Clipped From Aiken Standard
Aiken Unjustly Accused = EDITORIAL The City oj AiliCii'has been unjustly accused of a crime. On July-17,- la=t, New York newspaper, P.M, published a slorv by its staff'writer, Eleanor Morcheail. telling -how Isaac Woodward, negro veteran, had been attacked by police officers, in Aiken, Soiilh Carolina. The storyjuoted at length from a purported'sworn affidavit affidavit made by WooUvvard at this lime claiming thai on February; IS, 19-46 Aikc-n police officers look him from a Greyhound-bus at Ihe' request of the bus driver. The police officers Had blinded him by gouging out his eyes with llie end q,f a billy, so he said..'. The original PM eye gouging story swept the country,, being. reproduced in .the sensation sheets of the North and in the negro press. Orson' Welles quoted the .rJM-slory in his Sunday Hroadrast over American Broadcasting Company stations.' accusing "Officer X" of Aiken of this "brutal crime." ' . ' This broadcast, heard in Aiken, was the first) news Aiken had of the matter* But not the last. Police Chief J. M. Sprawls, graduate of , tbe F. 84 I. National Police Academy, the Aiken Police^epartnient, and white residents of AikerTin general .became the targels of as vil<- and wicked a flood of threatening-letters, mostly unsigned, a'mTsoine- claiming to have been written by whiteVas well 'as' 1 colored folks from all over th«| North and Northwest, as^this writer ever had the niis'fo-r- tiine to peruse.'" "' . • •Aiken-officers •Aiken-officers and officials were at a loss for information on this affair, charged with having occurred in their cjty_ five months before.' Tte~American~BroadcastingrGompany, ~OreorT Welles, and publications, supposedly knowing all about the case refused to answer to requests for further information from the Mayor, Police Chief Sprawls, and the Aiken Standard and Review. ' ' On Saturday, the United; Press released a story from : Batesburg, S. C. in which 4 Police Chief L .L. Shull admitted that Bafcsburg was the city in which the incident occurred and that he was "Officer X." Just why the investigating agencies withheld the report so long or why Chief Shull kept quiet and allowed a fellow officer and neighboring city to take the blame, the insults and be the victims of the smear gang, this paper is at a loss to' know. Aiken is the winter home of a group of wealthy sportsmen and sportswomen 'from New York and other Eastern and Western cilies and as such is known the world over. Already letters have been received from several of these winter residents in which thev sUit'jd that if Aiken police officers were as cruel as had l>cen mp'orlrd they would be afraid Ki bring 1 their -Negro servants to Aiken this winter. Il is hoped that PM and all lli<- other sensation sheets whii-h soem- ingly took such delight in spreading the story will be equally as anxious to publish a retraction. •_ The accusation was a base.libel on Aikcu and the Aiken^polirc department. Aiken lias a Police chief and police officers of which any city might be proud and there is little wonder that the ire of the ...citizens-was-arousvd-over-the-false accusation;—•—••• an '