How Justice Is Administered
After arresting thirteen men and
women without warrant and holding ten of them more than two weeks,
denied the right of bail, the Chicago police admitted that they
had no evidence against their prisoners, who were therefore unconditionally
released. This is a case which should receive cool, calm consideration.
If the police had evidence to justify the arrest of these men and
women, why was it not forthcoming? Only a few days ago these prisoners
were held up to public execration as being such desperate criminals
that they could not be trusted out on bail; they were to be extradited
and possibly executed for complicity in the murder of McKinley.
They and their friends have been hounded by the police and maligned
by the public press. And for what? Absolutely no charge was made
against them when their cases came up for trial.
Thousands of dollars of the people’s
money have been spent in the effort to obtain evidence against the
“Free Society” workers and Emma Goldman. The police had possession
of the house of the Isaaks; everything, even to the most private
possessions of the prisoners was ransacked, and yet nothing to their
discredit could be found. And now the question is, what redress
have these people? The “Free Society” workers have lost nearly three
weeks’ time, and their business has been seriously interfered with.
Most of the others, besides losing their time, have lost their situations;
Miss Goldman, in addition to losing her time, enduring insults and
physical abuse at the hands of the Chicago police, is tried, convicted
and condemned in nearly every newspaper in the country, from the
metropolitan daily to the cross-roads weekly. Certainly the law
offers a recourse to these people. They may bring suits for damages
against the city, and for libel against the publishers who have
slandered them. But it must be remembered that when city officials
are prosecuted they defend themselves with their victims’ money—the
money with which they defend themselves and carry the cases from
court to court is that which we pay in taxes, and even if, after
a long and expensive fight, a case is won against these officials,
we, the taxpayers, bear the loss. Well may the city officials, from
judges and prosecuting attorneys down, exclaim, “Heads, I win; tails,
And thus are the anarchists taught
the erroneousness of their views; thus are they taught respect for
the administration of the law; thus are they given a practical illustration
of the defense it provides the weak against the strong!