xt7g7940sf5h_1 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7g7940sf5h/data/mets.xml https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7g7940sf5h/data/57m2.dao.xml Des Cognets, Russell 1.35 Cubic Feet 3 boxes archival material 57m2 English University of Kentucky The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.  Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Russell Des Cognets papers Prohibition -- United States. World War, 1914-1918 -- France. Political letter writing Kentucky -- Lexington. New Deal, 1933-1939. 18th Amendment Repeal pamphlets text 18th Amendment Repeal pamphlets 2016 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7g7940sf5h/data/57m2/Box_1/Folder_6/11247.pdf 1929-1933 1933 1929-1933 section false xt7g7940sf5h_1 xt7g7940sf5h REFORMING AMERICA
i A Study of Prohibition Killings
Prepared by the
Research Department
Second Edition, October, 1930 ’

 , i
Association 0 ' ‘
Against the Prohibition
. I
. PIERRE S. DUPONT, Chairman 3


5.1 1



E A Study of Prohibition Killings

1: Prepared by the




jf- ': WASHINGTON, D. c.


1 .

: Research Department .

1 JOHN c. GEBHART, Director -

fl 1 Second Edition, October. 1930

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1, _ of
Jane Addams, who has qualified as an "l 212C,
eminent specialist in social betterment ' co;
.1 work through long years of splendid » CO‘,
service, expressed the opinion, in an cer
: article in the October (1929) number of Ty
Ii the Survey Graphic, that the actual results :31,
1, of prohibition could not yet be determined ca]
j as final. In the course of a thoughtful :2:
11 discussion of the experiment, she wrote: kfl
,1. an
1 What the prohibition situation needs, 1,:
1 first of all, is disarmament. If this neces’ be
'1, sitates federal control of the sale of fire; me
1 arms, so much the better; but, whatever
-;‘ is necessary for the final results, the federal 1'5
,1 agents should promptly be taught some in,
'4; other methods than those of gunmen. It k1:
1, is their business to bring lawbreakers into ‘ M
,1 court and not to punish them on the spot. er
1 That the police of the Irish Free State, pc
established immediately after the evacuation ha
.1 of the English troops and after Ireland's m
5‘ civil war, could go unarmed in the midst 1 to
i of a population still carrying concealed 1 he
1 weapons, encourages me to believe that 1 th
1 brave and conscientious men’ may be found i
to make arrests without firearms, as the Engv i ll]
lish police have done for so many years. ? kl
E 1 h:
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i n,
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3 1. V:
I 1

é, NITED STATES government records of
E I I prohibition killings list 286 civilians or of,
7; ficcrs who have lost their lives in Volstead
law enforcement. These are only the deaths inci/
1'75; dental to the operations of federal agents. The
total number perhaps will never be known, for
j the nonrfederal killings are listed variously in
the countless localities in which they have oc’
curred, and they have punctuated the activities
_ of many types of officers who make up the great
"ll Volstead army—state enforcement staffs, sheriffs,
deputies, state police, municipal police, highway
' cops, town marshals, village constables, underr ‘
cover snoopers, and even volunteers.
The aggregate number of fatalities was re
cently estimated by United States Senator I
Tydings, of Maryland, at 800. We have reason i
to believe that the figure is considerably higher, 1
and that it would exceed 1,000, if a thorough ‘;
canvass were made of the records throughout _ 7
the country. In December, 1929, the Washing’ ,1
ton Herald published a nationrwide survey of ;
killings based on reports from county coroners ;
and similar officials. The Herald reported that
1,360 persons, both oflicers and civilians, had i
been killed in the course of prohibition enforce l
The information we present in this pamphlet i
is confined to established facts. It is unavoidably 1.
incomplete, not only as to the total number of ‘
killings, but as a detailed picture of the situation.
‘ Most of the data have been taken from the gov; I
ernment's accounts of the tragedies. These re f
ports are generally meagre. In some cases, it
has been proved that they are biased or actually {
untrue. Such defects presumably are due in part ,
l to misrepresentations by raiders themselves who l
l have made the reports and who have been often ,
i the only surviving witnesses. l
7_ In a number of particularly shocking tragedies, i
'1 like the death of Mrs. De King and the double ;
3 killing of the farmers, Harris and Lowery, we
‘ have made our own investigations on the spot.
We submit information of that kind with the 7
knowledge that it is unbiased and authentic. ,
The reports of the Prohibition Bureau we do i
not accept as necessarily correct; but we have
‘ taken them at their face value for purposes of
l analysis, and in order to show that evidence in -
'1 justification of killings is often flimsy or uncon' i
l vincing. _
l m
l i
l l

 Defects in Federal Records :1 s:
Through examination of collateral evidence, E :1
we have arrived at a conclusion that federal rec/ h1
ords, on the whole, cannot be trusted for fair! 1'2.
‘I ness and candor. Our own opinion on that point Z I fl
., is held in other quarters as well. In a magazine IZI le
5 article*, United States Senator Tydings, of Mary9 5, b1
9' land, presented an itemized list of fifty’one killr 0'
f, ings by federal officers as a direct result of at’ 1“ hi
tempts to enforce the prohibition law. According ai
to Senator Tydings, “there is no record of these c;
I . killings in the reports issued by the Prohibition 1 S(
Bureau.” This mortality list was not confined to ir
a comparatively brief period of time, but spread a1
through more than seven years, the first date ri
1.? being in January, 1920, and the last in February,

f1 1927. Why none of these deaths was made li
public before can only be surmised. Senator vs
" Tydings states: '1
Mr. Seymour Lowman [Assistant Secretary of I;
5, the Treasury], of course, hotly denies that the .
951 toll of lives taken by Internal Revenue agents, 1I
,I Customs Collectors, special Indian agents, and e:
,1' Coast Guardsmen can be attributed to Prohibition.

3 He asserts that the Internal Revenue agents, Cus' l”
:2 toms Collectors, and Coast Guardsmen are merely ‘
; engaged in stopping smuggling, and that the rev t]
I sultant fatalities are not caused by infractions of f1
the Volstead Act. i1
; The following killings (he writes) have been 3
f‘1 suppressed in the official reports: P
Prohibition Bureau 18 p
Coast Guard 7 ft
9: RevenueService....................15'

'1 Indian Service..................... 3

1 Customs 6

.I ImmigrationBureau................. 1

I United States Marshal 1


Although he is a member of Congress, Senator

-. Tydings, like many of his colleagues, has had OC’

casion to observe that federal prohibition officials

l are unwilling to give out certain‘parts of the I

1 oflicial records. He states, in reference to five 4

1.1 killings in the published mortality record: ,1
;' Inasmuch as the Prohibition Bureau flatly re7 '

1' fuses to divulge any information concerning its “

j personnel, it: is impossible to find out whether l b
:1 there were two or three officers named Griffin in ‘ P
I its service, or whether these killings were all by V
' one man. I"
1 Protection of Federal Agents a
-'1 A policy of prohibitionratranyrcost has gone , \
I further than the omission or suppression of in’ , t
i formation which might bring discredit on the .1 V‘
l I _
I * Plain Talk, November, 1929. I

14] 3

6 ‘1

F service or increase public resentment against Vole
steadism as a creed. As we shall show, the record
5. of killings by federal agents includes a sheaf of
g; homicides for which the shooters have not been
prosecuted along ordinary lines. Even where _
5.3 there have been state enforcement acts, the states” '
3’“ legal machinery for bringing killers to justice has ;
‘: been stopped by federal intervention. Local ;
3;- ofiicials have been thrust aside, the defendants i
' have been taken from them under writs of haber '
as corpus, and the trials have been held in federal
. courts. Generally, United States attorneys, and i
sometimes special federal attorneys from Wash, 3
ington, have appeared as counsel for accused ?
agients. The agents have been acquitted, as a
ru e.
3 The Chicago Tribune on November 11, 1928,
listed the killings of twenty/three citizens for
which agents had been indicted by local grand j
juries on charges of murder or manslaughter. In
every one of these tragedies, the federal courts i
intervened with the result that the defendant l
escaped punishment. i
Procedure of that sort is perfectly legal, for the i
law authorizes the removal to a federal court of E
the prosecution of an officer of the United States ;
for an act performed in his official capacity. The i
intent of the statute, which was passed in 1833 3
and extended by the Volstead Act to include i
prohibition enforcement officers, has been CX’ I;
plained by the United States Supreme Court as l
follows*: i
Congress not without reason assumed that the
enforcement of the National Prohibition Act was
likely to encounter in some quarters a lack of »
sympathy and even obstruction and sought . . . 1
to defeat the use of local courts to embarrass those :l
who must execute it. The constitutional validity
of the section rests on the right and power of
the United States to secure the efficient execution
of its laws and to prevent interference therewith,
due to possible local prejudice, by state prosecw
tions instituted against federal officers in enforcing
i such laws, by removal of the prosecutions to a ‘l
1 federal court to avoid the effect of such prejudice.
j The Federal List of Killings
.. We are aware that there are Americans who
l believe prohibition killings are desirable, even
‘ praiseworthy, as evidenced by the applause with
which a score of Congressmen greeted an anr ’
nouncement in the House of Representatives that ,
a young man had been shot dead in the streets of
, Washington a few months ago. But the killings :
, to which we shall refer are some of those in ,
3 which the circumstances make a citizen wonder
l ___—~
* Maryland v. Soper, 270 U. s. 9 (1926).
3 f 5' l

1 how many lives have been taken ruthlessly in the 1
, campaign to reform America with a shotgun.
2' The government records at Washington show
" that killings of private citizens or federal agents 5
, up to September 20, 1930, have been as follows: ;
‘ Prohibition Bureau: :
3 Civilians 154 {-1
f Agents 65 i'
219 :l
. Customs Service: ‘-
Civilians 28
: Agents 11 ‘
39 J
'1 Coast Guard:
Civilians 15'
1' Agents 4
‘ 19
' Indian Service:
Civilians 3
, Agents 6
i 9
‘1 Total................ 286
Tire-Shooters and Stumblers
1 Tirershooters and stumblers, or trippers, have
; figured in a number of prohibition killings re;
corded in Commissioner Doran’s reports and elser
.. where. It is perhaps interesting to note how
3 often agents” shots have missed the automobile
. wheels and hit a man and, on the other hand,
3 how often agents’ wild shots, accidentally dis! 1
1 charged, have not missed a man. We are obliged ‘
g to assume that the law of chance in both cases 1
works rather uniformly against the unfortunate l
person who happens to be in front of the gun. I
‘1 Ernest E. Emily “tried to run down the I!
f agents each time they tried to stop the car,” ac; ’
: cording to Dr. Doran. “The agents shot at the l
' tires and after a short distance the car stopped
3 and the agents found that the driver, Ernest E.
1 Emily, was mortally wounded.” (West Forks,
‘ Wash, May 23, 1920.)
, Horace Brown, accompanied by two women .
1 and three men, tried to escape in an automobile, 1
7: and one of his party fired three times at the 1
; pursuing agents, one of whom was wounded. l
f (Baltimore County, Md., Dec. 20, 1920.) “After 1’
f Philip Butler began firing," Dr. Doran states,
3 “Agent Gerth commenced shooting at the auto :
1 16} j

 t2 ‘
Ea - 1
he l mobile and hit the tires of Butler’s automobile, i
j and one of the said shots struck Horace Brown,
‘W resulting in his death.” The agent in this case
its 5 evidently hit the right tires but the wrong man. ‘
s: ‘ ‘
Bernard E. Davis, of Hialeah, Fla., was killed ‘
by a policeman shooting at the tires, in Septem’
5; her, 1929. According to his companions, the
3‘ enforcement men had not indentified themselves 3
l9 ’1 or ordered a halt. ;
J. W. Kendrick, 16 years old, a student of j
‘ Emory and Henry College, was killed by a deputy l
‘9 sheriff shooting at the tires. (Abingdon, Va., j
May 6, 1929.) The deputy suspected a com’ '
panion of Kendrick’s in the car. I
9 Herbert D. Monroe, 19 years old, of Staunr l
' ' ton, Va., was killed by a tirershooting state pro’ 1‘
hibition officer, in January, 1929. The error cost ;
the officer a sentence of eight months’ imprison, j
9 merit and $650 fine. i
;6 Grady Phillips, of Buchanan, Ga., was play!
ing a banjo in a car which was ordered to halt l
and which had been searched previously that day. ‘
(June, 1929.) The order was not obeyed, and a ?
bailiff, shooting at the tires, killed the banjo
'e player. :
)’ l
3, Henry Virkula, a confectioner, of Big Falls, ;
,,, Minn, was driving home with his wife, on June :
e 8, 1929. Their two children were asleep on the g
1, back seat. Near Little Fork, they were ordered
;, y to halt by two customs inspectors. Before he had :
d i driven ten feet farther, a fusillade which pierced ‘
:5 , the back of the automobile in twenty/six places I
e | killed him at the wheel. The car was found
1 ditched, with the motor in reverse. There was no .
. liquor in it. A border agent explained that, as
e l the car passed, “I fired into the ground and then 5
;. l fired two more shots at the wheels, hoping to
e j flatten the tires.” !
Elmer Fulton sold whiskey to dry agents. j
;, (Pilcher, Okla, Aug. 4, 1927.) He was killed '
in flight as follows, according to Dr. Doran: x
‘ Warner drove up and jumping from his car ' i
1 said, “Boys you are under arrest; we are Federal ’
a j officers," and went toward Fulton, .who started ,
, 1 to strike him With the sack containing the lugs .
‘ l of whiskey. Warner said, “Boy, don’t do that," .
- , and Fulton dropped the sack and ran. Warner .
t‘ 3 gave chase, firing three shots in the ground. In '
going over an embankment he slipped in the mud
: f and fell, his pistol being discharged as he did so. '
i f 7 l

 This shot hit Fulton in the left shoulder blade l
f and passed out through the right breast. E
State prosecution in this case was halted by l
habeas corpus proceedings, and the agent was g!
: discharged by a federal judge. s"
Douglas Dunham was in Jake Brown’s filling
station when agents arrived with a search war! ;
: rant. (Near Salisbury, N. C., Oct. 14, 1922.) i
3 Dr. Doran reports: i
E Dunharn made a dash for a door opening into
a rear room. Cheatham ran after him, but
: Dunham slammed the door before Cheatham .
, reached it and bolted it on the inside. Cheatham ;
‘ with his gun in his hand, forced the door open.
W The floor on the other side of the door was
1 lower than the floor of the store and as the door 1
. sprung open Cheatham fell down the step to his
.f knees, throwing out his hands to stop his fall. 5
._ His pistol struck the door and was discharged, the .
shot striking Dunham who died as a result of
, the wound. .
Jess Cofiey lost his life in a'raid on his distil’ .
< lery near Muscadine, Ala., March 28, 1923.
; According to Dr. Doran, it happened thus: 1
Coffey attempted to escape and Crumpton l
'3 fired to his right, trying to stop him. As he ]
,f fired his foot slipped, causing the gun to swerve :l
j, to the left and as a result Coffey was shot and ,:
L later died. ‘
’ Clarence Bailey, 18, a High School athlete, 51
with a jug of whiskey, ran through a pasture, ,;
" pursued by a deputy sheriff. (Ashland, Ala, 5:»
i Sept. 8, 1929.) As the deputy fired his third shot,
1 he stumbled, and the boy was killed. For this ,
killing, Cecil Gunther was found guilty of murder
1 in the second degree and sentenced to ten years‘ l
; imprisonment by a jury in the Coosa County g
court, Nov. 9.
j Tom Chandler was killed by a stumbler on
é’ his farm near Poteet, Tex., on Aug. 2, 1929.
I Agents Charles Stevens and R. H. Hirzel went to
‘ the place with State Officers Aukron and Lott. ,
As they approached the house [the report
3 states] they saw a still in operation in an out! “
‘ house. Agent Stevens told Chandler and three
j: men on the porch of the dwelling that he was a
3 Federal ofiicer and for them to stay where they
, were. The three men ran into the house, and
i Chandler, who remained on the orch, reached
, for his pistol. Stevens, rushing fhrward to get
at him, stumbled and accidentally fired his rifle, l
killing Chandler. 1
2 Testimony later indicated the raid was made i
3 without a warrant. The agent, Charles Stevens, l
1 was killed from ambush the following September. 1
{a} .1
s F

 ; a
3 } Arthur Gordon was killed by a. border patrolr E
E man from whom he was fleeing. (Plattsburg, g
s N. Y., June 15, 1929.) A statement by the Colr {
: I lector of Customs explained that the patrolman’s i
3 L! rifle was discharged when he stumbled. E
E !
z ' . . §
. ; Other Killings by Stray Bullets i
. 'f . I
9 Lawrence Wengler, a farmer, was killed after i
) ' agents had found, as Dr. Doran vaguely describes ,
t it, “what appeared to be a still in the process of 1
l . construction." (Near Madonna, Md., Nov. 19, ‘
1 . 1924.) The Commissioner states:
i The agents then placed themselves in hiding
: 1 near the still to see if anyone would approach
; the place. After some time a man came to the
. 5 place. Upon ascertaining the presence of the
E . agents he fled. The agents pursued him, firing
.' their revolvers in the air in an effort to stop I
. him. However, he escaped from them. A short l
time later, when leaving the place, they found I
' ‘ the man who had fled, who was ascertained to be a
I one Lawrence Wengler, lying dead from a revolver !
' wound. 3
f 5 NOTE: Senator Tydings, of Maryland, had this i
; i account in a Senate debate, June 19, 1929: i
I ,; Lawrence Wengler [sic] was a farmer in Hare E
ford County, Md., and while on his own farm }
,1 was driving home the cows near a clump of '
’ ' woods. The prohibition agents from Baltimore
r .; were in that section hunting a still. Some one
, 55’ had tipped off the people who were operating .
a still near there as to the approach of the prO' [
I hibition agents, and when they arrived at the still I
’ . they saw no one of the men they were after, ;
' but they did see Wengler some distance away i
‘ i driving in his cows. They opened fire on him ‘
. 3 and shot him—Congressional Record. ;
l .‘
In the Wengler tragedy, three agents were inr
, dicted by a county grand jury for manslaughter, ‘;
but they were acquitted in the federal court.
I :
. Guy Meadows was caught by dry agents in E,
: the act of getting liquor from a roadside cache
a near Hinton, W. Va., March 20, 1924. They ;
made themselves known. According to Dr. V
The man threw the pint of liquor into the fIl
river and started to run in the direction of the -
, river, and Sheriff Foster and Agent Simmons L
‘ both fired one shot, not with the intention of .
1 shooting the man, who ran into the edge of the ,-
‘ river, then came back and laid down on the g'
. ' ground, saying he was shot. He was rushed to 1_
l a hospital where he died two hours after the 3
l shooting. :
J m :1

 Home: Studivant was called on to surrender f
. at a still in Duvall County, Fla., Feb. 15', 1926. ‘.
3 Dr. Doran reports that “Studivant put his hand %
= into his sweater and turned around several times {g
, to locate the sound. Both agents thought Studi'
j vant was armed and fired at the ground near him.
' He fell to the ground and the agents went to i
‘ him immediately and discovered he had been shot 5
j in the hip.” Studivant died the next day.
.3 Marcus Ferrell was caught operating a still. 9
(Near Raywick, Ky., May 10, 1925'.) The PI‘O'
, hibition Bureau is grimly laconic: “While Agent .
Mathew was attempting to take into custody one i
[j Evard Mattingly and one Marcus Ferrell, his
revolver was accidentally discharged, killing Ferr
' rell instantly.” I
i. Albert Edmunds was killed in a raid on a I
Speakeasy grocery store after warning his comr
‘ panions. (Phenix City, Ala., June 10, 1928.) The '
, official report states: ,
I Edmunds grabbed the bottle from Agent Cobb l
. and ran from the back room, pouring out the ‘
. whiskey as he ran. He then threw the bottle
, down and attempted to climb the high fence l
i which encloses the premises. Agent Cobb caught :1
1% him by the coat and pulled him back. In the -‘
' encounter which ensued Cobb struck at Edmunds’ l
head with his revolver, but in the darkness hit
! his shoulder and the gun was discharged by the .
. impact. ,
‘ NOTE: Regarding this case, the following press
3 despatch was published in the Brooklyn Eagle on l
October 15, 1929. ‘
Grady Cobb, of Athens, Ga., who as a Federal ‘
Prohibition agent shot and killed Albert Ede
; munds in June, 1927, during a liquor raid at
Phenix City, Ala., must serve twelve months at ‘
hard labor in the Russel County Jail. He was
_ convicted by a jury yesterday. Prosecution wit’
. nesses testified Edmunds was fleeing from the
; house when he was shot. Cobb said he and Ed!
; munds fought in the house and that he shot when
I Edmunds drew a knife. ' .
. J. B. Walling was killed by chance in a still
: raid. (Bunn’s Bluff, Tex., Feb. 4, 1926.) The
; record does not show whether he was a moon’
I: shiner or a passive witness. The raiders saw a
1 White man and two negroes and ordered them not
. to move, according to the report, which cone
5 tinues: p
5 One negro jumped toward some guns leaning l
; against a tree and Cowen shot, intendinglto put l
i the bullet between the negro and the tree. The ;
3 bullet struck the tree and inflicted a wound in ‘
the chest of I. B. Walling, who was standing or
i [ 10 I l
. l
i 1i

 - i l
t f leaning against the tree: The tree had shielded l
. l' Walling from Cowens VleW. l
) 'J 1
As to Theoretical Weapons l
u f l
I H The Prohibition Bureau‘s reports of killings are l
interlarded with cases in which the killing agent '
; had thought his victim was about to draw a
= weapon and fire. We have already noted the ’
death of Homer Studivant: “Studivant put his I
i , hand into his sweater and turned around several
1 , times to locate the sound. Both agents thought I
; Studivant was armed and fired at the ground near '
him.” Perhaps these agents who fired into the j
! ground and killed a man had been recruited from '
‘ the tire'shooting staff. We think, at any rate,
that it would clarify__,the record if a statement
were made as to whether a'Weapenwas actually
' found on Studivant’s body. Officers Bt‘thwlswmfi I
, who kill a man, be he innocent or guilty, on an TNT
l assumption that he is armed and about to shoot, l
‘ should at least offer reasonable evidence that their 1
judgment was not unsound, and the presence or
l absence of a weapon on the victim surely _is perti» l
l nent testimony. Otherwise, ordinary citizens are l
l likely to wonder if the officer was not unduly 1
alarmed. l
I Jacob Carter suffered a mortal wound in the l
l leg in a raid near Jacksonville, Fla, April 1, 1926. ‘
‘ “It was a great surprise to everybody when he
‘ died four days later,” according to Dr. Doran's ‘
l report. The record reads: ‘.
’ When the agents and deputy sheriff approached i
the still, Joseph Carter saw them and when Agent l
‘ Epley told him they were officers and to put up ;
i his hands, Carter started toward the mash barrels ,‘
where a rake handle was protruding, which re! 1‘
sembled a gun. Agent Epley commanded him A
a second time to put up his hands and when he 1‘
refused to do so and continued toward the bar! 1:
1 rels, Agent Epley shot him in the right leg. 1
Carter was apparently a moonshiner who was 1‘
“ caught redahanded by five officers, but it would lE
be interesting to know if there was anything more 1"
dangerous than the deceptive rake handle among ;;
the barrels he was approaching. l‘
Sylvester Strickland, a negro, had the mlS' ;.
l fortune to be walking along a highway at night, i'
l April 5, 1924. What happened is described 1;
i officially as follows: ‘.
Prohibition Agent Dearie and him deputies I
‘ while on a scouting trip on a public road near :
l Vivian, La., in search of a negro rum runner .‘
l {111
,, .

 7 with a reputation as a gunman, unexpectedly ran ’
3' across a negro whom the officers took to be the
gunman but who later proved not to be. Upon 1
being approached by the oflicers this negro fled 1
3' and when he was called upon to halt he sud’
i denly stopped and made a motion with his hand
' which caused Agent Dearie to believe that he '
2 was about to draw a gun, whereupon Dearie .
' fired one shot at the negro which proved fatal. I
Inasmuch as the scared negro, running away "
i in the night, was the wrong man, a question as to >
whether he was armed is perhaps unimportant. i
if John Buongore was arrested for bootlegging,
.J in Havre de Grace, Md, Aug. 1, 1925. “Furber’
f shaw alleged that Buongore reached for his hip 2
pocket and he believed he was reaching for a gun '
.‘2 and he shot in self’defense, killing Buongore imr 2
‘. mediately_" There is no statement in the report
, as to whpthcr Buongore was armed. Furbershaw I
'3 was indicted for murder, the federal court inter~
vened, and he was acquitted. 1
Carl Thornes and another moonshiner were
arrested by three officers on a farm near Britton, ,
i Okla., March 26, 192 5 . According to the oflicial 5
3 report, “Thornes started to run away, at the same I
§ time stooping to pick up what was believed to be 3
.1 a revolver. Agent Tucker, believing that Thornes 2
2 intended to fire at hlm from nearby bushes, shot
5 and killed him.” There is no statement as to .
1: what it was Thornes stooped to pick up. .
: 2
‘2 Leslie Britt was killed by an agent on a raid ‘
If in South Hampton, Va., Aug. 9, 1924. The i
? raider, according to the report, “came upon a t
7 man by the name of Leslie Britt, whom the agent
‘ believed was about to wound him, and in self’
; defense Agent Griffin shot him.” A coroner’s
j jury exonerated the agent, but the record gives
3 no information about the provocation for the
5 shooting.
3 John Kelly and another man were followed
; until they started to set up a still, near Newport
News, Va., Jan. 8, 1925. Ordered by Agent _
Griflin to throw up his hands, Kelly “started t0r
i ward him and put his hand in his pocket.” The
2 report continues: “Agent Griflin, believing that g
i he was reaching for a revolver, fired and shot
i him.“ The reader makes his own guess as to I
3 whether Kelly was armed. A coroner’s jury 1
i exonerated Griffin. ,
j Bee Lilly was one of two men who ran away I
: from three still raiders, near Beckley, W. Va., ‘
5 [ 12] i
1 2

 1 1 April 1, 1925. He “carried in his hand what '
3 ‘ appeared to be a rifle, and it was apparent he I
i 1 was seeking the shelter of a tree,” the report I
i 1 states. “The officers believed he was about to I
i fire upon them from ambush and shot at him. I
: - He was instantly killed.” Was it a rifle which i
2 . Lilly carried? Agent Simmons was indicted for i
' murder by 3 Raleigh County Grand Jury, but his ,
3 ‘1 case was taken to a federal court where the jury I
3 I disagreed. He was later killed in prohibition .
3 serv1ce. '.
Frank Sears was shot dead after “putting the
I barrel of the revolver over his left arm,” accordr 1
, . ing to the Prohibition Bureau's report, but the 1
. 1 authors of that testimony did not know at the 1
, time what they learned later at the trial—that I
; " Sears was leftrhanded. We consider the oflicial I
- 1 report of this case especially interesting in View .
' of the subsequent legal proceedings. The Bureau 1
states that in midrafternoon on Aug. 21, 1925, 3
' Prohibition Agent Roy V. Miller, Deputy "
Clarence Gossett, R. S. Young and J. S. Fox ;
went to the premises of Frank Sears near Daniel E
1 Boone, Hopkins County, Ky., for the purpose I
. of searching for stills. Sears and a girl, Mabel I
1 Stanley, were there, and Sears made no objection I
z to the proposed search until he saw R. S. Young 3
1 fromwhom he had stolen some goods. He sprang I
to his feet and ran about twenty steps, drawmg
a revolver from his clothing and putting the I
' barrel of the revolver over his left arm. Gossett
. immediately fired five or six shots, and Agent
. Miller hearing them turned and fired one. Sears ‘»
1 fell to the ground. I
I 'L
I The Prohibition Bureau’s report of the dis, 1
position of the case is as unconvincing as its de' (3
scription of how and why Sears aimed the theoret' '
ical revolver. The Bureau gives this “Disposition 1.
of the case”:~—“Ind1'cted Oct. 12, 1925, by Grand 1‘
Jury of Hopkins County, charged with man! ,'
slaughter. Indictment dismissed on April, 1928, ;‘
term of court at Paducah, Ky. Defective indict’ .1.
ment. New case filed June 12, 1929. Case rer "
moved to Federal Court. Motion for new trial I
overruled Sept. 14, 1929. Bill of exception I
‘ filed.” From newspaper accounts, we find that 3‘
Miller and Gossett were convicted and sentenced I
3 to two years’ imprisonment, in federal court at 3
‘ Paducah. In denying a new trial of the case on 1
1 June 12, 1929, the judge held that Sears was not Q
.' under arrest, that he was not charged with a
' felony, and he was shot nine times in the back, :1
1 according to the evidence. The judge said further 2
1 that he could not see how a jury could fail to '
. convict. The United States Attorney carried '
I [13} l

 j Miller‘s case to the United States Circuit Court
7 of Appeals, but the court sustained his convic’
f tion. The Governor of Kentucky then intervened
Z by granting a stay, but Federal District Judge
‘1 Dawson ordered Miller to appear before him on
i August 4, 1930, either to start serving his sen!
. tence or to present a reprieve or pardon from the .
" Governor. Judge Dawson conceded the right of
‘J the Governor to pardon the prisoner because he
1 was tried for violation of a state law. [
2 Killings of Persons in Flight ‘
We believe that there has been promiscuous .
‘ shooting by prohibition agents under cover of the l
f general rule that an officer of the law may fire on
i an offender who flees from arrest. In many cases,
i the agents have deliberately disregarded a humane
j precept which has long governed police activities
: of every other sort, viz., that a fugitive should be
I‘ shot only as a last resort. Although some of the
‘ victims have presumably fled in fright or through
; cowardice, as did the negro Strickland, we must
assume generally, where there is no evidence to ‘
5 the contrary, that the agent thought his action 5
i was justifiable. 1
l I
1 Bernard Cottrell fled when three agents and i
. a constable caught him and another man running ,
i a still in Kanawha County, W. Va., July 20, 3
i In the chase, five or six shots were fired, one ‘
. striking Bernard Cottrell, one of the fleeing
g moonshiners [the report states]. He fell on his j
‘ face, seriously wounded, and lived but a short 1
1 time, the Agents and the other moonshiner, Opie i
Hershberger, doing all they could for the dying '
j man.
The local evidence led to the arrest of Agent
4: T. L. Cox on a charge of murder, of which he
f was acquitted.
I Lonnie Atwell and two other men were
, stopped in a liquor car by two agents in Lincoln
County, W. Va., in August, 1921. “The boot
'5 leggers began to run, and several shots were fired. E
a Atwell was wounded and died in a hospital a f;
’3 few hours later.” The agents were indicted, but i
i a jury acquitted them in a federal court. .1
i R. W. Hedderly and another bootlegger en’ :
1 countered a prohibition agent, two narcotic .
2 agents and two policemen, who, according to the .
. re