Did the situation ever become violent or potentially violent? What did you do to diminish that?


Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

How about communication with the protesters, were there any strategies for reducing the volatility?

Answer:
We have a protocol and policy on what to do when violence is occurring. Basically, it is to reach out to the community. We want to get our major course of action there. Our goal is to reduce the violence on the street and get the issues into some other type of venue where the people are talking and are planning meetings with one another to reduce the violence or eliminate it and get it off the street. One of the strategies we employ for that is getting the community leaders patrolling their own streets. We talked to the community and they were willing to do this the night before. The first part of our response to civil disorder, before we sit down and start dealing with the problems, is that we've got to eliminate the violence in the streets and people getting hurt. So the community was willing to do its part. In some places they wear yellow hats. We had them wearing shirts to identify themselves as they went out into the streets to end the disorder and violence. The authorities accepted it and the rumor control the second night.






Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
The major goal was -- and it's the goal that Washington had dictated -- to keep violence from occurring. Our goal, as two guys out there, was to keep each police unit and each group from going at each other, which in the global picture was to keep violence from occurring. We refused to use those kinds of words because we knew that they were designed mostly for the media, and we didn't want to do that. That's really it, a very simple kind of approach to a problem that anybody with common sense and a little experience would have been able to handle. It didn't take a PhD, it didn't take a rocket scientist, it didn't even take a guy with a B.A. necessarily. It just took a guy with common sense to go out there.




Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

There was another case involving the Navajo folks and AIM this one between AIM and the city of Gallup. In this one there was a Native American prisoner being held in Gallup, and AIM was bringing some of its national leadership in to have a march. I won't try to go into any real account of it, except that it was a classic case where we were asked to help with a demonstration. AIM wanted to march all the way from Windowrock to Gallup along the main highway to the federal building. This march would have covered many miles of highway, and they were worried about the police shooting them up.

Question:
Did they want protection?

Answer:
They wanted us to help provide the lead, to work with the law enforcement agencies to make sure the march went on peacefully. We went in and discussed this, and after they had reflected more fully on it, they decided that undertaking what would have been a two day march with an overnight beside the highway, maybe that was a little much. They revised their plans to simply have a march from a predominantly Indian community center in Gallup some blocks to the federal building, where there was to be a rally and some speech making. There was a lot of tension, certainly in official circles, the city council, and the police department, as you can imagine, and we certainly had our concerns about what might happen between police and marchers and so on. Several of us went on down we had three of us working on different aspects of this one. One of the problems was that the AIM folks had not applied for a permit in time, and the city council was not inclined to budge off that. We worked around with different folks, including the mayor, and one of the local judges, and had a lot of conversations with the AIM folks, of course, and we finally did work it out. It was agreed that the police would be around and available, but would not have a heavy presence close to the march. We came up with a general plan that was acceptable to everybody,

Question:
Did you come up with that plan with the help of the parties?

Answer:
We worked on every problem that offered itself. For example, the city council and the mayor backed down and didn't demand the advance permit, so that obstacle was removed. I don't remember for sure, but we probably made the suggestions, how about this, all these kinds of things--and eventually it came off ok. And of course we monitored the march and kept an eye on how it was going, and nothing blew. The rally was held, and speeches were made on the steps of the federal building, and nobody got hurt.




Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Later on, the Klan surrounded the hotel room, but that's another story. The Klan surrounded the place, and we were in the room, and we moved in the room together. Fred said, "What do we do now, Ozell?" I said, "Well, I don't know Fred, we gotta do something." He said, "Well, we could call the police." I said, "Oh no, they're Klan too." You're just opening the door to the Klan by calling the police. He says, "We could call the F.B.I." I says, "They're Klan sympathizers down here, so they may not come and get us. The trouble is, anybody we call we got to go through switchboard, and that gives us another problem." I came up with an idea: I called the Department of Justice and I got our secretary. There were no high ranking blacks in the Department of Justice at that time. I said, "Lady, what I need to talk about, I'm not ready to talk about it to you. Furthermore, you can't help me. I want you to look outside the window somewhere, and find a black janitor or a handyman somewhere, preferably middle-aged. Don't ask me to explain all of this, just do it for me." And she did, she found a janitor, he was forty or fifty years old. When he came and said, "Hello," I said, "Ooday ooyay eekspay iglatinpay?" He answered me in pig-Latin! I told him in pig-Latin where I was. I said, "I want you to leave this phone and get on a private phone. I want you to call Roger Wilkins, and I want you to tell him what our situation is. Make sure that nobody hears you when you make the call and just leave it there. He'll take care of it." So he did. He went and he called Roger, and in about thirty minutes, U.S. Marshals came over and escorted us out of the hotel. So don't tell me I don't speak a foreign language, I speak the ghetto language. I want you to know I spoke some beautiful pig-Latin that day.



Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
Well, it depends on if somebody's threatening violence, and generally you can tell when that is going to happen. I remember one time in Oklahoma, the white establishment business council, came in and put their guns on the table in front of the council and the sheriff. How were we going to deal with that, because the sheriff wouldn't tell them to remove their guns." So, before things got started, I just got vehement. I didn't know if it was going to work; I suppose if they had said, "Shut up and get your black butt out of here," I would have left, but they didn't. I got up and I said, "Hold it! None of this!" I put on my best act like I was mad, my eyes got big as saucers. I was scared of them, but they didn't know I was scared. I was really scaring them! They said, "Oh. Yes sir. Yes sir." Boy, they went back out to their pick up trucks and got rid of those weapons. The minorities in this situation were Hispanics instead of Indian. That was the only time I ever saw anybody put their firearms on the table.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Other than Wounded Knee, which I want to talk about tomorrow, were you ever in situations where there was a serious potential for violence?

Answer:
At the table you mean?

Question:
Either at the table or in the community.

Answer:
Oh, well in a lot of CRS-type cases there is potential for violence in the community, sure. If the conflict is unresolved, it can result in a protest where there is a potential for violence.

Question:
So what do you do to try to reduce that potential?

Answer:
You get people talking and hoping that they see some light at the end of the tunnel. Most people don’t want to be in violent situations because someone can get hurt, including them. Most people are looking for ways out and they use the potential of violence to bring it to the brink and they hope they don’t have to jump.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Let's talk about what you do when you see a potential for violence?

Answer:
It generally involves police departments. The best thing to do is to create as much public awareness as possible about what's going on. The more light you can shine on this community issue and make everybody aware of what's going on, the less likely that violence is going to occur, regardless of where it's coming from. The first thing is just to get everybody out there and talking about what's happening. Then you try to create response systems that include the community. For example, one situation was in a park at night where there was a lot of violence involving black youth. The police were trying to deal with it and one of our recommendations was to get the adult male pastor to come into those parks and help. The police were more likely to cause more violence to occur. So our suggestion wasn't the answer to the problems, but it was a way of working with the current situation and trying to diminish possibility of violence right then. We try to find people who have influence with the people who you fear might cause the violence. Again, those personal leaders. I used to tell school districts, "If you want to stop trouble in the hallways, put some other kids or parents in the hallways." A generation of school administrators cried "We want the parents out of the schools." Same thing in a community. You can't hire enough police officers to police the community. We have got to get the community involved in policing. It's amazing our presence, whether it was me or any of us, could create calm. There was a calming effect. We are good talkers, we can create hope. They don't have to take one particular route, there is an alternative. That takes us back to the Indians as a good example. The potential there was violence. The potential was that the people inside had guns.




Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Yes, we met, with city hall and the police to let them know what the Korean demonstrators intentions are, what they're going to do, that we're going to be on site, that we have the leadership and we want to know who's going to be your leadership and how we can continue to communicate at all times, because we just don't know where this is going to go. After we met with the city hall police and let them know this demonstration was going to take place, we had to let the LAPD know because there are multiple jurisdictions. The other law enforcement agency that we didn't contact or develop a working relationship with was the parking enforcement police. We later had a problem with them. So we learned that we had to look at all the law enforcement agencies that were going to be involved.



Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

CRS by maintaining open communications lines open is able to diffuse tensions and mediation conflicts that may arise.

Question:
For example?

Answer:
The Koreans had a pickup system. They would bring these vans in, and hundreds of people would line up to get into the vans to go back to Korea town. It seemed to not be a problem, but then some of the bus drivers started complaining that they're blocking the way. So the law enforcement parkers decided to come in and give tickets. Well, the Koreans already felt hurt; they had already lost too much. They said, "We're not paying tickets!" and several Koreans began to tear the tickets up right in front of the officers. One of the law enforcement parking officers went berserk on us. He started calling, cussing, and arguing with these people. He called for backup, and all these midget cars come in from parking service like it was a showdown. And I'm going, "I can't believe this." So we go in and intervene and say, "Wait a minute. Stop! What are you doing?" We could tell by his behavior that he was a non-compromising skill kind of guy who was going to get his way, or else. I said, "I want to see your supervisor." So we had to flash our DOJ identification, tell him who we are, tell them what we're about and say, "We need to see your supervisor. You don't need to talk to these people." We waited for the supervisor, Meanwhile all these cars are flying in on us. It could have gone crazy right there and then. We finally get a supervisor and explain to him what's going on, and he says, "Okay, don't worry about it, drop the ticket. Let me get my guys out of here first." I said, "Okay, please." It just takes somebody with a level head that understands the dynamics that will say, "Look, you guys are being inconsistent. You let them park here for several days, and now you're enforcing parking restrictions all of a sudden. We gotta work this out. This wasn't fair to the Koreans." So we were able to negotiate a different route and work all that out.

Question:
And that was typical of what you were doing?

Answer:
Yes, it was conflict after conflict all the time.






Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I had a mediation session once where the sheriff and everybody talked about how they were going to negotiate, but then they came to the table with guns. And I was appalled. It scared the hell out of me, but I was appalled. And I tried my best to explain what negotiations were, what coming to the table was all about , and how we were going to try to mediate this, and they said, ...we'll resolve it alright." And I told them, "Gentlemen, you're going to have to put these things away." One guy wanted to know why. "Who in the heck are you to come in here telling us to put my pistol up?" And I said, "You see how this goes? They're sitting out there, all you guys got the guns down here, these people don't have anything. Now what is that supposed to be about?" That took me 45 minutes to literally disarm these people and explain what this discussion at the table was going to be about. And then the sheriff, thank God, he took the lead and said, "Okay. Let's find a way to put these things up." They went down to their respective offices, we were in City Hall. It scared the heck out of me. I figured I was going to drive back to the hotel that night and I was going to get ambushed. I said, "Some of these guys are going to shoot me. They're going to catch me and shoot the crap out of me." That's what I thought. But fortunately, nobody did. They decided, "We'll let the guy live. He might be too much paperwork if we shoot him." And that's just the way that it was.



Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So there was a potential for violence there. One of the key things that we try to do before an event which might lead to violence is that we get the key players, the leaders, together to talk about what expectations each one has about the coming event. We talk about what parameters each one has set, what are their absolutes, and what is negotiable, so that each side would know what to expect of the other. In this case, we arranged for a meeting between the march leadership and the Nebraska Law Enforcement, particularly the State Patrol. We tried to come up with an understanding of how far marchers would be able to go. The Nebraska Law Enforcement understood that there was no intent to create any violence or to destroy any property. They understood, in fact, that the marchers would be training self-marshals. CRS helped, to some extent, in doing that too. AIM has a very effective security staff themselves, so they served as marshals to some extent in controlling their own group. When we actually got to the border and the point at which Nebraska Law Enforcement said, "This is as far as you can go," there were a number of demonstrators who wanted to contest that restriction. They wanted to cross that boundary and be arrested, and some did just that. Other leaders worked very, very hard to draw attention off those marchers, away from that confrontational setting, to avoid actual physical violence. There were police lined up shoulder to shoulder in riot gear and it was like 95, 97 degrees outside. It's not where I would have wanted to be at that particular day! Yet the marchers said they were not leaving until those arrested were returned. CRS tried, but was unable to negotiate an agreement whereby those arrested were released on their own recognizance because these marchers really wanted a court test of their first amendment rights, of where they could go and what they could say there. On the other hand, nobody really wanted violence. Eventually they were released, but they were not returned to the border, where there was still some tension, but they were transported back to Pine Ridge, away from the confrontation site, and released there. We had a debriefing with the law enforcement and march leaders later that day or the next day, and all of them were convinced that, had it not been for the meeting prior to the march, and the understanding that had been reached there the trust that had been built up. I remind you that they were not "best buddies," but there was a trust level established. Had that not been done, this probably would have ended up violently again . So I guess what I am saying, in probably way too many words, is that our primary response to a potentially violent situation is to try to get the key parties together beforehand to avoid that violence. Because once things have gotten out of control, it's difficult to use mediation skills to get it back on track. When you do this kind of preventive work. you can see where there might be actions that are exacerbating the violence, and try to deal with that. I know that the phrase, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is sort of a cliche and trite, but that really is true. Usually even the people who might be involved in violence don't go out wanting violence. They might want to make a particular statement, and they might want to get arrested, but there are ways of doing that in a controlled manner which gives everyone what they want.





Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

In the following early September, I received a call from Ft. Defiance in the Navajo Reservation saying there were some serious problems, and there had been a killing in one of the border communities just outside the reservation, allegedly that a young Navajo man killed of a deputy sheriff in the parking lot of a convenience store, and that the suspect was on the run. People on the Navajo reservation were in considerable fear about the kind of reaction the state police and others might bring to bear--it was a very tense scene. Also, the annual Navajo nation fair was coming up within a week or so and that there were some serious tensions surrounding that. There were some problems between members of AIM, the American Indian Movement, and the Navajo tribal leadership who ran the fair. The fair is the biggest single event, apparently, on the Navajo annual calendar. AIM, as well as other Navajo folks, were concerned about this other matter and the possibility of heavy police presence at the fair. Now, obviously CRS had no role with respect to the law enforcement scene, or investigation, or anything like that. Our only role would be if there were fears and tensions based on relations between the Navajo people and police. We were willing to see if there was anything we could do minimize those tensions and get at some of the sources. Anyhow I went on down to Window Rock, which is the Navajo capital, and 5 miles from Window Rock is Fort Defiance which is where some of the AIM folks were headquartered. It's a long story. There wasn't any major role to play, happily, with regard to the suspect who was picked up soon without violence. So while that was a very aggravated scene, it was resolved quickly and was not a problem that we needed particularly to address. However, we did have to address the conflict with AIM. AIM's main demand of the Navajo people in charge of the big fair, was that they wanted an AIM element to be included in the all important parade that kicked off the fair, and they wanted AIM to be included in the rest of the fair as well. Also, about a week or 10 days later, AIM was planning to hold a big powwow on a ranch within the Navajo reservation which was owned by the grandmother of one of the young AIM men. Hundreds of people from outside the reservation had been invited to this event. The main issue with respect to the powwow was the FBI. Remember, this was only 3-4 months after Wounded Knee, and AIM was very worried that the FBI would disrupt the powwow. Some folks might have felt that this was a real paranoia, but this is how they felt. We talked to the AIM leaders and offered to talk with the FBI. The Navajos have their own substantial police department too, so we got with the Navajo superintendent of police as well. He was a very cooperative guy, open to discussion. He didn't feel there was any substance to AIM's accusations, and everybody else denied it, but the AIM folks were very, very fearful about this. They insisted there had been some over flights and they thought they had seen people hiding in the trees of a nearby mesa, so they thought they were being spied on. They thought somebody was going to come down on their powwow either when it took place or before it took place. I noticed out back of the Navajo police headquarters a couple of helicopters and I got an idea. I called the superintendent and asked what would he think if a couple of the AIM leaders and maybe himself and I took an unannounced flight to check out the area. The superintendent of police and the AIM guys agreed, so one late afternoon, the superintendent and my colleague from CRS and I and at least two of the AIM guys piled into one of these helicopters with a BIA pilot and took off. It didn't seem to me we took off very rapidly, but we got up and circled around the mesa top. The trees were so widely spaced that had there been anybody or any cars or pickups, or any group of people, they would have been clearly visible. But no one was there. Mission accomplished, I thought. But just as we finished circling the mesa top, the engine conked out on this helicopter. That's a whole other story, let's just say that happily, the BIA pilot was fabulous, and he saved our lives. The copter's rotors were clipped off by some trees during our descent, but we all got out without even a serious bruise. Anyway, that flight eased the fears about the surveillance, although there were a few theories about what happened to the helicopter. In the end, AIM did have a unit in the parade, and the powwow was held and was uneventful. But we were there as they requested, just in case a problem had arisen, we might have been helpful.



Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you ever run into some people who thought that violence was the way to go that they would get what they needed that way?

Answer:
I'm sure there were some who thought that way, but the only ones I recall who picked up their rifle and said "this is the way to go" were one a few young militants. In my experience two or three young Native American militants in certain situations, who were not the guys who were representing the community, but were along for the action, might have felt that way. But, happily, they were not running the show. Most militant folks who wanted to run a march or do a heavy demonstration were, even if they didn't say so at the outset, were soon quite willing to say, "Hey we want a peaceful demonstration." CRS' pitch to everybody was "okay, we could try to help make it peaceful, have it happen, make it peaceful." And we were involved in some big scenes like that. The L.A. moratorium marches, back in the early stages of the Vietnam War, were primarily Chicano, but many other people were also involved in those marches. Now there was some violence, some deaths even, but they could've been a whole lot worse if the liaison and the sensible working out between various police departments and the marchers hadn't happened.




Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
So what do you do, or what did you do when you've gotten this cultural group that wants to take care of things physically?

Answer:
There was not violence breaking out all over, but there were some kind of threatening words at times. One of the key actors was a well trained Samoan professional social worker. She, like all the others, had very strong views. There were these big men who were "talking chiefs" (which is not quite the top chief in the ranking, but pretty important) and she had whatever it takes to tell that talking chief whatever she wanted to say to him and vice versa. It was lively. We had a table arrangement instead of across the table, so that there was a physical distance between the parties. We were here and the other table was there. It worked. We kept on the subject. I heard later that it was not atypical that if there was some difficulty between the kids at school or there was an animosity between a couple of families, a mother walking her child home might be physically assaulted by another mother. I never heard that weapons were involved, thank god.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

There were rumors that anybody going to the meeting would have their home fire- bombed. So we had a lot of police protection. A funny thing is, once you had the meeting going, the Klan showed up the first time, and just glared. In other parts of the area, they had gathered and fired off a cannon, burnt their crosses and all that. But at this second meeting, one to the leaders of the local Klan brought his people in, and he is now the Grand Dragon of Texas. He came and sat down and argued that it was the wetbacks who were responsible for all the violence going on there. He was there to defend the good name of the Klan. He said, "In fact, we haven't hung anybody in years." In another city I worked with the shrimpers back in 1981 or 1982. We always had to do things at the start of the shrimp season because things would heat up then. This one particular year, the Klan had been very active along the coast. We brought the communities together, helped create another committee of locals to deal with their problem, and had meetings with the Grand Dragon. This guy was also the head of a white fisherman's group. We had already talked individually, so when we met together, I talked to them about the benefits of coming up with an agreement about how they're going to share the bay. We had the meeting, but there were some glitches that we had not foreseen. The Dragon walked out. We were meeting at the City Hall and after one of his supporters walked out, I walked out. I was at the front table with the guy who was running the meeting, but he was doing a bad job of it. He seemed like he'd had too much to drink the night before. I didn't expect he was going to be partying all night, so I went to the Dragon and I said, "Hey what's going on?" He said, "We're going to go to the Governor. Forget all this." I always try to deal things at the most local level because the local people are the ones that are going to be out there, not the governor. I said, "I thought we worked it out." "Yeah, but this SOB..." This was about a year after the killing in the other town of the white guy by the Vietnamese. I said, "You're all going to be out there, the Vietnamese are going to be out there. If the shooting starts, it's going to go all kind of ways. We don't want what happened in that little town to happen here." He said, "Yeah, you're right. I'm not going to go to jail for so and so." I said, "That's what I'm talking about. Nobody has to go to jail, nobody has to get killed. We just need to go back to the table over there and I'll run the meeting." He says, "Okay, if you run the meeting, we'll go back." Diplomatically, I talked to the guy who was running the meeting and told him the plan. He said, "Yeah. Let's do it." So we got an agreement. I think it's the first time ever that the Klan signed an agreement with the Vietnamese fishermen on how all fishermen were going to share Galveston Bay.



Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Have there ever been situations where you've been asked to go in, and you say "no," it's too dangerous?

Answer:
I know in Guantanamo, Cuba, at the camps, when the military guards were sweeping the camps for contraband, homemade knives and things that they had made. The military would go in to "sweep" the tents. One time there was a request for us to go with them when they did that, but we refused. Because the Cuban refugees would be seeing us as the military, or an arm of the military. So we had to keep our neutrality. So we negotiated with them, you all go in, and maybe after you go in and if you get out, if there's something still brewing, then we'll go in. But it'll be us representing ourselves. That's the only way it could work. When you go into those camps, there's no military around when we're inside. So we have to establish a relationship with whoever's leading or whoever's in the camp. But the military then saw the benefits of doing it the way we wanted to do it. Because we said if we go with you, then we can't even help you anymore. But they saw the benefits of us being there, and we made sure that they understood our role. Also the persons inside the camps knew our role. You do this through discussion and dialogue. We refused what they wanted us to do. They saw that it was to everyone's benefit that we don't do what they were asking us to do.




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
You thought the potential for violence was also greater?

Answer:
Oh, yeah.

Question:
Is there a general rule that you had during your practice, for example, is it true, to say that if a situation seemed like violence was imminent, or the hostility was greater, that in those situations you would bring people to the table more quickly?

Answer:
I don't know whether it's a general rule, it's just how I feel the situation is, how I understand it at that time.

Question:
What factors do you consider to be especially important?

Answer:
Well, I guess if we break it out point by point, there is the hostility which includes anger, what are they saying, what are they doing, all of that relates to how angry the community is. Also, in working with the police, what are they saying, and how are they acting, because they become fearful themselves, to some degree. They become more on the alert, and then they might do something that might create another situation. So I guess what comes to mind is how the community is acting, and how are the police are acting. Also what is being said in the press, are they picking up something that's adding to it, or trying to bring the focus down on it. In Salt Lake I thought that more was being said, and there was more activity, and there was a more hostile atmosphere. The whole east side was really angry.

Question:
What did you do to try to diffuse the hostile atmosphere when you got the two groups together? To keep them from screaming at each other or throwing things at each other or whatever.

Answer:
Initially, of course, when we first brought them together, they were hostile. We took a break after they aired off. I suggested we take a break, and then we'd come back together that afternoon. While we took a break, I talked to the group, and I said "in order to find a solution to some of these problem areas, we're going to have to go back to the table with the department and have more of a dialogue in specific areas of your concern. I realize that you're angry about this, but there has to be more specific information, so that the police department can more accurately respond to some of your concerns." So they did. They agreed they would come back. In the meantime, what they had done already, is identified some people at the university who could come in and help. The university people came in and they had cooler heads and a better understanding of what has to happen, and I think that helped lead them to sit across the table with the department and try to work out some kind of solution. And it wasn't that there were a lot of items that they wanted to discuss. It was just that the police department had to somehow respond to the Hispanic community, or patrol the Hispanic community in a more fair manner, rather than in a picky way. The Hispanics felt that the police began to pick at their side of town. For example they would stop a car because it was suspicious, or stop a car because a light wasn't working, or stop a car for whatever. That was part of what I felt was picking on that area, which then led to more hostility. So that's why I thought it was so important. But anyway, to get back to your question, once they came back, they were more ready to work with the department and the department was more ready to talk to them. I also met with the department earlier and said "this is what I'm going to do while we take a break," and they said "that's fine." The department was really ready. They were ready to say they goofed up, they wanted to know what can they do to remedy the situation. They wanted us to help them find a solution to that.




Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
What was your goal in working with the Invaders?

Answer:
The Invaders were opposed to non-violent techniques, absolutely. Absolutely, they advocated violence, and they provoked violence. When that last march that Martin led broke up in disarray, it was because the Invaders started breaking out plate glass windows. It was not the marchers that started to break those plate glass windows. It was the Invaders, and their followers that did, which provoked the police to attack the marchers. The police fell right into the trap. The seven or eight thousand marchers were doing nothing. The deputy chief of police, was commanding the street. He came up to me and as I said, I knew him. I went down to the police station everyday, so I knew him. I always marched in that gray area between the marchers and where the press was backing up, you know, taking pictures. I was always in that area, in front of the marchers, but between them and the cameras. And so the deputy police chief came up to me and said, "Mr. Sutton, we got to do something about this march, I may have to stop it." I said, "Chief, you can't stop this march, it stretches out for miles back there. If you stop the people in front, the others are going to keep coming, they don't even know the march is stopped in that sense. Then you've got chaos." And then he said, "Where is Dr. King?" I said, "Dr. King is over in that line, about three or four lines back. He usually started up front, but folk got in front of him in these marches. You'll find him." He said, "No, I'm not going in there. Would you go in there and tell Dr. King to come out?" So I went in there like a fool and got Dr. King to come out. And while I'm in there, all hell breaks loose, police start shooting their tear gas, swinging them billy sticks, and using their water hoses, and so all hell breaks loose. One of the things I give CRS credit for is that they got Dr. King out of there fast. I do mean fast. A car rolled up and they shoved Dr. King in the car and the car got out of there.

Question:
So the sheriff, it sounds like, viewed you as an ally in some way.

Answer:
Not really.

Question:
Oh, okay. Say some more about that.

Answer:
It wasn't the sheriff, it was the city police. But they knew me and I was the one person they could talk to, because I was the one person they knew. I was always down at the city hall talking to the chief about how y'all conduct things and trying to tell them what to do, none of which they did. There was some interaction between us in that sense. But when all hell broke loose, and they started driving the blacks back toward the church, this police officer runs up to me with that long riot stick and he punches me in the stomach with that stick and he told me to "get." And I'm crying out like a crazy somebody. I wouldn't run, and I couldn't fight. I couldn't fight because I didn't have anything to fight with. He's got a stick and a gun, right? I have nothing. So he starts wailing on me with that stick and tells me to "get." Now, if I'd have had some sense, I guess I would have run. That's what he wanted me to do. But I wouldn't do that. And I was wheeling, and then he got mad because he couldn't hit my head, because as big as my head is, I can get it way down in my shoulders, at least in those days I could. He beat up my shoulders and arms pretty good, but he never hit my head a single time. I tell everybody, if you think that Muhammad Ali could do the ropedy-dope you should have seen me. You should have seen my weaving and bobbing and I think golly, I would have made Muhammad Ali look like a neophyte. But he never hit my head a single time. The only thing that saved me was a young white man. Stanfield was his name. I knew him from the days I was director of the Arkansas Council on Human Relations. When I was director of the Arkansas Council on Human Relations, he was director of the Virginia Council on Human Relations. And I had gone on to work for CRS and he'd come down here to work with the Southern Regional Council. He was a field rep for the Southern Regional Council. Back in those days, it was a small world -- we all, just about, knew each other. So, Stanfield stepped down off the sidewalk, now they weren't bothering Stanfield, and he grabbed me by my arm and stashed me up there where he was.

Question:
That must have been terrifying.

Answer:
It was and it hurt a whole lot. I'm with the Justice Department, and they know that, but you see when the confrontation started, the police all pulled their badges off so their names couldn't be identified. When that ruckus was over I went tearing down to the police department. I went to see the deputy police chief to tell him what happened to me. He said, "Do you know who hit you?" "Of course I don't know who hit me." He said, "Well, if I knew who hit you I could deal with it but there's nothing I can do." I said, "Chief, you knew the men didn't have on badges or their nameplate, so how could I tell you who hit me?" He said, "Well, all I can say is I'm sorry." And that's what went on.




Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
Number one is that with street mediation, you're fighting and giving forth to prevent violence, reduce tension to the point where you can do the other. Hopefully, either you can come up with terms that are acceptable to both sides that will ultimately resolve the problem, or you can get them to become sane enough to stop the violence. So that's what you're trying to do. Ultimately, you want to get them to the point where they can sit down.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Were you ever put in a position where it was you and the gun?

Answer:
Yes.

Question:
Can you tell us?

Answer:
Well I was up on the Pine Ridge reservation and an Indian fellow, who was with the Bureau of Indian Affairs Police, pulled his gun and stuck it up my nose.

Question:
And said...

Answer:
And said, "Get off the reservation. Didn't I tell you to get off of the reservation before?" He didn't know who I was, you know, and I guess he didn't give a darn. But that's what he did.

Question:
What did you do?

Answer:
Backed off of him, walked away, and then got lost in the crowd. Then I told the superintendent, "You've got men sticking guns in people's faces." And he did go over and address the issue. And that was it.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Were there any times when just the potential for violence became so much that it prevented you from doing the job that you needed to do?

Answer:
Oh yeah. Once I was in a courthouse, where AIM people came up to protest the sentencing of a couple of their members. When they came into the courthouse and took their seats the judge was hearing the case. The two defendants were really acting up, and the judge told them to behave or he was going to lock them up. He didn't lock them up though; he let them sit there. The judge ordered the sheriff's deputies to instruct these guys, but these guys jumped up from their benches and started punching out the sheriff's deputies. About two dozen other deputies were in the back room and they came out and just started beating the heck out of all of the Indian deputies. We were standing there as court monitors, and we were lucky nobody hit us, because they beat the heck out of everybody in the room. We tried first to convince the judge to just lock these guys up and call it off. But the judge was in an evil mood and he didn't want to hear it. He wanted to take the position, "We're going to whip these savages' butts today." And he was determined to do just that, no matter who they were and where they were from. It didn't make any difference to him. He wanted these guys' behinds beaten. And that's what he did. These deputies came into the room with gas masks and clubs and they sent the blood flying everywhere. Slap. Splatter blood on the wall here. Slap. Splatter blood on the wall there. I guess the only thing you had to do was make sure you didn't get any on you. You couldn't do anything about it. That's hard core mediation. Neither myself nor my colleague was going to stop that. All we did was record it and report it and that was it.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
Okay. This was a situation where two different people in an Indian tribe claimed to be the chief. But they both claimed to be elected. Being chief of the tribe means having control of a lot of money. So there was interest in being the chief. The person who was in the compound said that he was the chief, and the people around him agreed. Another man in the community said he was the chief, so he took his friend and guns and took over the compound. I called in from Lubbock, Texas. It was routine on a Friday afternoon to say, "I'm coming in, is there anything going on?" "As a matter of fact there is. This chief in Oklahoma said that he won't do anything until you get there. Will you go talk to him?" "Okay." I had to drive to where this is. It was noon on Saturday by the time I got there. When I got there, people were parked all along the highway. I parked and walked up to where the gate of the compound, and all law enforcement at both the state and federal levels were there. Bureau of prisons, state police, local police, sheriff's department, highway patrol, everybody. So here I come, walking up, going in to talk to these people. Law enforcement thinks, "Yeah right." About that time, one of the Native Americans comes out, gets me, and takes me in with him. I was pretty new in this; I'd probably been with the agency for a year and a half or so. The building was like an elementary school, it had the same kind of layout. I walked in the front door with this fellow, and this was one of those potentially violent situations. I had called ahead to the compound and talked to the chief. He had agreed not to do anything until I got there. Also the police and law enforcement had agreed to stay outside until I got there. The very fact that we were coming gave law enforcement an out for not going in. It gave the people inside an out for not escalating this thing. The fact that this person is coming who doesn't have an interest and who doesn't have a gun gave everybody an out to back off. Otherwise their tendencies move toward violence. I get there, the guy walks me in, there's nobody else around except him, walking me in.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
My impression, this is just from the media, is that the KKK wants to create violent situations at their rallies. Is that incorrect?

Answer:
The ones that I was at were very small, very few people, so we could keep the community from reacting to them. Usually it was a non-issue, a non-event. They got publicity by creating disruption. But if you could keep things safe and let them demonstrate, then it became a non-issue. It was sad to me to see the inauguration of their own children because that's who usually was there. Four of five adults and their kids. Perpetuation of hate and those kids don't know any better.

Question:
Were they interested in having your assistance with preventing violence?

Answer:
Yeah, they were always cooperative with us in terms of creating safety. Safety in terms of working with the city to make sure they get their permits. Sometimes the city would say, "We're not going to give them a permit." "Well, you know, it might be better if you do, go ahead and manage it, do it the right way. Don't have them off at the edge of town and you not having any influence over it." So it was that kind of a negotiated deal.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Were you ever able to do anything that successfully diffused the tension there?

Answer:
The biracial parent council we formed in South Boston did do that. That was one of the most remarkable groups of people that I have ever met. I remember the day we formed that group. The basic strategy of South Boston was, "Don't do anything that the court orders you to do." A lot of parents weren't even sending their kids to school because they were ordered to go. When the court ordered the formation of biracial parent councils, it was up to me to try to make this happen. We had a meeting, and the auditorium was packed with parents who wanted to make sure that no one would cooperate with this. So here I was, with my little briefcase, in front of an audience of a thousand, talking about the value of forming biracial parent councils. We did not have an election that night. Somehow I guess I had done enough talking and the right talking that it eventually worked. We asked people to please let me know if they would be willing to participate in something like that. And we got about half a dozen or so parents who contacted me afterwards. One of the them told me afterwards that he came because he knew that "the Justice Department" would be there, so he figured there wouldn't be any problems. When he realized that "the Justice Department" was this one lady walking in with a little briefcase, he was really upset. "What do they mean the Justice Department was going to be here what the hell is she gonna do?" he asked himself.

Question:
Are you being accurate with these numbers that there were a thousand parents there and out of them only 6 volunteered?

Answer:
Yeah, yeah.






Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

In this situation, it was like keeping the "community types" and the "refugee types" apart, so that there wouldn't be any violence. But the Asians really weren't looking for violence. Not the community in general, at least. Probably one or two kids were, but definitely not all. At any rate, there was a lot of anger. The community folks knew that they had to do most of the work to solve their problems though, not CRS. They provided us simply with the road to where they wanted us to go.



Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
While the police and I would banter back and forth, there was usually at least one guy that was just standing there watching -- not saying anything, not doing anything. I'd go over to him and say, "Hey, what's happening? My name is so-and-so and I'm with the Department of Justice, and I'm here to watch that these guys don't overreact on you." He might say, "How are you going to do that?" So then the conversation begins and they say, "Hey, come over here. This guy says..." And then you start talking. So when we talk to the sergeant, we tell him, "We're going to try to get these folks from not engaging with you and we're going to go over there and talk with them. It may sound like we're laughing and having a good time, but what we're really trying to do is get them to agree that maybe it isn't the best thing to get up in your guys' faces and start screaming at them." As an example, that would be one way. Eventually, the police would usually get impatient with all this bantering back and forth, and the officer would want to make some progress. He'd come up and say something like, "Alright men, you're going to have to clear out. We're going to have to move you out. There's no more of this hanging around. We'll give you ten minutes to start moving." So then it would be my turn to use the rapport that I'd developed with the guys to move them out of the area. "Let's get the out of here; we'll go to the next block down and keep talking." We'd start moving and the police would start advancing their line, but very slowly. They're not going to instigate anything. They'd start moving very slowly until they'd advanced a satisfying distance for them, and then they'd stop. You just had to pay attention to how far they were advancing.

Question:
They were trying to clean out the area? Is that what they were trying to do?

Answer:
Yeah, little by little.

Question:
What were they trying to get people away from?

Answer:
The center of the city, mostly. In fact, 2nd and Broadway, 1st and Broadway. The problem for the police is that the farther they push, the more the crowd wants to get back to where it was.

Question:
Did they get it cleared out in the daytime and then it all comes back together at night?

Answer:
No. At night, people disperse, for the most part. There's no need for them. They did not continue this at night because people would probably get hurt. They'd already had how many people killed? So they didn't see the need for it. Besides, these are ad hoc groups. They may have one or two that come in as leaders, but people would just gather and they would become a group and so they're easy to handle because you can sort of say, "Let's move." They don't have really have a plan or an agenda, so they're easy to control. You just keep saying, "Guys, don't move that close." And the police will let you know. They're here and when you get too close, they'll let you know and so you have to start all over again. That's the way it was.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Was there shooting for most of the time, or just at the beginning?

Answer:
No, there was shooting at the beginning and throughout the whole event. There were times that there was no shooting because we would set up truces and we would enforce the cease fires. Other times things changed from day to day. I remember being outside with one of my colleagues at the trading post in the evening, in fact we were talking with a CBS news crew. The trading post was here, and there were some trees next to it. The Indians had their bunkers here, and Marshals and F.B.I. were at the top of the hill. If we were low and kind of in the bottom of the bowl the bullets would come over us. We noticed the tree branches being knocked off, so we looked and we saw tracers coming in, I think every fourth bullet is a tracer bullet. I think it has phosphorus in the back so that shooting with a machine gun you could see where you were hitting, even in the dark. So I told my colleague it would probably be a good idea if we go in the building. We went inside and by then all the lights had been turned off and just a candle was lit. Maybe fifty or sixty Native Americans and their supporters were inside the trading post, lying on the floor. I had gone to the trading post before when it was a real trading post. All kinds of stuff you could buy there-- Indian artifacts and weapons, but by then there was no weapons, just an empty floor. They started beating on the drum, and we were standing there inside with our back to the wall, and somebody came and told us it was a log building, and that sometimes bullets would come in between the logs. I had just bought a new overcoat, a real nice beige colored, and I didn't want to get it all dirty, but I thought I could later send this coat to the cleaners. If a bullet comes through it it's going to be different. So we got on the floor and for the longest time we just heard a drum beat and in between the drum beat you could hear bullets flying outside. I don't know, maybe thirty, forty minutes, and finally it stopped, we walked outside and continued with the business.




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

One of the other issues was that there were funerals going on in the meantime. The police were saying, "How are we going to handle this situation?" They were afraid that the community might get all upset during or after the funeral and trouble would start again. So I met with the police chief and assured him that the group was going to be cooperative, but they needed a permit. And I asked if he'd have police officers located at some distant points, and also asked that a police officer come in in advance to talk to the group to say "I'm the one you contact in case there's any problems." I wanted them to know someone in the police department directly. I forget who the chief selected, but he was a redheaded guy, and really nice individual. Had good character for the funeral purposes. So in case something happened during the funeral, they would get a hold of him. The chief also identified the officers that could work with the community to go to the funeral. The community met with the officer-- it was five people still--so they would know what the officers were going to do. The church was almost downtown, in fact it was close to the police department. So that's the kind of thing we did. He helped establish communication, to gradually build trust. After awhile, I almost felt like I was part of El Comite, a member myself. Which I was not, but they almost begin to treat you that way.



Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Before you were telling us about your role as in this particular conflict, initially starting off as preventing violence. What did you do specifically to prevent the violence, and when were you able to assume it was okay to change your role?

Answer:
For example, specifically when I met the city judge, I'm preventing violence.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
You talked a little about the violence or tension assessment in different communities. When you found that there were tensions, or there were tendencies towards violence, would someone from CRS be sent to reduce that in a pro-active way?

Answer:
You mean when we did annual assessments of racial tensions in certain communities. I think this was probably a political ploy originally, where a frightened Republican administrator probably turned to the director of CRS and said, "Where’s racial violence going to break out?" We'd then come back with a report that said what’s needed here are more jobs, or more money from the Labor Department to take care of this problem. We would do an assessment, I’d call my staff together and we’d look at the region and the areas we should cover. The staff knew the region and would conduct the assessments. That doesn’t mean that because tensions were high over a public housing issue in Chicago that we were working on that case. Sometimes the staff would build it up to alert Washington how bad things were in the Chicago low income community that relies on public housing. We could never really predict what was going to happen. We could just say tensions are high, people are worried about a potential for violence.







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by Conflict Management Initiatives and the Conflict Information Consortium at the University of Colorado