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by Peter Moskos

June 26, 2011

NYPD Officer Samuel Battle

The Times has a story about Samuel Battle, one of New York's first black police officers.

But what is really interesting is his oral history. In his own words. "They had riots. Many riots." Worth a read:
I went on down, and we got there, with my squad. The whites and Negroes were battling. I saw the white cops beating up the colored people, and I thought, "Here's my chance to get even with them." I saw them whipping black heads, and I was whipping white heads. I'll never forget that.

We quelled it, we didn't make many arrests, because in those days you didn't have to. Today you'd be forced to arrest a lot of people to prevent them from taking civil action.

What was the cause? Just interracial conflicts. They'd sometimes start a fight over a crap game, or anything. Just some little thing like that. One will start a fight and then they'll all get together, and you have a riot as a result

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