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mothers to get needed prenatal care. Dr. Finley testified that according to obstetricians, the "walk-in delivery rate" at Metropolitan Hospital averages from 15 to 20 percent per month. This goes
higher than that in some months.
This means women who come there to get their babies
In Cleveland the infant mortality rates in Negro communities were approximately 40 percent higher than in white communities; premature birth rates were 50 percent higher; and deaths in the first months of life were 70 percent higher. Dr. Finley attributed the higher Negro infant mortality rate, in part, to the lack of prenatal care for a substantial number of expectant Negro mothers."
Residents of slums are short-changed in the availability of public health services in other ways. In Cleveland, for example, staffing problems confronting public health units were most acute in Negro areas. In November 1965, of the eight vacancies among public health nurses, seven, with a planned work load of 4,000 cases, were in areas 80 percent Negro or more. Thus, in the very locations where the health problems were most serious, the public health services available were substantially short of the public health services available elsewhere in the city.
The Police and the Ghetto
Many nonresidents are attracted to slums, as Mr. Thorington put it, "to do their dirt":
It is not that Hough is a morally decayed neighborhood.
Dominick A. Spina, Director of Police in Newark, N.J., testified that much of the crime problem in the Scudder Public Housing Project was caused by nonresidents of the project:
[B]ecause of the fact that there are so many people in
Another important problem in these projects is the fact
taverns unfortunately, especially when the patrons stream
A Negro minister, Rev. Robert V. Parks, testified in Cleveland:
Witnesses complained that the police tend to accept vice and crime as normal in slum areas. In Boston, Rev. William B. Dwyer, Vicar of St. Stephens Episcopal Church, said:
White hunters from other parts of Boston are constantly
Christopher Hayes, Chairman of the Boston South End Federation of Citizens Organizations, stated:
Police have isolated the South End as an area, giving it
Rev. Parks stated that there was no doubt in his mind that the police were aware of organized crime in Hough:
Our biggest crime rate is within two blocks of the Fifth
District police station which is at 107th and Chester. There is no doubt in my mind that the police do know what is going on because I see them cruising up and down the street, calling the girls to the car, the girls leaning on the cars and talking to them and going right back on the street and continuing doing what they have been doing all along....In my opinion, the breeders of the crime in the Hough area is the white community which is paying for most of the crime committed in our area. You take prostitution-it leads to robbery. Robbery leads to murder. Witnesses also complained that police were slower in responding to calls in slum areas than they were in white areas. Police resources are not necessarily committed to particular areas in proportion to the crime rate. Commission attorneys examined 1965 police communications records in Cleveland to determine whether police officers responded to calls for assistance less rapidly in the predominantly Negro Hough district than in predominantly white districts.52 The study was concerned with the time lapse between receipt of a telephone call by the communications unit and the time a police car was dispatched to the scene. Significant disparities were found. A Commission staff attorney testified:
[T]here were 13 major categories of calls involving police
Mr. Thorington described the difficulties he experienced because of the lack of adequate police protection:
I have even been turned down by merchant salesmen that I
want to do business with... because the drivers refuse
In Boston, Rev. Virgil Wood, a resident of the city's Roxbury area, told of the difficulty one Negro family had in getting the police to respond to a call for assistance:
One family had called the police because of an incident in
Alienation between citizens and the police is characteristic of slum communities, where police often are viewed with hate, fear and suspicion.56 A common belief in slum areas is that policemen regard their role as one of protecting the white population from the residents of the slum. Rev. Wood stated: "A zoo keeper attitude is maintained [by the police] toward the residents of the community." 57 Rev. Parks testified that the Cleveland Chief of Police, in opposing the abolition of capital punishment, had proclaimed publicly: "We need capital punishment in order to keep the Negro in line." 58
There also is a strong feeling in slum areas—and among middle-class Negroes as well-that the police do not treat Negroes as human beings entitled to respect and dignity." The complaints range from physical manhandling to verbal mistreatment. In Cleveland, several Negro witnesses gave accounts of rude and discourteous treatment by the police. James Malone, a Negro, who was Director of the Surgical Research Laboratories at Western Reserve University, testified that when a woman was injured in an automobile accident, he sought to enlist the aid of four policemen who were having coffee and watching television in a nearby hospital cafeteria. The police, he said, considered the request for assistance to be an imposition. He testified that although they reluctantly accompanied him:
two of them sort of escorted me outside by taking a hold of my arms. When we got into the corridor, I told them to let go of me and not to touch me unless they were going to arrest me. I said, "I am here to enlist your aid."
One of the policemen, Mr. Malone testified, shoved him around and called him "boy".1
Mrs. Margaret Weathers, a Negro employee of the Cleveland Division of Recreation whose many community activities included membership in a police-citizen community relations committee appointed by the Mayor, testified that in December 1964, while driving home with her four-year-old daughter on a rainy night, a police officer ticketed her for approaching too near a red traffic light. According to Mrs. Weathers, the officer told her: "You appear in court next Friday." Mrs. Weathers testified that when she told him she could not appear in court that day because she had to be out-of-town, the policeman
.. took and kept my driver's license, he took my keys and he said, "You are under arrest, we are going to tow your car in, we are going to take your daughter and turn her over to police officials and you are under arrest. She testified further that she was detained for an hour, and that when the police wagon arrived on the scene there were seven policemen, including a sergeant; her daughter was crying, and Mrs. Weathers was very disturbed. Mrs. Weathers said the sergeant released her with the following comment:
You better be glad that your daughter is here and she is
Mrs. Weathers and Mr. Malone testified that they believed that the police would not have treated them as they did if they had been white. The police view matters differently. John Ronayne, a retired Inspector of the New York City Police Department who was retained by the Commission to study the Cleveland Police Department, testified that the police
feel that most of the complaints about civil rights
In Cleveland, however, there was no effective channel for complaining about, and resolving the merits of alleged police mistreatment. The police department never had publicized any procedure for making complaints about police misconduct. Clarence Holmes, a Negro attorney in Cleveland, testified that a major issue in the Negro community
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