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JOHN T. CORRIGA
- PROSECUTING ATTORNEY
CUYAHOGA COUNTY |
-CRIMINAL COURTS BUILDIN
CLEVELAND 14, OHIO.
web ea ed Tie wi he es etd
SPECIAL GRAND JURY REPORT RELATING TO HOUGH RIOTS
Your Honor, aude Thomas J, Parrino, Presiding Judge, ¥ ;
Criminal Branch, Common Pleas Court of Cuyahoga County: ?
As a preface to the attached report of the County Grand
Jury convened by you in special session for dealing with the
recent Hough Area riots, this Jury would like to make some general
Boeenraeten to you. | PPS
These are reinforced by approximately six months of
reviewing the status of law and order among the people of this
We assume that the people of Cuyahoga County are in the
main typical of people of the whole nation during this latter half
of the turbulent twentieth century.
It is our firm belief that what America needs more
urgently than anything. else is a renewal of good citizenship by
all of us.
of equal concern by this Jury are the steady erosion
of ideals and principles of God and Country and their persistent
replacement by the deification of material idols and material
‘principals.' We profoundly believe that a rigid adherence by
everyone to the established law and order of this country should
instantly replace the guerilla warfare practiced in the streets
Whatever we in this country set out to achieve should be
accomplished within the framework of the laws fashioned for. the
benefit and protection of every citizen and not by any means we think ¢
can be employed or the time we fix for ourselves,
We believe there should be a restoration of the qualities
of good faith, of honesty, and a willingness to hear out the other
person or the other side without resort to violence and disorder,»
whether! around a bargaining table with capital and labor, or
grievances among people of-different background or ethnic origin.
We believe in an elevation of moral and ethical standards
and conduct, including those in high places in government and in
business and in the professions - - a general going over of our
entire pattern of national life and values.
What this country and this community need, in the opinion
of this Jury of laymen , themselves citizens and parents and in
business and professions, is not so much a blood bath but a good
cleansing spiritual bath.
This Jury was called into special session and directed by
Presiding Judge Thomas J. Parrino of Common Pleas Criminal Court %
to inquire specifically into what now has become known as the .
"Hough Area situation."
Judge Parrino directive was in two parts:
ONE - To establish the immediate cause of the fire bombing
shooting, pillaging, general lawlessness and
The Judge requested that this Jury learn whether the outbreak of
disorder in this two mile square area, housing 60,000 negro people,
was organized, and, if so, by whom.
TWO - To establish as nearly as possible the basic cir-.
cumstance under which 60,000 human beings were
living in this relatively restricted area and for
whom the life, limb and property of all were placed
in jeopardy by the disorders,
The Jury has made this appraisal within the time limits and
facilities available and herein reports its general findings.
- - ty
NUMBER | ONE
This Jury finds that the outbreak of lawlessness and
disorder was both organized, precipitated, and exploited by a
relatively small group of trained and disciplined professionals
at this business.
Se et re et
They were aided and abetted, wittingly or otherwise,
by misguided people of all ages and colors, many of whom are avowed
believers in violence and extremism, and some of whom also are either
members of or officers in the Communist party.
The majority of people in the Hough Area had no part in
either the lawlessness or disorders.
They have been hindered rather than helped by this major
This Jury considers it regrettable and unfortunate for
the community's sake that the legal statutes of Ohio and Cuyahoga
County are either so outmoded or inadequate in their scope that
these "responsible irresponsibles" cannot at this time be reached”
by specific indictments for theit infamous activities.
By persistent additional investigative effort they may be
reached later on in this fashion.
(This Jury later in this report urges new and more
adequate laws in this respect.)
It is likewise observed by this Jury that it did not
have the necessary special investigative resources which could be
and should be focused exclusively in tracking down the required
immediate and far reaching evidence for conclusive legal action
against specific individuals.
However, in making this observation, the Jury wishes
especially and particularly to command those established arms of
law enforcement which have worked so resourcefiilly, effectively
. and energetically in this aggravated situation.
By this the Jury means, to be precise and specific, the |
,Clevéland Police Department in all of its branches, from the
Chief to the newest Rookie, and to Ohio National Guard when dnvolod
by the Governor in this serious community emergency.
The Jury nevertheless must emphasize that with the
limitations imposed by the necessity of at all times guarding the
community, the established arms of law enforcement are not equipped
‘either with the resources or the investigative facilities to make
such a total ail out and extended inquiry under this ahwiaties
as is obviously called for.
This Jury, in corsideration of the basic and wide public
interest, and exercising the latitude granted it under the laws
which empower the creation of such a body as ours, nonetheless
‘' makes reference to individuals and organizations that in varying degrees
were contributors to the Hough Area lawlessness and disorder. *
_ It further notes the presence of many of these same individuals and
organizations in another instance of lawlessness and disorder, that on
Superior Avenue, which bore many of the striking similarities to the Hough
Area disorders. |
It notes the further significant fact that the Superior Avenue episode
preceded the Hough Avenue disorders by less than 4 month.
Some of the same people were observed in both places on several nights
of the disorders.
This Jury further believes, that, even though what already happened is
both regrettable and tragic in every conceivable human aspect, there is a
grave potentiality for sepetitien of these disorders, or others like them,
occurring elsewhere in tha ‘commun Gy. |
Different techniques might be employed;sbut the resukts would be equally
disastrous or even more so. ' |
Therefore , this Jury believes its judgment should be made an important
part of the formal record of what has happened and of whatever may happen in the
rather unpredictable future towards which we all, as citizens of this community,
are mutually moving wherever we may live or whatever may be our place in life.
‘» Finally, before making specific reference to adult leaders in this
crises areas, and the events leading up to them, the Jury respectfully calls
attention to the effective uses made of impressionable emotionally immature
and susceptible young minds by those who for one reason or another have set out
to accomplish their designs and objéctives in Europe, Asis, South America and 4,4.
It is no casual happenstance or coincidence that those throwing fire fe
bombs, or bricks, or bottles or pillaging or generally engaged g disorder
and lawlessness were in the main young people-obviously assigned, trained and
Heciouinea in the roles they were to play in the Sabtern of these dual out-
breaks sepatated by less than one month.
Nor, by the same token, is it happenstance, or even just singular |
1. = That the overall pattern for firebombing and destruction to both
the Superior and Hough Areas was so highly selective;
2. - That the targets were plainly agreed upon;
.3e¢=) That certain places were indentified to be hit, and that certain
other places were similarly spared.
On both of these occasions, the Superior and Hough disorders, the presence
of teenagers previously referred to was observed by the police, by plainclothes
officers and undercover agents who had been assigned for long periods to observe
With this background firmly established by the Jury's inquiry, and with
the notable help of County Probecutor John T. Corrigan and his staff, particul-
arly Asst. County Prosecutor John T. Patton, this Jury herewith makes reference
to some of the principal and recurring personalities in the chain of events
which preceded both the Superior and Hough situations:
The JFK House, meaning Jamo Freedom Kenyata House, is located at 8801
Superior Avenue, The leaders are: 7
° Lewis G. Robinson, and Beth Robinson, his wife, living at l2k2 E. 89th
Street; Harlell Jones, 9716 Hough Avenue; Albert D. Ware-Bey, 11611 Castlewood *
- Avenue, and Philip Morris, 7806 Radell Avenue.
Lewis Robinson has been affiliated with the Freedom Fightegs of Ohio,
the Medgar Evers Rifle Club (which he helped to found), The. JFK icdbe. OF
which he is the ultimate head, The Deacons for Defense, and the Revolutionary
All of these Clubs, to which Lewis Robinson belongs are black nationalist
Testimony before this Jury discredited Lewis Robinson as a leader
concerned with generally altruistic interests in youth but rather points to him
as inciting these youthssto focus their hatreds and as indoctrinating them with
his own vigorous philisophy of violence.
He exerted a profound influence over the JFK youth and he still does.
Harlell Jones is affiliated with JFK House, the Medgar Evers Rifle Club,
the Revolutionary Action Movement; he is vice-president of the Deacons for
Defense in spite of his public disavowals, opene oe frequently either presided
over or sponsored meetings for black uiidopaidets, and stpaubes the ultimate —
revolutionary purpose for adjusting differences or obtaining desired ends.
Along with Lewis G. Robinson, Harlell Jones caused 2,000 pieces of
literature to be printed and circulated, citing alleged instances of "police
brutality", and on the eve of the Hough riots, circulated the greatest number
of these to youths of non-voting age under the plausible guide of urging the
defeat of a levy at the sella,
Special movies of an undisclosed and voluntary interview shown to the ;
Jury presnsbee Harlell Jones as an outright exponent of violence, a black
power apostle with a bitter hatred for all whites, a co-foynder of the Rifle
Club, and in commace of at least one Rifle Club. <
Albert D..Ware-Bey, belonged to the same Clubs as Harlell Jones. He
declined to testify before the Jury. Police agencies presented gecence: that
Ware, Robinson and Jones all purchased quantities of rifles, and all belonged
to the Rifle Clubs here and in other cities.
Ware-Bey expressed no allegiance to this country, professed himself not.
to be bound by its laws, and in the opinion of the Jury,by both testimony and
his own conduct, was not one who could have other than destructive infuluence
upon youths either at the JFK House or elsewhere.
There was evidence placed before the Jury that Rifle Clubs were formed,
that ammunition was purchased, and that a range was established and used, that:
speeches were made at JFK House advocating ihe need for Rifle Clubs, and that
instructions were given.in the use of Molotov cocktails, and how and when to
throw them to obtain maximum effect.
Further , irrefutable evidence was shown to the effect that Robinson
pledged reciprocal support to and with the Communist Party of Ohio.
In addition, Robinson attended many meetings at which imported Communist
speakers talked and was arrested at one of these.
It was established before the Jury that the leaders of the WEB DuBois
Club and the Communist Youth Party, with interchangeable officers and virtually
indentical concepts, arrived in Cleveland only a few days before the Hough
Area disorders, |
They took up residence at 18 East 81st Street, only a short distance
from the Central point of origin of the Hough Area troubles.
These men, who came from Chicago, New York and Brooklyn,
were Mike Bayer, otherwise known as Mike Davidow, Daniel Mack,
Ronald Lucas, and Steve Shreefter. ; ®
} They were seen constantly together. They made swift i
contact with the JFK House leadership, and wih Phil Bart, of
Middlehurst Road, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and his wife, Connie,
who, the evidence showed; are the leaders of the Communist’ party
throughout the Ohio Valley District including Cleveland.
With epecivis regard to the WEB DuBois Club, the evidence
further showed that Mike Bayer, Daniel Mack, Ron Lucas and Steve
Shreefter previously living and residing a large part of ehete
time outside of Cleveland, are currently making plans to move
their efforts fron the Hough Area over to the West Side: That
they are not employed, are now so far as the Jury knows without
any visible means of support but nevertheless are able to carry
on their advocacy and to maintain themselves with clothing, food
* om. tat
and shelter from some undetermined source. Finaliy, evidence was
presented that UJAMA is an organization dedicated to black power
and has begun its effort to establish itself in the Cleveland area,
Their philosophy is that black people should be governed by them-
selves in every respect and that anything pertaining to the rights
of negroes must be cleared through the central organization of
UJAMA which has flourished in New York, and has spread into other
places, and is embraced locally by Lewis Robinson and his Lieutenants
at JFK House. In attendance at one specific meeting at which
plans for UJAMA in Cleveland were discussed were Robinson, Jones
and Ware-Bey, Also in attendance at this meeting was Cornelius
Freeman from Cleveland and Oserjiman Adefumi, and also known as
Serge King, and Gizengaga Latunji, representing New York UJAMA,
it is this Jury's opinion that the investigative
authorities have progressed sufficiently to justify the expecta-
tion they will ultimately, if either urged or permitted to
follow beyond what they have thus far gathered be able to put ;
together all of the pieces to this pattern of lawlessness and
Because of ths Jury's strong judgment in this regard
it earnestly urges its successors to pursue the Superior and
Hough disorders with the utmost vigor and determination.
Nothing less that this should be permitted in the public
In this section of its report to Judge Thomas J. Parrino
the sity wishes to reiterate the fact that the overall majority
_ of the people living in the Hough area, distissed, frustrated,
beset with problems unimaginable. to those who do not endure them,
had nothing whatever to do with these disorders and destructions,
and the Jury, on the contrary, expresses its wholesome admiration
for their good citizenship and restraint in these tense and
In the course of its investigation, the Grand Jury has
learned that police and firemen were targets for snipers and
individuals throwing rocks and bricks.
Further, fire equipment was damaged, particularly hoses,
which were cut or attempted to be cut so as to render them useless
_in the protection of persons and property.
These acts were a direct affront to lawful authority
and of necessity would lead .to justifiable armed self-protection,
unfortunately resulting in occasional injury and death to the
These senseless acts cannot be tolerated and the
perpetrators should be subjected to severe penalties.
The police and firemen on the other hand should be
ebanahaea for their efforts to maintain law and order in the face -
of great personal danger.
The general conduct of our police and fire departments,
we feel, command and receive the highest respect of our law abiding
citizens from all groups.
It is the recommendation of this Grand Jury that all
decent law-abiding citizens proclaim their support of law and
order and their support of policemen and firemen in carrying out
their duties toward that end.
. ‘This, in bene will of necessity command a course of
conduct on the part of police and firemen and particularly of the
police, who have more intimate contact with the public, which will
be of the highest caliber of efficiency and decency and patience
and will thus co, ribute to a greater restoration of our American
ideal of equal treatment,
As earlier in this section of the Jury‘s report it was
indicated, the Jury now requests that the Cuyahoga County delega-
tion to the next session of the Ohio Assembly give serious cénsider-
ation to the following suggestions for new and more inciveive
jegiaiarios covering such situations as the Superior and Hough
Area disorders represent. €
The Jury suggestions therefore are --
(1) Inciting 66 riot. |
No person with the intent to cause a riot shall do.
any at or engage in any conduct which urges a riot,
or urges others to commit acts of force or violence,
or the burning or destroying of property, and at a time
and place and under circumstances which produce a clear
and present and immediate danger of acts of force or
violence or the burning or destroying of property.
Whoever violates this section shall be imprisoned not
less than one nor more than twenty years, *»
(2) Definition of iibe:
Any use of force or violence, disturbing the peace,
or any threat to use such force or violence, if aéeoupanted
by immediate power of execution involving two or more
persons carrying on such conduct and without authority of
law, is a riot.
(3) Enhanced Penalty for Arson or Attempted Arson during
An amendment to Revised Code section 2907,06 (this
section concerns itself with the attempt to burn or
set on fire or to do aii act preliminary thereto or the
burning of buildings):
“Upon the proclamation of thg Governor prpclaiming
a. state of disaster or extreme emergency because of a
rict, whoever violates this section during such period
covered by said proclamation shall i fined not less
than $5,000.00 and imprisoned not less than five nor
more than twenty years or both."
(4) Assault against a_ fireman or policeman acting in
the course of his duty.
No person shall assault a fireman or policeman
while such fireman or policeman is acting in the course
of his duties; Whoever violates this section shall be
fined not more than $5,000.00 or imprisoned not less
than one no~ more than twenty years or both,
In addressing itself to the second of Judge Parrino's
directives, namely, the conditions of life prevailing in the
this Jury finds:
Poverty and frustration, crowded by organized agitators?
served as the uneasy backdrop for the Cleveland riots, |
Unfortunately, it is the overwhelming mass of innocent
and law-abiding citizens who pay the greatest penalty in any
eross-fire of violence,
The following inequities and practices contrbuted as
a feeding ground for disorder:
The density of population in the Hough Area,
Inadequate and sub-standard housing,
Charging of exorbitant rents. by absentee landlords,
Non-enforcement of the housing code.
Woefully inadequate recreational facilities for
children whose uncertain homelife calls for this
kind of wholesome community outlet, and fot«the con-
. 8tructive guidance and counsel to offset their
Sub-standard educational facilities as a consequence
of long neglect, which, in substantial fairness,
have been greatly improved in recent years but
which still call for further effort on the part of
officials and community leaders,
Excessive food prices in most instances accompanied
all too frequently with foodstuffs found to be
interien ta freshness or quality.
The denial of equal economic opportunities,
Diminished incentives by repressed and neglected people.
38 The present system of paying women for having ae
children, frequently out of wedlock, or under a
relationship loosely described as "common-law" -
which enables the father to walk out of his "marital
arrangement" to escape his proper fenponbipivicicnss
(The current welfare system should be challenged in this
respect for its effect upon the very people who are supposed to
beneeit: Children brought into the world under such callous and
financially expedient circumstances are rarely seen by their
father, This system the Jury believes is anything but helpful
either to the mothers, or the fathers, or the children, et the
community, Surely, this Jury believes, those charged with social
and moral responsibility in this community are capabie of devising
a much more equitable and effective formula than the prevailing one, ) ‘
— k. Regardless of how the very large addition of negroes
formerly widely dispersed throughout the deep and
mid-South have migrated to the large focthern Bitteny
like Cleveland, the fact is that these men, women and
children are here,
(In many instances the mode of life they find in such
large cities as Cleveland differs substantially from that which
prevailed in the places whence they came, Frequently they find
themselves bewildered and unable quickly to adjust themselves to
the demands of their new surroundings and thus find themselves
‘frequently at cross purposes with the authorities and the older
residents of the areas in which they find themselves currently.)
Impatience among the negro people for the improvement
of their citizenship is understandable but the opinion has been
expressed they may be attempting to exact too much too fast for
the community to bear within an arbitrarily fixed time limit,
The fact, nevertheless, is that too many human beings,
however they arrive in our midst, or whence thay came, or why, 4
are living under such completely intolerable conditions in the
.Hough Area at the present time, that inevitably the consequences
must be futility, frustration, bitterness, and exposure to the
abrasive forces advocating violence,
These factors make them prone to the almost immutable
by-products of such prevailing conditions; crime, delinquency,
looseliving, tragic deterioration of moral behavior, and the
brittle, bitter, hypar=dansitivity which emerges therefrom; and
in the aggragate these effects represent potential danger not
only to themselves but to the community as a whole,
There are no longer moats complacently situated in
which any citizen can live under modern conditions safely removed
| iad rt
from the turmoil and anxiety and bitterness of others, frrespec-
tive of skin color, or religious identification of political
inclinations or economic and social environment,
Whatever happens in the large cities of America, as in
the community of Greater Cleveland, eventually affects all
citizens in one way or another.
| Now, ali these complex social evils are used as
subtle and inflamatory provocations by resident and non-resident
organizers who exploit riots such as both the Superior and Hough
Area riots in Cleveland, y
Where possible, as earlier indicated, this Jury has
diligently sought to pinpoint the causes of these riots.
ie RI ral a ct
At this time the return of any additional
indictments based upon community vengeance and not upon evidence
sufficient to convict in a court of law would not do credit to
our democratic society. |
Realistic and productive goals must now be set by this *
community, and that near term emphasis be directed toward:
1, - Improvement ‘in Housing Code Enforcement,
22 = Improvement in Police Action and Court Findings
against prostitutes, cheat spots, gambling, and
the profusion of the numbers of liquor license
3. - Continuing drive for improved garbage and suobian
collection; stronger measures against landlords and
‘ . tenants to make this task easier for the City.
4, - Put the Urban Renewal Program back on the track
with the full cooperation of the Federal Government .
as quickly as possible,
*. ° tg
Our total resources must be marshalled to prevent a
recurrence of this enornicus tragedy -- a potentislity which this
Jury strongly counsels. is still present,
Where prejudice and injustice are cast aside, the wilful , os
and malicious agitator finds littie support for his prSveeas
tive and destructive acts.
This Jury does not attempt in this repor€, while sorely
tempted to do so, to fix responsibility upon either individual
_or individuals, or on pressure groups or organizations for the
community's failure to more adequately to meet its responsibilities;
It does, however, wish to make unmistakably clear that
it does not believe this community has adequately measured up to
By the same token it does not believe that the influential
leaders in either the Hough Area or in other dreas of this
community have measured up to their responsibilities.
This Jury does at this tine urge upon the Mayor, upon
the City Council, upon the business, financial and industrial
leaders, upon the educators au the civic organizations to act
now either individually or in concert to put Cleveland in the
forefront in meeting the sociological and moral
challenges of our times, as in the past this community has so
conspicuously risen to meet the challenges of the past.
This Jury cannot conclude its report without paying
wholehearted tribute to those wise and long-range leaders of this
community who in tiein geet wisdom saw and recognized a situation
which now. rests uneasily, on the conscience of the entire country,
and it applauds etletn for their selfless work, their patience,
their substance, their cooperative efforts, and the many tangible
results of their good and wise leadership, # ' ed
They have set for the rest of us a plateau of good
citizenship for which we should all strive,
The time for total community action is now.
LOUIS B SELTZER
GRAND JURY FOREMAN
AUG. 9 - 1966
Received for filing
AUG 9 - 1966
E, J. Masgay Clerk
BY....My 3s Reid, eps