The Twenty-First Street Disturbance Examination
May 14, 1867
Mayor Mayo gives his opinion on the recent disturbances between freedmen and policemen.He intends to make everyone follow every law, regardless of race.
THE TWENTY-FIRST STREET DISTURBANCE EXAMINATION BEFORE THE MAYOR. SALUTARY REMARKS OF MR. MAYO. Discharge of Most of the Prisoners. The case of the following-named parties, charged with being implicated in a riot on the corner of Twenty-first and Main streets, and resisting and wounding policemen in discharge of their duty, was brought before the Mayor yesterday -- viz.: Dr. Hanks, William Holloway (white), Aaron Short. Robert Hardgrove, Philip Banks, Jerry Page, Bill McCoy, Beverly Skipwith, Robert Lee, and Moses Ross. The witnesses for the prosecution were then sworn. Corporal Frank Forrester testified that notice was received at Libby prison at about 10 o'clock on Saturday night that there was a disturbance on Main street. He went up to the corner of Main and Twenty-first streets, and saw a party of negroes standing on the spot, and heard them say, " D -- n the policemen; we have punished them. and we will do it again, and if the d -- d soldiers interfere we will make them suffer, too." The witness here recognized Holloway (white) as being one of the party ; and George Weoldridge. an exUnited States soldier, recognized Sharp and Hanks as being of them. Policeman Engel also recognized one of them. The Mayor, after hearing this evidence, said he did not wish to hear any further evidence, and made the following remarks, which we commend to our colored readers: MAYOR MAYO'S REMARKS. The Mayor said that he wished everybody to understand that, as Mayor of the city of Richmond and the representative of the Commonwealth of Virginia in a court of justice, he intended to do justice to all men, and that in this respect he did not doubt but that he was more the friend of the colored people than any one in the court-room. By law you have been emancipated. The same laws now apply to you as apply to the whites, and the same laws apply to them as to you: and I am determined to make every man, white or black; obey the law. If I find white men abusing, assaulting, or beating you, I shall fine them or send them on to be indicted, and I will do the same towards you if I find you treating white people unlawfully. I make these remarks so as to be fully understood. I hear that you were advised last evening, and very properly so too, to obey the orders of General Schofield. He is put here to see that the people obey the laws, and he will always be prompt to do so. If he finds me not obeying the laws, he will act towards me as he will towards every one. I would admonish you to be calm. You are as free as I am. Assert your rights, but use no violence. If the police arrest you, go along with them quietly; and if injustice has been done you, I will punish the police. I have often had, in the course of my duty, to punish many of you; but I defy any man to prove that I have not carried out the letter of the law, or treated all men with justice, according to law. I therefore warn you all to obey the laws, as I am determined to carry them out. To those of you at present accused before me who have not been identified as committing violence in this disturbance, and who deny complicity in it, I would say, do not be caught in such a place again. When a disturbance occurs, you who are not concerned in it should go at once to your homes. I will discharge you this time, but will retain Dr. Banks, Aaron Short, and William Holloway. The men who were discharged thanked the Mayor, and left the court-room. The remaining three were remanded to jail.
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“The Twenty-First Street Disturbance Examination,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed January 17, 2018, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/600.