Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Scandal of 1922: Part XIII

The trial of Chief John Cruise, for dereliction of duty, came to an end on May 26, 1922. The chief himself was the only person to take the stand that day for further cross examination by corporation counsel William J. DeLamater. The following excerpts are from the report on the final day in court that appeared in the Columbia Republican for May 30, 1922. 
The trial of John Cruise, Jr., before the Commission of Public Safety, is over. The end came quickly on Friday afternoon. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon the hearing was reconvened and Chief Cruise resumed his place on the witness stand for cross-examination. Corporation Counsel Wm. J. DeLamater conducted the cross-examination. Attorney Samuel B. Coffin was not present. Only once did the cross-examination wax rather warm--over the alleged old charges which the witness did not recall. Chief Cruise was the only person on the witness stand on the closing day. His testimony dealt chiefly with points in previous testimony which both sides wished to clear up. . . . 
The concluding day of the trial was attended by the smallest gallery of all in the past. There were vacant chairs in the Council rooms.
In his closing argument Mr Herzberg raked the reputation of the detective agency operators with heavy fire, and then went into various phases of the charges. . . . [He] stated that in accordance with the testimony they would not consider demotion, a suspension or a fine and that if the decision is adverse it shall be reviewed before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. . . . 
[Chief Cruise testified that] as to his tours of the city in a motorcycle side-car said side-car was had in fall of 1921; said that before that they walked about; said he made records of bad holes in streets and reported same to Commission; said only record of these trips was "left for patrol" and on his return "in command." Unless arrest was made nothing in the record shows about what he saw on trips. . . . 
It was exactly 5:15 o'clock when both sides declared testimony closed.
Mr Herzberg then moved for the dismissal of the charges and briefly related several points in the case. President Whitbeck stated that the Commission had gone into his matter seriously and had decided to have the testimony written out first, hear the closing arguments, and the give the entire matter serious and careful consideration before arriving at their conclusion, thus they wished to reserve the decision until they could study the matter.
President Whitbeck in stating the Commission's position to Mr Herzberg, pointed out that they were laymen and had not the experience of attorneys in examining evidence and that it was not easy to lay aside everything else to do this. He said that the Commission in justice to itself, the charges and the Chief, they should carefully study the evidence, hear the arguments and allow the case to be left in their hands for a later decision.
What seems most bizarre about the whole proceeding is that the investigation of Chief Cruise has initiated by the Commission of Public Safety, the charges against him were brought by the Commission of Public Safety, the trial was conducted by the Commission of Public Safety, and the case will be decided by the Commission of Public Safety. We'll learn about the decision they rendered in our next report about the Scandal of 1922.

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