m right. I intend to do my full duty in the future, and warn this gang here and now that it can not shake me from my purpose. Atlanta will never be blackened with recognized vice so long as I am Chief of Police.”

“Shortly after the houses were closed I had a talk with Mr. Clark Howell, editor of The Constitution, in his office. During the conversation the question of suppressing vice came up and Mr. Howell remarked that there was no doubt that the houses were then closed, but asked whether I would be able to keep them closed. I replied that they will remain closed as long as I am in office.

“Mr. Howell never commended nor condemned my reply, but ever since that time The Constitution has fought me personally and by the most unfair methods.”

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Atlanta Georgian, May 25th 1913, “I’ll Indict Gang, Says Beavers,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)