Mayor Gives Out Sizzling Reply to Chief Beavers

Mayor Gives Out Sizzling

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

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, May 26th, 1913

Mayor James G. Woodward Monday gave out a sizzling interview in reply to Police Chief Beavers’ accusations, which he concluded with this statement:

“If Beavers and Lanford authorized February [sic]. ‘a trusted man,’ to go out and tell lies about corruption in the department in an effort to trap somebody, they are unworthy to hold the places they occupy, and the sooner they are put out the better it will be for the police department and the city.

“February has proved that he is not fit to serve in the police department in any capacity.”

Mayor Woodward, before beginning his statement, said he wanted to make it clear that he was vigorously opposed to public controversies with heads of departments. He said it was not the way to run the city’s business, and but for Chief Beavers’ attack, which misrepresented his position, he would say nothing.

Never Urged Reopening.

He said:

“I have never urged a reopening of the Tenderloin to Beavers.

“I told him it would be reopened as a result of a public demand for the interests of society because of the scattered conditions of vice all over the city.

“I have never passed a straw in the way of his vice crusade. When I have called him to my office to talk to him about it, it was to refer complaints to him—complaints of bad conditions in respectable sections.

“One day when he came to my office I referred to him a letter from a mother of little children who said there was an immoral place near her home and that she had written to Chief Beavers some ten days before and nothing had resulted from it.

Explains Eva Clark Affair.

“All I ever heard from the case was that the occupants of the bad house quieted down.

“The Eva Clark matter is very simple. She called me over the telephone and said she, with her mother, wanted to move into a house near the Grady Hospital and live respectably. I laid the whole matter before Beavers just as she appealed to me.

“I have called Beavers to task only with the view to getting him to clean up the streets so this city will be safe for respectable women.

“When February came to with a tale about being able to get evidence from the safe at the police station which would prove that Beavers and Lanford were protecting disorderly houses and ‘blind tigers’ I knew it was either true or he was lying, and I decided for the time being to give him the benefit of the doubt and investigate.

“If I had known that that visit to the Williams House would be the last time I would see him I would have shown him up for the liar that he is. But in the interest of the public I decided to give him sufficient leeway to get at the truth of the graft charges.”

“Plenty of Room for Graft.”

Then he paid his respects to Beavers and Lanford for their part in the plot.

“I want to say it looks like there is plenty of room for graft,” he continued. “Where there is so much smoke there must be some fire. And I am just as anxious to get at the truth as I was the day they thought they were trapping me with a dictograph.

“Eliminating Colyar and Felder, I think the connection of the police heads with this affair casts a dirty reflection on them. It reveals them as unfit.”

Chairman Carlos II Mason Monday declined to comment on the situation. He said it might come before the Police Commission and that he would then have to act in the capacity, but he did not believe the commission would take it up. He did not fail, however, to declare his confidence in the integrity of the heads of the police department and to say he thought the department was clean.

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Atlanta Georgian, May 26th 1913, “Mayor Gives Out Sizzling Reply to Chief Beavers,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)