Box 3, Folder 13, Document 1

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WASHINGTON (The federal government is having ithuble
- giving away $1.5 million to finance an experiement in breaking
down barriers between police and Negroes in slum sections of the

“nation’s capital.
The problem: Negroes oppose
the project. ©

The snarl underscores the
deep distrust that both sides
agree already divides Negroes
from the police in a city marked
by recent riots and frequent
shooting incidents. Four police-
men _ and six Negrces have’been
killed in recent confrontations.

“Police are increasingly seen
as an occupying force in hostile

“territory,” top Washington po-
lice officials admit in a pream-
ble to the antipoverty proposal.

To try to ease this tension, the
Office of Economic Opportunity
wants to give police $1.5 million
to set up a series of storefront
centers in the Negro ghetto.

Police would provide around-
the-clock emergency services
for neighborhood residents in
need. Citizens’ councils _ would
help run the centers. Ghetto
teen-agers would be enlisted in
youth patrols.

“You would have a paid net-
work of police informers,” ob-;
jects Wilbert Williams, a Negro

Williams and other opponents

of the program are insisting on
more neighborhood control over
the police in the service centers.
But a top OKO spokesman says
the main reason for their re-
sistance is simply “they don’t
want to fund the fuzz.”

Gerson M. Green, the energet-
ic young OEO official who is
trying to spearhead the police
experiment, believes law and
order is necessary to reversal of
poverty in the ghetto, but thinks
it cannot be achieved unless the
police can secure the coopera-
tion of the neighborhood com-

Two out of three residents of
Washington are Negroes. Four
out of five policemen are white.
Patrick V. Murphy, the city’s
director of public safety, says,
“Police have come to occupy
the role of a coercive, adver-
sary force especially in Negro
inner-city areas. i

Murphy-has taken the leader-.
ship in pushing Green’s, experi-'
ment. The proposal was un-
veiled a month ago at a news
conference by Murphy and Wal--
ter Washington, the city’s ap-
pointed Negro mayor.

Under a 1967 change in the
law, the OEO’s local antipover-
ty wing, the United Planning
Organization, can veto an ex-
perimental program in its prov-
ince. To OEO’s surprise, it did!
Williams, a member of the
UPO board and head of its adyi-
sory council cf the poor, led the
attack. Among other things,
Williams argues the hard-
pinched antipoverty money
should be spent on programs
that visibly help-the poor, not on

\the police.

Wiley A. Branton, UPO's ex-
ecutive director, says his organ-
ization wasn’t consulted in the
planning and argues ghetto resi-
dents will hardly embrace a po-
lice program that is being im-
posed on them.

“The distrust is a deep-seated
thing,” says Branton.

The squabble has settled into
an exchange of memorandums,
disputes over technicalities,
counterproposals and counier-
charges, and an OEO argument
that UPO didn’t have enough
board members present to
make its veto legal. At any rate,
OEO can override the veto, and
probably will do so if it can’t
reach a compromise with UPO.

The birth pangs hardly point
to any assurance of success for
the experiment in improving re-
lations between police and the
poor. But an OEO spokesman
stresses the need for the project
with the simpie argument:
“Nothing else has worked.”


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