The Hutchinson News from Hutchinson, Kansas on September 14, 1971 · Page 43
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

The Hutchinson News from Hutchinson, Kansas · Page 43

Hutchinson, Kansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, September 14, 1971
Page 43
Start Free Trial

Prison Negotiators Were Drained, Physically and Emotionally (Editor's Note: New York Times columnist Tom Wicker was one of the members of the citizen "observers" group summoned to Attica by the prisoners and authorized by state authorities to try to find a peaceful solution to the siege.) By TOM WICKER (C) 1971 N.Y. Times News Service ATTICA, N.Y. - At 9:43:28 Monday morning the power went off in the small, Uttered Stewart's Room on the second floor of the Attica correctional facility administration building. The hands of an electric clock on the wall pointed to that second for almost two hours, while state policemen and other officers put a bloody end to a massive uprising by about 1,500 inmates — mostly black and Puerto Rican. To the 17 men in the room, the hands marked the moment of truth — the second when the end came for four days of emotional and exhausting effort to avoid the bloodshed that every one of them had feared from the beginning. For 28 of the prisoners with whom they had vainly "negotiated" and for nine of the hostages the prisoners had been holding, death had been signaled. At 9:48 a.m., five minutes after the lights went out, armed troopers moved behind fire hoses down the littered, gasoline-smelling corridor the 17 men and their colleagues had used 1 in a series of harrowing visits to the prisoners' stronghold in Cell Block D and its exercise yard. Other assaulting forces came over the walls that surrounded the exercise yard. By about 11 a.m., the prison authorities said that the institution was virtually "secure," although some Cell Block areas remained to be finally cleared. Active resistance had ceased. Hoped To The Last Some members of the unusual group of citizen "observers," summoned by the prisoners and authorized by state authorities to try to find a peaceful solution, had believed all along that none could be devised. Others had hoped to the last. All had drained themselves emotionally and physically, when failure put an end to their efforts and to the lives of 37 men. Gazing out the window of the Steward's Room at the helmeted troopers and the drifts of gas floating across the prison grounds, two members of the citizens group, Rep. Herman Badillo of New York and this correspondent, assured each other that they had done all they could — and each saw in the other's eyes that the assurance was needed. Tom Wicker "There's always time to die," Badillo said. "I don't know what the rush was." Behind him, at another window, a young lawyer and penologist named Julian Tcp- per said in a flat, tired voice: "I can see eight bodies on the ground dead." There were a few moments of silence. Then: "You know," said Bill Gaiter, a bearded, eloquent black who heads the BUILD community action organization in Buffalo, "I was amazed at Kent State . . .shocked by Jackson State . . .but this ... to see a decision being formulated that leads to so many deaths. . .1 don't believe I'll ever be able to forget .this." This is the story—at least a first attempt to tell it—of a strange, interracial, interfaith, ad hoc, semiofficial, semipoliti- cal, always desperate effort to achieve some other decision,, and of the more than 20 men who failed in that effort. (There was never a precise roster of members of toe so-called observers' committee.) Summoned By Prisoners The core membership of the committee was summoned by the rebellious prisoners themselves. Soon after they had seiz- ed Cell Block D and 38 hostages, they issued a preliminary list of 15 demands and appended a roster of persons they wished to have participate in negotiations for a settlement. Individuals listed, who later participated, were William Kunstler, the left-wing "movement" attorney; assemblyman Arthur 0. Eve of Buffalo; Clarence Jones, Editor and Publisher of the Amsterdam News in New York; Tom Wicker of the New York Times; Richard Roth of the Buffalo Evening News, and Jim Ingram of the Michigan Journal. Organizations from which representatives were asked were the Solidarity Prison Committee and the Young Lords party. Several other individuals, none of whom proved able to take part in the committee, were listed. They included Huey P. Newton, the Black Panther leader, and minister John B. X. of the Black Muslims. Around this core group, state officials — summoning some members themselves, as in the case of Badillo — allowed a much larger group to form. Some apparently were s e 1 f- nominated; others came from interested groups, such as Gaiter's BUILD; still others were appealed to by close associates or friends who were already serving on the committee. The prison uprising began Thursday morning; by Friday afternoon, most of the members had reached Attica and had been led through bands of heavily armed guards and troopers into the tense atmosphere of the prison buildings. Late that afternoon, the group entered the exercise yard of Cell Block D to confer with the prisoners. They returned, late that night for still another session. Saturday night, accompanied by the Black Panther leader, Bobby Scale, they made another trip into the yard. Situation Worsens On Sunday, as the situation grew more tense and correction commissioner Russell G. Oswald grew more concerned for the committee's safety, a subcommittee of six men conferred with a prisoner leader — Richard Clarke, known to the committee as "Brother Richard" — with a steel-barred gate between them. As a result of that conversation, late Sunday afternoon a nine-man group entered Block D again — as it happened, for the last conference between the prisoners and the committee. T ~r~ Gunshots Killed All Hostages ATTICA, N. Y. (AP)—The Monroe County medical examiner said today that nine of 10 hostages killed at Attica State Prison during the four-day uprising died of gunshot wounds. The number of dead inmates rose to 31. Dr. John F. Edland said, "There were no cut throats or any kind of mutilation." The bodies of two more prisoners were found today, unofficial sources said, bringing the total dead to 40. There was no immediate explanation of how the gunshots were fired, from where or by whom. According to all official reports Monday, the only guns rebel prisoners were carrying were gas projectile guns. Most of them were armed with clubs, firebombs and makeshift knives, officials said. The bodies of the nine hostages, a guard who died earlier and the prisoners were taken to the Monroe County medical examiner. Car! Lupo, a supervisor in the examiner's office, said the hostages died of gunshot wounds and not slashed throats. Jerry Houlihan, a spokesman for the prison, said Monday several of the hostages had died of slashed throats. There was no comment on where the gunfire that killed the hostage guards had came from, whether from law officers storming the prison or from guns which may somehow have been in the possession of the inmates. But in Albany Tuesday, Deputy Correction Commissioner Jim Van Eekeren said there were witnesses to the throat- slashings. And he said it was proven the prisoners had homemade "zip" guns. FJfflfti. •'.'.• P ;; i;1:Ei.Ti into . lil .*! I i li' 1 " i' ' ilfcsiiiiiai^Btsii- • -« , •,tKWM'W' .-•'M^jtek ,,,;,,!{,,J:'' ,.|,^||j||, ; ||!.i;^ I'^ifjiiW'.' ' l 'i' 1 "'" '' i '.• i'i.'/ i, il| !''*1 i i-" * j";"!' l-ii,:, '.-.n > ,!'''»' m !!iii' L'<' , L ,,fe/fii! 7>i,;.'»; "HfS ' L :' (Hutchinson News-UPI Telephoto) Russell Oswald: Must Live With Decision Would Make the Same Decision (Stories, Picture Page 3) ATTICA, N.Y. (AP) - "It just had to be an agonizing decision that I will have to live with. "As regrettable and unfortunate as everything was, if I had to make the decision over again, I, would undoubtedly have to do the same thing," Oswald said Monday. He had the approval of Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller. Dramatic Meeting In a dramatic face-to-face meeting with the convicts in a prison yard controlled by the rebels, Oswald agreed on the day of the uprising that there would be no administrative reprisals. Negotiations between Oswald and the convicts reached an impasse Sunday over rebel demands for complete amnesty and the Removal of Attica's superintendent, Vincent R. Mancusi. Oswald did agree to 28 other demands, but his answer on amnesty and Mancusi was a flat no. The special mediation team continued to work, but it warned that qnly patience would prevent *a massacre of prisoners and hostages. At 8:15 a.m. Monday, Oswald issued an ultimatum: The hostages were to be released anc order was to be restored within the 'prison. He asked for an answer within an hour. The prisoners never replied. "It became apparent to me, 1 Oswald said, "that further delay would jeopardize the lives of the hostages and would threaten the prison system o the state. "Fanatical Men" "It bedame apparent to me shortly before the talk tha we were dealing here with men who were fanatical, men who were revolutionaries," Oswak said. "It was a decision that had to be made at the moment." The Hutchinson News 100th Year No. 73 14 Pages Tuesday Evening, September 14,1971, Hutchinson, Kansas MO 2-3311 Price lOc Girl Killed By Car An eight-year-old Hutchinson girl was struck and killed by a car Tuesday as she was walking to school in the 2300 block of Apple Lane. Michelle (Shellie) Kay Burgan, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Burgan, 2804 East 21st, was pronounced dead on arrival at South Hospital shortly after 8 a.m. The car driver, Mrs. Karen S. Whited, 35, RFD 4, was traveling north, taking two of her children, Keni, 14, and Dana, 16, to nearby Central Christian High School. Michelle, whose family moved to Hutchinson from Moundridge four years ago t was walking to Union Valley School where she was a third grader. Sheriff's deputy Marlin Davis quoted Mrs. Whited as saying she saw Michelle along the right side of the road "half running, half skipping." The driver slowed and swung to the left, but the girl, without warning, "turned and ran straight west right in front of the car," Davis said. The right front fender struck her. The death is the sixth traffic fatality in Reno County in 1971. (See obituary Page 2.) McGovern Is Rescued By Marines SAIGON (AP) - Sen. George McGovern was rescued by U.S. military police and Marines tonight from a hail of rocks and firebombs hurled against a church where he was meeting with South Vietnamese students and dissidents. McGovern, a leading antiwar critic, was trapped in the Roman Catholic church with several associates for about half an hour. He emerged shaken but unhurt under the protection of the U.S. troops summoned to the scene. The identity of the rock and fire-bomb throwers was not immediately established. One wit ness described them as young South Vietnamese motorbike riders often called "cowboys.' Three-Day Visit The South Dakota Democrat is on a three-day visit to South Vietnam. He went to the church to talk with South Vietnamese about political prisoners and al leged abuses in Vietnamese prisons. "I really don't now what it was all about. I was there as a guest of the group seeking prison reform," he told newsmen. "Shortly after we arrived the fireworks started. I had no way of knowing whether the people outside knew whether I was there or not." Mrs. Karen S. Whited, Driver of Car Which Struck Iliilchiimon Girl,, Is Comforted at, the Scene Tuesday (News Photo by Jim Morrli) Vote is 4-1 Industrial Area Moves Approved City commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday to allow two existing ndustries and an undeveloped tract adjacent to the Hutchinson Industrial District to join the district. Properties granted the applications were Superior Boiler Works, 3524 East 4th; Farmland Industries Steel Products Plant, 3501 East 4th, and a 50.35 acre tract owned by Hutehinson Industrial Development Corp. (HIDI) east of the Farmers Coop Elevator. The commission's action came after nearly an hour of discussion. The Superior request had been debated at length at the commission's June 22 meeting. Dallas Crable, the only commissioner who voted against the expansion, could have delayed the vote, but opted instead to force a showdown. Crable voted "no" on a motion by Mayor David' Mackey to Weather KANSAS—Partly cloudy and cooler tonight and Wednesday. Lows tonight low 40s northwest to about 60 southeast. Highs to around 80 southeast, Hutchinson Weather Monday's high 97 at 3:15 p.m.; overnight low 68 at 7:30 a.m. At 1 p.m. Tuesday 77. Record high 103 in 1911; record low 39 in 1904. Winds-10-15 mph. Barometer—29.85 rising. Sunset Tuesday—7:42 p.m. Sunrise Wednesday—7:13 a.m. (See weather map page 2.) delay action on the proposal. The motion had been seconded by Commissioner Larry Knipe. But in the showdown vote, Mackey and Knipe sided with cominissioners Ken Keast and Jim Martinez. Knipe did win concessions rom Superior that the company would provide screening for the Homefield residential area to the north. Mackey also got assurances from industrial district spokesmen that the city would be able to gain needed right of way for future storm drainage projects. Those were the items of concern for Mackey and Knipe, and the reason they wanted the delay. The industries' requests must be approved by the county commission, but that is considered a routine matter. Once the city makes a recommendation relating to the district, the county follows the request. Admission to the district means the city can not annex the industries until 1990, when a non-annexation pact with the district Is scheduled to expire. District admission transfers the property from the Buhlcr to the Hutehinson School district. The industries' spokesmen made a similar presentation to that by Superior in June and by the district itself earlier this year when it was granted the 20 year extension on the non- annexation pact. Bill Mitchell, attorney for Superior, told the commission the city could not insure industry the stability it would have if in the district. He said Superior was planning on expanding, but now has ample land on which to grow. Elwin Cabbage, attorney for Farmland, said all the requests were "logical extensions of the district." Industrial district officials continued to cite their role as an incentive for attracting new industries. Railing Kills Youth KANSAS CITY (AP) Christopher Dale Irwin, 9, Kan- City, was killed Monday sas night when a 200-pound window railing fell upon him and a companion. Two other boys were using the railing for a handhold as they walked along a ledge under a first-floor window. Russ Moves Toward Israel Relationship WASHINGTON — Authoritative administration officials say that Arab diplomats in Moscow believe that the Soviet Union expects to establish some form of relationship with Israel early next year. These officials, citing U.S. Intelligence reports received from Moscow last Thursday, said that chiefs of Arab diplomatic missions had concluded at a recent private meeting in Moscow (hat Soviet-Israeli relations would be resumed between January and March. This conclusion, they said', was apparently reached on the basis of a variety of indications from Soviet sources that Moscow Is moving toward a dialogue with Jerusalem. American official!! said that the intelligence reports showed that the Soviet Union was engaged In a delicate effort to prepare the Arab governments and Soviet officialdom for the formal opening of contracts with the Israelis. That 'Yelp'Is Ambulance People are asking about the "new sound in town" which brings them running to their front doors to see what is coming down the street. The sound Is the "yelp" built into the electronic siren on the new ambulance used by the Reno County Ambulance Service. "I think it's quite effective," says Larry Joy, ambulance supervisor, of the warbling tone used on the approach to intersections and in heavy traffic. "It seems to penetrate a little better than the standard up and down tone. In areas of heavy traffic or at intersections we switch to it for better clearance." The second new emergency ambulance, due here in October, will also be equipped with the yelp. A uti-Discrindnation Law Claims City 'Drags Feet' A black leader Tuesday accused city officials of dragging their feet on a proposed anti- discrimination Ordinance and suggested their commitment to such an ordinance was "part time." Darrcll Pope, president of the NAACP, told the commission discrimination was still evident in Hutcliinson. "We suggested an ordinance that would give the city the power to prosecute people who discriminate," Pope told the commission. "Maybe this (the power of prosecution) Is why there has been nothing done," Pope continued. Mayor David Mackey look exception to Pope's statement, noting a request for an attorney general's opinion on the proposed ordinance was made by blacks. "I tried to do something that would have had an ordinance in effect a month ago," the Mayor said, as he again defended his actions on submitting a revised version of the ordinance. But Pope told Mackey, "While discrimination might be a part-time thing with you, something you worry about once a week — if you worry about it at all—it's an everyday thing for minorities." "I'm willing to pass an ordinance this week, but I can't get anybody to go along with me," countered Mackey. That comment brought an immediate reaction from Commissioner Dallas Crable, who again told Mackey he should have worked with other commissioners in developing his revised version of the ordinance. Mackey and Crable then explained that the original ordinance, as written by a committee appointed by Mackey, was being studied by the attorney general's staff to determine its legality. Pope suggested the city commission should communicate directly with the attorney general in an attempt to hurry a decision'. Commissioner Jim Martinez agreed, saying "They (the attorney general's staff) don't think this is important—it is important to us." The commission then asked City Attorney John Robinson to check with the attorney general's office on the status of the opinion. Thus far Robinson has had 1 no luck getting information from the state office. _ Robinson and Commissioner Ken Kcast both suggested Pope and other black leaders should also write the attorney general. "I think a letter from you would have more effect," Keast said. Pope assured him such letters would be written. Intercepted Letter VERN MILDER V ^ / Topeka, Kan.' ,-//, :••,/,'. ' Dear Vew, i If your legal opinion had been submitted as a class theme, we suspect a lot of teachers would have given you an "F." Yours, Hutch

What members have found on this page

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 11,100+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Try it free