Interesting anecdotes.


Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I can think of one example that just came to mind, and it just so happened that I had a trainee with me that time. There was a conflict with an institution, but there was also a conflict among members of the same minority community. We had sort of reached agreement about trying mediation between the institution and the minority community. But there was one segment of the minority community that had some connection with the institution, and the other was the more grassroots component. I had arranged for a meeting between the two minority groups. We rented a meeting room in a hotel and arranged for coffee, even cookies! It was a big expense here for CRS to arrange for this meeting. But the institutional group was a little apprehensive that they were going to be over-powered, if you will. They thought that they would be "bullied" by the grass roots community. We get to the meeting and there were six to ten people from the institutional group, and the grassroots segment started off with approximately that many. But then a nationally-known leader from that community arrived with his entourage. After some discussion of some of the issues, it became apparent that there was actually a lot of agreement between those two factions they just hadn't talked with each other. But the national leader then said, "Well, Silke, we really appreciate that CRS brought this meeting together, and it's kind of you, too, because we couldn't do it ourselves. So we thank you for doing that. But now that we're here, we really don't need you anymore. So you can leave now." I said, "You know, national leader, I'm glad to hear you say that, and I was certainly more than delighted to arrange for this meeting. But, I had made certain commitments regarding things that I would do today, and what we would cover, and I feel a responsibility to adhere to those commitments. Now once I have finished that, and done what I promised I would do, I will leave. Then if you would like to use our room and use these facilities, you're more than welcome to stay as long as you would like." There was no outrage; that worked. At one point I had to be a bit forceful to keep control, and I actually interrupted his daughter. That didn't go too well. I didn't realize that was his daughter. So he called me on that, but we got passed that, and in fact reached some agreement, some consensus between those two groups. We eventually got to the mediation table. What was interesting is that years later I did a mediation training and made the point of the importance of maintaining control, and I used this case as an example. I thought that I had disguised it very well, but it happened that one of the trainees was a member of that same institution-related minority community. She came up afterwards and said, "Silke, you were absolutely on target. If you hadn't stayed, you would have lost all credibility with our group and probably some of the others too, and nothing would have happened." So you have to maintain a balance. That was challenging in this case, because this was such a renowned figure. There was a temptation to concede to the wisdom and the importance of this particular person. "Who am I to not give in to so renowned an individual?" But the reality is that this person was just a member of one of the parties, and he should not be able to control the meeting any more than an institutional head should. I was facilitating that particular meeting; it was my meeting. I might have had just a little bit of fear; I know that the adrenaline pumped a little bit more, in that situation. But knowing what your objective is in a meeting, and living up to whatever commitment you make is crucial. In some cases that means standing up to renowned leadership. You have to do that to maintain your credibility. It's also important because sometimes that's just testing. I don't think it was in that particular case, I think he really wanted me to leave and I did eventually, but not just then. But sometimes when you're confronted, it might just be a test. So you need to be aware of that. You need to be sure of what your objective is, and what you can do and what you can't do.



Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

What I'm saying is, "Every time you have to return to a repeated conflict, you're allowing the problem to escalate. Somebody's going to get hurt or somebody's going to get killed and sometimes police are going to walk in the middle of it, and they're going to be the target."





Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

we meant to ask you about a moratorium march.

Answer:
Oh. The Chicano Moratorium March. That was an interesting one because that was my baptism one. But it involved Gonzalo Carno, a good mediator, me, and another lady. She was from Oregon, she had gone to MIT, she had all these degrees. She was really good, despite all the training she had had. She could move right in. She wasn't a minority-type, either. She could move right in with either the Latino or the African American groups. This time, though, it was strictly Latino. She was really good. We started from the very beginning when the people decided they were going to fight against the Vietnam War. They were developing this march from the park, Rubin Salazar Park, and it was going to end at East L.A. College. So what we had to begin to do was start planning what was going to occur. That included the sheriff. The park is on Indiana Street and on the west side is LAPD territory and on the east side is L.A. County Sheriff's. East L.A. college is in the sheriff's territory and the route was going to take place on Purdue Boulevard, all the way to Atlantic Boulevard, North on Atlantic Avenue to Brooklyn Avenue, which is now Cesar Chavez Boulevard, and then west to East L.A. College. So the route had to be developed. My boss, Ed, and Gonzalo were involved in that and Gonzalo and I were later involved with the city. We were also involved with the college board to get the use of the stadium so everybody could file in there and then have speeches and all that. Well in the end, we weren't allowed that, so we had to meet at East L.A. Park, which has a large field. But the problem was that it was right next to the sheriff's department substation. So that's how the thing was. We weren't successful in getting East L.A. College. So then we had to meet with the sheriff and the sheriff gave us a battle about the crowd and about the people and "How in the hell can the Department of Justice get involved in something like this," "All you're doing is giving these people permission..." Also they were upset with the Latinos because the Latinos were against the Vietnam war and they were against the sheriff, and all his shenanigans against the Latino community. Rubin Salazar had written a really devastating report against law enforcement. The chief of police of L.A. had gone to the L.A. Times and stated to the publisher that, "This reporter, Rubin Salazar is out there agitating the Mexicans and they're not ready for this kind of activity." It was like the former chief of Police of L.A. saying, "The Mexicans are just that far from running around from tree to tree with their tails." He was no longer the chief then. But the law enforcement types went up to him and said the Mexicans weren't ready to receive this kind of information that Rubin Salazar was expounding on. So then Salazar responded by writing this huge report about law enforcement and actually chastising the L.A. Times for even being willing to listen to the cops about the Mexicans' readiness to get this kind of information. So the stage was set in the sense that the Latinos were saying, "We're going to have this march, no matter what you say." And the cops were saying, "You'd better behave because we're going to be out there in large numbers." So L.A. County and probably the CIA were involved. There was a lot of paranoia about the CIA being involved and taking names down and taking pictures, and I'm sure they were involved. Also the state law enforcement types and the sheriff's department were involved too. In order to get good information, they got all their Latino officers to infiltrate the park area. I thought, "This is going to be funny." So the situation started and everybody was really concerned because they knew that if they could just get out of the park, everything would be okay. And as they went down the street, they knew that if no one misbehaved himself, including the law enforcement people, it was going to be okay. So every time you heard a siren, you froze, because at the time they didn't have the wails, they had the sirens. It just so happens that at the same time, a Latino kid tried to walk out with something without paying and the shopkeeper called the cops. So that, to them, was the start of the problem. But they came and everybody behaved themselves and nothing happened. So they went to the park, but the tension was already really high. One of your famous people there in Denver, Corky Gonzales, came here. He was doing his thing on top of the truck bed. He was really going well. Then someone lit a firecracker, and so the problem started. The police moved in and they started moving people and the Latinos refused to move. The police also said before that, "You've got five minutes to clear," to make it official and legal. But they wouldn't move and then the police started moving in. Well, at that point, when it's declared illegal, you don't stop and talk to an officer as he's trying to move you out, saying, "This is against my constitutional rights," and this kind of thing, and so they started moving in. So the problems started and the violence began and people were scampering all over the place and clubs were swinging. The funny part was, here were all these undercover officers, on their knees waving their badges. And some of them got zonked. So the problem had already begun and they started marching down and the police tried to keep things in some kind of order. Small scrimmages sprung up all over the place and it wasn't until Atlantic Blvd., that a sergeant from the sheriff's department suspected that there was some illegal activity going on in the Silver Dollar Bar. So the damn fool shot a flair into the bar, and it hit Rubin Salazar right in the head. Of course it imbedded itself into his head, obviously he died, and that was it. When people heard that had happened, East L.A. went up in flames. Most of them moved to East L.A. Park where to this day, we believe that there was a provocateur from law enforcement that said, "This is what's happened down on Whittier Blvd, let's go after him. The sheriff's killed Rubin! Let's go after them!" So there's the sheriff's building there and they began to go there. Nothing really happened to the department, it's just that people began getting beat. And so we were trying to break things up and get people to move all over the place. Also at that time, there was this group called the Brown Berets. They were involved and they had their bus somewhere. So I was standing here and the leader came up very concerned that although everybody's getting pushed around and bounced on, that they're going to really catch hell. So he said, "Our bus is down...Can you guys help us get there?" So I said, "Sure." So two other guys and I escorted them a mile and a half to their bus. We got them there, got them in their bus, had them wait there. Then somebody on our staff went and picked up his car, and I got in the front car and we said, "Let's go." We caravanned them out of East L.A. and dropped them off on the freeway where we waved goodbye... So that was our contribution to their safety. I don't remember how many days that lasted, but it really lasted overnight and then the next day, sporadic firing and that kind of thing. A lot of businesses went up in flames. And then came time to start the thing all over again. So we sat down to see if we couldn't make friends and not be angry and love each other. But that was the moratorium. The thing was that law enforcement wasn't that sophisticated about what they were supposed to do during these activities. In fact, although we had experiences in the past, we had only experiences in the civil rights kind of thing where you march with the group and you do it until the end and then if you're attacked, you're part of being attacked. In this case, we were observing and we tried beforehand to work into getting them to accept some things, so that it would move more smoothly, but none of us got hurt. One worker got put in jail, he was arrested. But no one got hurt.




Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you ever bring in outside resources who might act as informal mediators or people who helped groups work better together, such as church people, for example?.

Answer:
There was a big case in Atlanta involving the Atlanta police department, the FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) which included the white officers, and the African-American Patrolmen's Association (AAPA). This was a three-way court referred case. The case was long-standing, it had been a long stalemate and hassle that the Atlanta downtown community wanted to see resolved.

Question:
What was the issue?

Answer:
There were complaints brought by the black officers about the whole hiring process and the lack of adequate representation at various levels. It had been stalemated for a long time, without any progress being made. An earlier court decision had actually frozen hiring, so the city was hurting, it needed cops! Of whatever color. Our regional director down there in Atlanta, had tried several times to get the city to vote for a try at mediation. The mayor apparently did not want to bring it to mediation and let CRS try to help resolve it. Finally it was getting to a zero hour, the court had a date set for resuming the trial, I think about a month away. Finally on the initiative of one of the black members of that city council, a very prominent guy, a motion went through that the city would request CRS assistance in the case. That's what brought us into it. And the Director of the Agency at that time, Gil Pompa, asked me to be the primary mediator. I didn't get but a dozen hours of get-ready time because everybody was so anxious to get rolling. The Atlanta regional director had selected one of his key men to be on the mediation team as associate mediator, and he was well acquainted with the case, which I was not. I flew in one morning and the mediation was to be convened the following morning. So I had a busy day of trying to get somewhat familiar with what this was all about, and to get squared around with my great associate mediator. We needed to have an understanding as to how to handle ourselves together at the head of the table. Fortunately, the regional director had it all set up and arranged, being a very effective operator. And the downtown community, being kind of interested, one of the great big downtown banks had turned over its posh top floor board room for this mediation. It even provided coffee and refreshments throughout the day. When we went into the lobby that morning to go up, security was all over the place. It was understood this was to be highly confidential. They all took it very seriously. You might say there was a bit of an outside assist from an unusual source. The whole thing took five weeks. Within a couple of days, two and a half days, we had an agreement, it seemed. We went over the terms of the agreement, back and forth, not just casually, but point-by-point-by-point. It was a matter of the respective attorneys doing final draftsmanship and our convening either the next morning or two mornings later to sign. I think it was the next morning we got into a session that was to be a signing session, but one faction had serious second thoughts or a claimed difference of understanding about certain provisions, so they said "no dice, no agreement." This was the middle of the first week and had we thought we had an agreement. So we went back to work. We worked our tails off day and night for all the rest of that week and part of the weekend. It went on and on. Finally, I was very surprised and pleased that one of the white sides wanted to caucus with my black associate. It was not the AAPA that asked to have that, but the whites. They had a good session, and it finally worked out. We had to ask the judge for a one week extension on that trial date and I remember he set it for two p.m. on a Monday, and we worked right down to the wire. At one p.m. that day we got the last signature. Later on women officers in the department raised some serious questions. They had not been part of the process and they had not been asked to be part of the process by the black officers, the white officers, or the city. None of these folks, including the women officers themselves, had raised the women's issues while this thing went on. But they did later. I don't know what happened about that--whether the consent decree was finally amended, or not.




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]

But, the next Saturday, Martin was to come back into Memphis, because he wanted to truly demonstrate that he could lead a non-violent march in Memphis. So he came back to lead a non-violent march and that's when he was killed. He came back and he had a series of meetings with the black leadership in Memphis. He even met with the Invaders, trying to persuade them all that the best possible way was the non-violent way. Martin was at first staying at a Holiday Inn down on the river, the Holiday Inn Riverfront. Then he moved to the Lorraine because of the complaints of the Invaders, that he was staying down there in this white hotel, you know the story, they said he didn't have any business staying down there. He ought to move from down there and move to the Lorraine hotel where black folk come. And he did. And when Martin was shot, he was in 306 of the Lorraine Hotel and I was in 308. Well when Martin went to the Lorraine we had to go there. Because I was staying in the Holiday Inn, too. No I wasn't, I was staying in the Peabody. But we moved into the Lorraine. Now I kept my room in the Peabody too, because that was the only way to get some rest. You couldn't get any rest down at the Lorraine, although I would stay in the Lorraine until after the mass meeting, and then I would go on to the Peabody because we couldn't get messages in the Lorraine Hotel. It might be tomorrow when they give you messages-- there was somebody who called yesterday, but there'd be nobody on the switchboard-- you know how those kinds of things go. So, since I was with the Department of Justice, I really did have to be reachable. So I would always call back to the Peabody and see if I had some messages and that's the way my staff in Washington kept up with me. Anyway, Martin had spent that day meeting with everybody, including the Invaders. He really had a rigorous day that day, but he was getting ready to go to dinner with a local minister just a few minutes before 6 o'clock. About that time, I went and got both papers -- they have two papers in Memphis, so I went and got both of those papers, went into my room and turned on the TV. I kicked off my shoes and planned to get some rest between 6:00pm and 7:30pm, when the mass meeting was to start. And of course it's been a tiring day for me as well. So I got in there and just about the time I got my shoes off and turned the TV on and got comfortable. I heard the shot ring out. I was not particularly upset by the shot because there was a lot of shooting and fighting between the Invaders and the Police, so it was nothing unusual. But then I heard people clapping down in the courtyard, which was gravel at the time, so I could hear people running through the courtyard. I said, "let me get up here and see what in the world is going on." So I got up and came out of my room onto the balcony there and I thought what had occurred was down in the courtyard, because that's where the people were running. But they were running to get up here where I was already. Just about that time I peeked over the rail, they started to come up by the rail, up these steps, and then I realized whatever had occurred had occurred up here. And then I looked around and about 3 or 4 paces from me was Martin's body. He was slumped back against the wall. One of the first people to get to him was my co-worker Jim Laue. Jim ran to get a towel to try to stop his bleeding and by that time Jesse was there and I don't know who all was there, but a whole host of people. I didn't go over because there's no purpose I could serve but to block off access for the ambulance. The ambulance came fast and they picked him up and carried him to the hospital and I got in my car and went to the hospital too. I went directly to the night administrator and told them who I was. I identified myself and showed my credentials and told him that I needed to find out how Dr. King was because I had to report to my agency. I knew that other people in the Department of Justice and most especially CRS were looking to hear from me. So he took me down to the emergency room and he didn't carry me in there, but he took me to an outer room and asked a group of doctors if somebody would come out and brief me as to Dr. King's condition. One doctor came out, looked me straight in the eye and said, "He's dead, Mr. Sutton." That was an awful night. I ran and jumped on the phone right quickly, because I knew the lines were going to get tied up. But I was able to get through to Roger Wilkins, our director at that time. I got through to Roger, and Roger quickly got the Attorney General, who was Ramsey Clark at that time. So that's what occurred that night. The Martin Luther King entourage acted just like the disciples did when Christ went to the cross. Andy and Jesse and Jose and Russ David Abenar and I-- the whole gang-- they were just walking around in a daze, not quite knowing what about to do, as if there was anything to do. I went over to the hall in the Mason Temple, which is a big temple owned by the Sanctified Church that would seat 12 or 15 thousand people. I went over there, even though that was not my prerogative to do that. The hall was full. Everyone there knew that King had been shot, and by now they just learned that he was dead. But they were just sitting there. Just sitting-- you could hear a pin fall with all them people just sitting there. I went to the microphone and announced that I knew they knew that Dr. King had been shot and is now dead, but I advised them to go straight home. "There's nothing you can do tonight, and I'm sure that your leadership will be getting together tomorrow to decide whatever's to be done. And that will be announced, so I would suggest that you go straight home. And they did. Who was I to go over there and dismiss them? The King entourage was nowhere around, so they got up and filed out just as quietly and got in their cars and went home. That was an awful night.



Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I was in Memphis sitting on the 5th row in seat number 12 in Mason Temple when he did the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech. The next morning at breakfast some of us were sitting around the table in the Peabody, and my friend asked me, "Ozell, didn't Martin seem very strange to you last night in his speech?" I said, "no, you know Martin knows how to reach his audience." But my friend said, "I know, but his whole language was different." I said, "come to think about it, that's the first time I ever heard him chronicle this whole involvement in the civil rights movement," as if he wanted to make sure it was on record. He developed it all the way from Montgomery to the time he got stabbed in Chicago, you remember, and led all the way through Birmingham and up from Selma. He chronicled all these things, but then he said, "but I'm not worried now." It was a resignation, it was that strange. We concluded after that Martin had a premonition of his death. Well, he just knew at some time or another he was going to be killed. They killed Aganda, they killed Kennedy, and he had to know that they were going to kill him. He knew it, yet he had no choice but to do what he was doing. I talk to young people about that. Martin used to say that the man who has not found something for which he's willing to die is yet to find something worth living for. So he was killed.



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]

I've had amazing experiences. Once, we were up at Pine Ridge with Ralph Abernathe. We were in the guys house by the name of Frank Foolscrow. Frank Foolscrow was one of the spiritual leaders for the Dakota tribe on the reservation. That was Abernathe's first time sitting in a house with a dirt floor. And he had been all through the South, but you know, poverty is a relative thing. He was talking about poverty and we sat down and we ate and we dared not refuse to eat, because they gave us bowls of potatoes and sweet corn. We looked around for the meat, but there wasn't any. They couldn't afford it. We finished that corn and we walked outside. We were the only two blacks around there. Everybody else was either Indians or white people. And so we went outside and got together ourselves in the corner. Abernathe said, "Have you seen such a thing? This is incredible poverty, Brother Reed." And I said, "Well, Doc, I'd like to just talk about the degrees of poverty in the country. You got the rural South and here I am up here in the Dakotas, you know. It's all relative. It's all the same thing." He said, "It is. But I've never eaten beans and corn on a dirt floor. When I get back to Alabama, I'm going to have to talk about this."



Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The two of us got in the car and it was pitch dark on the reservation about this time. They don't have light there in Pine Ridge. And somebody started following us. We were driving to get off of the reservation and I was scared as heck, because I'd become lost. And I don't want Abernathe to know that I'm lost. I tried to come across like I'm an expert on this reservation. But I can't find my way off the darn thing. And yet, we come to find out it was the cops, it was the Bureau of Indian Affairs Police behind us and they didn't know it was my car. They weren't paying attention and I didn't know who they were behind me and plus I'm lost. And I'm trying to find that main road to take us back to Blue Sky, South Dakota. So after about an hour and a half of fumbling around there and I'm talking to Reverend Abernathe and I'm saying, "Now you know, these are tricky roads here." Finally he said, "Do you know where the heck you're going?" I finally hit that dirt road and as I hit that dirt road, a sigh of relief came on me. But then I didn't even know if I was going north or south. So I turned left on a hunch and I was going back to Blue Sky. So about an hour or half hour later, I think about a half hour later, I saw the sign that said Hot Springs and I knew I was going in the right direction because you hit Hot Springs, then you go up to Blue Sky. It's such a desolate area and it still is today. Not much has changed up there. But I still find myself wanting to go back and just ride through town, just ride through the reservation. As a matter of fact, one time I did go through there once, but hell, I was still working then. A lot of days I'd like to go back.



Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So, we met with the tribes, and it was really difficult just to get consensus among the tribes; there was a lot of distrust. We knew that we had the basic common ground of reburial. I think that whenever I conduct mediation I'm always asking myself, "Is there enough in common interest to balance it off the differences on the issues?" Common ground was the sacredness of the remains, and the need for the ancestors to return to Mother Earth. So we kind of leveraged that idea throughout the mediation process. "If you guys don't come to consensus, then what's going to happen to the remains? They're going to stay there. We need to figure out what you've got to do. Something's got to give here." We constantly leveraged the common ground against the different tribal interests.





Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The other thing that I need to convey to you about negotiation in these kinds of cases is there is law behind mediations for historical sites and Native American repatriation. The law says that when remains are found that they need to call the Native American Heritage Commission and they need to call a coroner. The coroner then makes the determination that these remains are Native American and calls the Native American Heritage Commission to determine who the most likely descendants are. Then the most likely descendants have the right and must be consulted with in remedying any process in the treatment of remains. That's what the law says, but it's permissive law. Its not "shall," but "may."



Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Can we pause a moment. This guy runs an office of one of our senators and I periodically brief him on what tensions are out here and what some of the dynamics are so that they can anticipate. They wanted to know what legislation and what learnings they could get out of the police shooting of Tiasha Miller. The patterns that we were seeing were that we were just following the second generation of President Clinton's police hiring and they were hiring faster than they could train. They are also facing a lot of early retirements, so they had people who were in charge of training who only had five years experience in police work. So you have the candle burning at both ends. If you look at some of the recent shootings, officers with only 1 to 3 years of experience have been involved in these shootings. You remember one officer was on probation and other officer who broke her car window, I think was only a first year police officer. So, you have kids that are being thrown into very tense situations with limited sophistication and experience to know how to handle them. I've talked to the senator's office about what intervention things we can lend to the mix to try to avoid these kinds of situations. There are always patterns to all of this and you've just got to diagnose it and try to figure out what you need to do. These options can help. That's why CRS is planning to train police officers in mediation as a possible tool for diffusing violence.





Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

No, you never write when you can call, you never call when you can visit. on-site assessments are essential in this business.

Question:
You can look at them and they can look at you?

Answer:
Absolutely, absolutely. I mean you know coming from New York, the first two cases I ever had, one in Dublin, GA, and one in Cairo, GA. The sheriff said to me, "You sound like one of them Yankees. You don't know what a n****r problem is until you get down there and see some of these n****rs." I said, "Well Sheriff, I just may do that." I flew into Tallahassee, rented a car, drove across the state line, and I went into the sheriff's office, and the female deputy said, "Can I help you?" I said, "Yes, I am here to see sheriff Lane Waldroff." She said, "Go out there and have a seat around the corner where the rest of the black color people are." I said, "Thank you." I saw him come out, walk around and everything, and that's when I said, "Darn, he should've been here by now." I called the airport, that plane landed. So after a while, he came and said, "Can I help you boy?" I said, "I'm Bob Ensley." He said, "Well I'll.....You're a n****r!"




Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you ever have to leave a particular case because the violence or the potential for violence was too great, or you felt you were in danger by remaining with the case?

Answer:
No. Let's see, on the latter point, no. As to whether the general potential for violence was too great, I don't recall. I was out of the country when the Watts riot happened and I wasn't with CRS. I was with the state FEPC, and some of my colleagues tried to do a few things, but obviously, that's no mediation case. Now and then you'd go into a situation that was a little dicey, where you didn't quite know what might happen. One of those was a case I greatly enjoyed, again involving some of our Native American citizens in a heavy situation where an encampment had been established on an important river. A timber company and a private ranch also had land on this river. The Native Americans had established this camp to try to make a big statement about Native American rights with respect to fishing and other things, and had even been peeling off a few shots at commercial boats going up the river. They apparently had even strung a cable across the river to impede the progress of tourist boats. So it was a dicey scene. It was in the papers, of course, and there were reports about it. I was able to make a few phone calls and find out more about it quite easily. One of the things that was happening was that apparently some of the young super militants had gone over to this nearby ranch and were sort of terrorizing the families that lived there roaring their way in their cars into the ranch and also cutting their plastic waterlines. The ranchers were folks whose ancestors had owned a large part of this timber land which was now owned by a timber company. But they had this beautiful ranch sitting on a bluff overlooking the river and they'd been there for two or three generations. So it was those folks-- one could hardly blame them who pulled out their firearms at a certain point in self-defense. It was a little dicey. The sheriff was trying to decide whether or how to deal with it. He was aware of the terrible dangers to everybody of armed confrontations, and he feared that if he had his men move in on this Native American camp, somebody was going to do some shooting. And of course he was worried about this ranch. I met one morning up there at breakfast with the district attorney and the attorney for the timber corporation and the sheriff to get their advice on what we could do. I indicated that we were willing to go in and try to talk to folks, and they were all for it. They gave us all their support. I got my directions on how to get there. It was only few miles on a dirt road off the highway, but there had been some blockage of that road by some of these guys. So it was not certain whether my little rental car would be allowed to proceed.

Question:
Did you call before you left?

Answer:
There was nobody to call. This was a camp out on the banks of this major river under a few trees that this company had left along the riverbank God you should see the clear cutting that had been done-- it was just criminal. Nobody blocked the road and I found my way in and parked near the river and I realized the camp was about 300, 400 yards away. I walked in. Naturally somebody came out to meet me. We talked, and I asked if I could see their head person. The person who met me wasn't sure. There was a tent or two and a fire pit and some other stuff along the river. So we wound up having long, unhurried discussions about everything, about the issues and the grievances and fishing and so on. The hours went by and I was invited to lunch--the lunch was fresh smoked salmon over a pit--smoky and beautiful. It was getting to be about 2 p.m. and I wanted to try to get some work done. But the head person hadn't emerged from the tent. I wasn't getting very far, it seemed. A sister of the head person was around, and there weren't very many people there. None of the young militants was there, no one was being threatening. I tried to get out of them whether they would consider some mediation if the folks at this nearby ranch agreed. I couldn't get any definite answer, so I said that I'd walk over to the ranch and then I'd come back, which I did. I spent a fair amount of time with the ranch people and came back at practically the end of the afternoon, and the camp people said that they were willing to try some kind of conversation with the family at the ranch. But I never could get to talk to the head person. Her sister said that she wasn't feeling well, and we were never able to get anything nailed down to an agreement to convene. Fortunately, no fireworks ever took place between the sheriff's people and these folks, so things were calmed down at least a bit.




Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
We'd like to go backwards now and fill in some gaps cover some material that we didn't cover yesterday. One thing I wanted to explore further is the Navajo case that you discussed briefly yesterday that wasn't a clear cut mediation process. Is that an example of what you do when mediation is not appropriate?

Answer:
This was a few months after the disengagement at Wounded Knee. One of the young men who had been there remembered something about the role of the Community Relations Service and obviously remembered me being there, so he called me again. As you may know, CRS had gone into Wounded Knee. We had gone through the federal lines and consulted with the Native Americans there. We did lots of different things as part of our effort to help bring about an overall resolution of that standoff-- which went on for many weeks. 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.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I remember the owner of a restaurant who said, "This is it, my business is down and it may close." They were afraid that if they did something they might experience retaliation. She said early at three or four in the morning she heard a noise in the kitchen and she got up and it was her five year old daughter hiding on the side of the refrigerator, and she asked her what she was doing, and she said that the Klan was coming and she was afraid. She said, "When my child gets that afraid and can't even be safe in my house I'm not going to be afraid, I'm going to go out there."



Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So I was working all around there. I ended up staying there for about six days and after this festival was over and nobody else got beaten up, I headed out. I was getting ready to go. And all the Native American leadership were sitting in this tee-pee. And I went up to this lady, and I said, "Well it looks like my job's over." And nobody said anything. So I said it again, "I'm going." I tapped her on the shoulder. "I'm leaving." I looked around. Not being that familiar that much with the culture during those years, I continued to say I'm leaving and nobody responded. I thought this must be a cultural thing and I'm missing it. And so I said it again. This woman looked up and me and said, "God dammit! We heard you the first time. Why is it that other groups of people come around us and figure they got to tell us something fifty times before we understand you?" So my eyes got as big as saucers, I thought they were getting ready to attack me. It scared the hell out of me. She said, "We heard you, dammit. Get the hell out of here." There was nothing about thanks or anything. I was expecting a little of that, too. Just "Get the hell out of here. We heard you the first time, dammit." So I got in my car and drove back to Oklahoma City and got a hotel room and stayed until eleven o'clock the next morning and went back to Denver.



Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I was down in Taos, New Mexico and I got this look. All of the Mexicans were hanging around and they're getting ready to have a big party. Burritos everywhere and all the music and the whole bit. And I hoped that I'd get an invitation because I was hungry as heck. I was hoping I'd get an invitation to this event that they were giving, celebrating the sanitation workers' victory over the city council. At that time, I let them yell and scream and do everything and finally they got what they wanted to a degree, but it was something that they were satisfied with. Because what they wanted were medical benefits. That was the main thing they were looking at. All of that other stuff was superficial. And I was proud of myself. I pulled that off in the second day.



Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So when it was official they decided to have a fiesta. And I said, "I'm so hungry. That nasty restaurant where I've been eating around the corner, I don't want to go over there. I'm going to go down here where this fiesta is going to be. And I could see these big tacos and fajitas and all that kind of good stuff. And I thought I was going to get invited in to get some. Heck, they looked at me like I had two damn heads. And they said, "Bye. We'll see you." I thought they were going to say, "Come on. Have some. Join in." But they never did.

So, I learned right then and there on that score it is over when it's over and get the heck out of there and keep going.





Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Can you think of anything else that you've done that was especially interesting or important that we haven't discussed? Another category of issues perhaps?

Answer:
Personally, I really value being able to create models and forms. They gave me the time to do that. The lending thing -- at first blush, it doesn't sound very exciting. But it was really exciting for me to get into that and see the law has changed. But when I got into that, I realized the Community Reinvestment Act allowed the banks to be the monitors. The only way the bank got involved was if there was a complaint from the community. I said, "Okay, how does the community complain?" "Well, the banks have to let them know how to complain." "So the bank is supposed to tell the community how to complain against the bank? I don't think so." And that was interesting. It was interesting to discover that little glitch. The next Community Reinvestment Act legislation became more pro-active. Now the banks have to show results, because before all they had to do was show intent. Now they had to show results, and they didn't have to show results before. Those kinds of things were kinds of things that I really enjoyed getting into and being a part of for people.






Julian Klugman


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

One of my last cases was a case here in a run down hotel. It had 60 residents, among whom were recovering drug addicts. They're living in this really run down housing which happened to be owned and managed by one of the national firms. I got an agreement in two hours, a very specific agreement. Why? Because they were violating laws all over the place. This place was a fire trap. There were two people in that building who had organized the meeting, who were political. I wouldn't deal with that, I'm not into dealing with the political thing. I would not let them take over the meeting. But I got everybody at the meeting to talk. I mean people were drifting in and out, but I had the whole building there. Halfway through the meeting, here's this little black gentleman who probably hadn't bathed in three weeks and he went and he took a bath and put on his best clothes and came down. I really respected that guy. It meant something that he was sober, he had dressed up and I got him to talk. He had some good ideas and that's what it's all about.



Julian Klugman


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

There are two things that are dangerous with cops. One is family disputes because a lot of cops get hurt when the husband and wife start fighting. The other thing is you get these young people who are drunk or on drugs and just out of control. And that's dangerous for cops. That's why they're very wary when they go into those situations. When I realized that, we started talking about that. They didn't want to arrest young drunk men, but what are the alternatives? Well there are alternatives. This is one of the things we came up with in the agreement. We came up with an alcohol control officer. So when a cop is at a tavern and there's a young drunken Indian there, (it would go for Anglos and blacks too), but I mean with Indians they're perceived differently, that's where the prejudice comes in. You don't call the police, you call the alcohol control officer. Who's the alcohol control officer? He's an Indian guy who's about seven feet tall, weighs about four hundred pounds, and he's Indian. And he goes in and he has a talk with the guy at the bar who's ready to hurt people, and says you got a choice. Either we can go to the detox center, or we can go to jail. There wasn't a facility that they could go to at the time, so out of the agreement, we set up a detox center. So this guy would have a talk with him and say, "Friend, we got a choice. Either we can call the cops and they'll throw you into jail or we can go over there and there's a nice bed and so on. No more booze, and you can sleep it off." That's something that came from this guy who came from the state. And money came from the state to set this up.






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