Youngstown riots

Special Collections and Archives

Youngstown riots

Special Collections and Archives

Youngstown riots

Ohio Steel Strike of 1937

Youngstown Riots

Poland Avenue Riot

Occured on June 19, 1937 at around 8:41 P.M.

Excerpts from Sworn Statement of Police Captain Charles Richmond on June 20, 1937

Inteviewed by Mr. Vern B. Thomas, Law Director of Youngstown

Questions by Mr. Thomas

Answers by Captain Richmond

Q: Captain, I believe you have been in charge, in the strike area, in the night time?

A: Yes sir.

Q: During the present strike?

A: Yes sir

Q: Now where were you stationed last night?

A: In the strike area, from South Avenue bridge, to Stop 14, on Poland Avenue.

Q: Now what, if anything, unusual occured last night and about what time, in the strike zone?

A: You want the beginning of it?

Q: The beginning of it.

A: When my crew and I left here, before 7:00 o'clock, we passed Stop 5, Poland Avenue, and saw that the pickets had massed on the sidewalk, covering a space of, I would say, almost three hundred square feet at Stop 5, at the entrance to the Republic Corporation's Mill. I would say there was twelve women who had cane chairs, these folding chairs like they use at meetings, placed on the sidewalk and in the driveway at the entrance to the Republic Mill. I stopped at the CIO picket headquarters, 1656 Poland Avenue and asked for Mr. Fagan who I believe was in charge of that area. When he could not be located, I talked to John DeBozie, who was the picket Captain at Stop 5, Poland Avenue. I told him that the pickets were massed on the sidewalk, and that women were still on the sidewalk and in the driveway to the Republic. I asked him to see that those pickets were kept moving as they had been instructed, and that the chairs were removed; if the women wanted to stay in the picket line, they would have to walk as the men were walking. I received no satisfactory answer from him. I left there and then went over Center Street bridge, turned aroud at the north end of the bridge and went to Stop 14, Poland Avenue, by way of Center Street bridge and Poland Avenue. In the way back from Stop 14, we had stopped at Stop 7, and talked to a picket captain and then proceeded over Center Street bridge again and down on Edgewood Street as far as Jackson Street, talked to several pickets and came back towards Center Street and stopped there for a while. We then proceeded over Center Street and turned west on Poland Avenue.

Q: You were in a cruiser car?

A: In a cruiser car.

Q: You were covering the entire strike area to see what the situation was?

A: That's it.

Q: All right.

A: Up to the time we got back to Stop 5, we had no words and no trouble, everything was orderly. At Stop 5, I saw the women were still there. I stopped at the fire station and used the telephone and then we went back to Stop 5, and I walked over to the picket captain at Stop 5, telling Officer Radowick to accompany me so that he would know what was going on.

Q: Had the pickets massed in greater proportions on the sidewalk than they had been previously, when you visited there?

A: Yes sir, Radowick was stationed at Stop 5, is the reason I took him over with me. I called the picket captain and asked him to have the picketing in motion, instead of massed on the sidewalk, covering the space that they were covering, and asked him to ask the women to take their chairs away and join the picket line and everybody keep moving, instead of massed as they were. I got no satisfactory answer from him.

Q: Traffic, of course, was being blocked, I presume?

A: No one else could pass on the sidewalk at all. I went back to the car and sat down, waited to see what they were going to do about it.

[Two questions skipped]

Q: All right, now then, tell us what happened?

A: After talking the second time to the picket captain, I went back to the car and got a riot club from the car, asked Radowick to go back with me and we asked the picket captain again to instruct the women to join the line and everybody keep moving. While we were standing there, pickets stationed across the road at the Marshall Fuel Company's office started throwing stones.

Q: That is, throwing stones at who?

A: At us. I called our officers out of the car, over on the lot with me and the pickets continued to throw stones. We were hit on the ankles and I was hit in the shoulder with a piece of brick. I warned them that if the brick-throwing continued, we would use gas. The brick-throwing continued and I threw one hand grenade on the ground. Up to that time no gas had been used. Then the stones started coming heavier and thicker, and we were forced to use the gas guns.

Q: Now before you used the hand grenade or the gas guns, had you backed up any?

A: We had backed down, I will say forty-feet from the sidewalk line.

Q: And how many policemen did you have there in your squad?

A: At that time there was about, I would say, fifteen.

Q: Now describe the kind of missles that were being thrown, at all of you, I suppose.

A: At all of us.

Q: Not at any particular policeman?

A: No, not at any particular one. There was bottles of different sizes, shapes. Bricks, half bricks and large stones and pieces of iron.

Return to Box 1 of Martin L. Davey Papers