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The Boss

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

Not only is interstate commerce subject to police interference, but citizens on interstate journeys are liable to be stopped, searched, and held for questioning on suspicion. The Skyway and the Holland Tunnel form convenient bottle-necks at which the police may halt and search any persons whose appearance or behavior they dislike. They allege that they have often thus apprehended fugitives from justice on their way to or from New York. Operating on mere suspicion they naturally bring in the innocent as well as the guilty. In 1932, for example, two Oklahoma youths, Rosewell D. Pine, Jr., and Duff Smith, were driving their auto- mobile through Jersey City on their way to college in Boston. They were stopped by two Jersey City policemen, Adam Okzewski and Oscar Trigger, searched, and taken to a police station, where they were held without charges. Upon their release they brought suit for one hundred dollars damages each against the two policemen, and won. Supreme Court Justice Joseph G. Perksie said that the police had absolutely no right to halt and hold persons for questioning. Despite the verdict, Daniel Casey, then chief of police, announced that there would be no change in departmental regulations.

The police of Jersey City will not permit outsiders to come in to inquire of the citizens how they like Mayor Hague and the tax situation. The National Municipal Review, interested in ascertaining the citizens' attitudes toward the highest tax rate `for any city of its size in the nation,' sent Claude Pray and George Dobry to interview citizens, asking two questions: `What do you think of Mayor Hague?' and `What Llo you, as a taxpayer, get back in return for the huge taxes you pay?' They were soon arrested, taken to a police station, and charged with `soliciting without a permit.' They got to Chief of Police Harry W. Walsh himself in attempting to obtain a permit to ask questions. `The permits,' he told them 'will he sent to you, but only after we have made a thorough check on this National Municipal League you claim to represent. If we find you are what you say you are, you will get the permits. You will have to quit canvassing in Jersey City, though, until we give them to you.' (National Municipal Review (1939), vol. 28, pp. 585-587.) They never received the permits.


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