[sixties-l] Police Killings In Lawrence, Kansas 1970

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Mon Jul 09 2001 - 16:18:46 EDT

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    From: Randy <redpoet@swbell.net>
    Subject: Oread Daily July 9

    July 9, 2001 redpoet@swbell.net Volume 2001.25

    The Oread Daily is a Peoples Paper and is Responsible Only to the People
    (whoever they might be)



    Later this summer there will be a "re-union" of activists from the 60s and
    70s in Lawrence, Kansas, home of the University of Kansas. We re not going
    to get into that now. However, last week the Lawrence Journal World (which
    the old Oread Daily referred to more accurately as the "Urinal World") had
    a little "where are they now article" about the festivities. In the article
    we found the following, "Later that summer (1970), Lawrence officials
    imposed curfews after police shot and killed Rick Dowdell, a black
    teen-ager, on July 16. Four days later, Nick Rice, a white KU student from
    Overland Park, was killed by a stray bullet while standing outside the
    Gaslight Tavern, then at the corner of 13th and Oread." The Journal World s
    memory is similar to the Urinal World s coverage. Rick Dowdell was not just
    any black teenager (heck, cops shoot young black men all the time), he was
    an active member of the Kansas University Black Student Union, a son of a
    well known local black family, a man who carried a weapon because his life
    had been threatened by local police on more than one occasion. His killing
    occurred when police chased and stopped the vehicle in which he was riding
    after spotting it leaving Afro House. As the Oread Daily Review (a year end
    summary of events put out in a sort of comic book fashion by the Oread
    Daily collective) described then here is what happened. "After hitting the
    curb, the Volkswagen halted. Dowdell disembarked, and he headed up an
    alley. Firing commenced. Dowdell lay dead, shot by pig William Garrett."
    Shot, we might add in the BACK of the head. At the time Franki Cole who was
    also in the car told the Michigan Daily as reported in the Oread Daily
    Review, "I was alone in the car. I started to leave Afro House, Rick asked
    me for a ride to some girl s house. They (the pigs) start, they were
    sitting about a block down with their lights out, and they started after
    us. I mean I guess they were after us because they didn't have any lights
    at first they didn't have any lights, they didn't have the red light on.
    They didn't try to stop us, you know, when they said they did. At the time
    they did try to stop us I didn t pay them any attention because I had, you
    know, I hadn't done anything wrong. I hadn't broken any laws, &.I had gone,
    I guess, oh about a block and a half and then about three fourths of the
    way through an alley before they even turned their light on. And there was
    a four way stop sign. And there I ran the stop sign. I didn't even see the
    stop sign but I ran it anyway. Went about another half a block and stopped,
    and when I stopped Rick got out of the car in no hurry he just got out of
    the car and closed the door, started to walk into the alley, and, uh, in
    the meantime there were about two (police) cars already parked, and then
    the one behind me pulled up behind the service station you know on one side
    of the alley and by this time, you know, they (the police officers) had all
    started to get out. And the one came around and ordered me out of the car
    and I went and stood at the back of the car. And Rick had started to walk
    into the alley, and I looked into the alley and he started to trot, he
    looked over his shoulder, he looked back, he still wasn't running, he was
    trotting, he had long legs, I guess you could say he was trotting and he
    looked back, and that was when, you know, the one that started into the
    alley behind him fired a shot&the cop did. And, uh, after that you could
    pretty much say it was confusion, I never did see Rick fire his gun at
    them. He didn't have his gun drawn. If he had a gun it was concealed. I
    never did see a gun." After the Dowdell killing, uprisings occurred in the
    black community and in the white hippie-radical neighborhood. It was during
    those uprising that Nick Rice was gunned down. I was standing a few feet
    from Rice when he was killed. We were part of a crowd that had been
    "herded" down the street by shotgun wielding Lawrence police. They opened
    fire, Nick was dead and another man, Mert Olds, was wounded. This was no
    stray shot. This was the result of police firing on an unarmed crowd that
    was backing away from them at the time. This time from Vortex, another
    Lawrence underground newspaper, " By Monday night, the situation was still
    escalating. Police were now equipped with complete riot gear including
    flack jackets. Early Monday evening, a fire hydrant was turned on and
    police came, dispersed the crowd, and shut off the hydrant. Later, a
    Volkswagen was turned over in the middle of the street, ready to be burned
    as a barricade when the police returned. This time, without any warning or
    hesitation, police charged up the street towards the crowd of 300 people,
    opened up with tear gas and then began to fire indiscriminately into the
    crowd. People scattered. One person fell.
    (ed. Note - actually two persons were hit by police gunfire). When others
    tried to aid him, they were driven back with more tear gas. Nick Rice lay
    bleeding and dying on Oread Avenue, shot through the head. As usual, police
    claimed that it was sniper fire that killed him." An inquest which was held
    a few weeks later pretty clearly laid out exactly which officer fired the
    shot that killed Rice. Again from Vortex, "Stroud says he fired only once
    at long haired youth, missed. Nick Rice was standing directly in line with
    Stroud's shot. Stroud fired with a 9 millimeter bullet. Wound in Rice was 9
    millimeter. The truth is loose and rampages through the courtroom. Like a
    naked man walking through the room screaming yet nobody says anything about
    it." Totally contradicting all of the evidence presented, the inquest
    amazingly concluded that Rice had been killed by unknown snipers firing
    from the other direction. That conclusion was absurd. Hundreds of witnesses
    (including yours truly) were there and saw or heard no snipers. There were
    no bullets found where these snipers bullets should have ended up. And why
    would snipers be out shooting Rice anyway. The inquests own evidence was
    absolutely contrary to that conclusion. Thirty one years later the new
    Journal World is still perpetrating the lie. Sorry I took up so much space
    with this article, but I just couldn't let it go unanswered. Kent State is
    oft remembered (and rightly so) but it should also be remembered that it
    was only one of many unnamed places where those who opposed racism, or the
    war, or, well you name your injustice, were shot and killed by the
    "authorities" who then went happily on their merry way. The truth should be
    known. Those were the days in Lawrence, Kansas USA 1970.

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