TRAIN NEW GUNS ON VICE OF
State’s Attorney and Aids Prepare to Push Police Graft Inquiry with Added Force
INDICT M’CANN AGAIN?
Accused Inspector, Unmoved by Charges, Assured of the Loyalty of Scores of
With a torrent of fresh accusations against Police Inspector Edward McCann of the Desplaines Street district, already under tenfold indictment for bribery and malfeasance in office, swelling in volume almost hourly, and with hundreds of subpoena falling like a Sunday snowstorm in the vice centers of the city, the reopening of the graft investigation by the Cook county grand jury, scheduled for this morning, became last night a matter of acute speculation.
While attachés of the state’s attorney’s office worked all day and until late in the evening "giving finishing touches to indictments," the conviction spread that State’s Attorney Wayman has completed his planes for gorging the grand jury with stories of bribery and corruption in the respective levee districts of the city all this week.
Rumors where persistent that the Maxwell street district would be the next to receive the force of an explosion of indictments.
The sustained silence of Mr. Wayman as to what he expects to accomplish with all the witnesses he has summoned and is summoning was looked upon as sinister in circles where conversation largely runs to "protection" and "men higher up." After being absent from his house on some mission which was not made public, Mr. Wayman turned up at night with sealed lips which were difficult for an interviewer to pry open long enough for the most brief answer to his questions.
Refuses to Answer McCann.
When shown the statements of Inspector McCann and his friends Mr Wayman volunteered only this statement:
"The cases against McCAnn are now pending in the Criminal court and it would be beneath the dignity of my office and unprofessional for me to enter into any public discussion of them with the defendant or his friends."
Assistant State’s Attorneys Thomas Marshall and Victor P. Arnold, who are in charge of the indictment department of the prosecutor’s office, were at their desks in the Criminal court building all of the afternoon. A battery of stenographers was busy in another part of the building. The assistants state’s attorneys were as noncommittal as the chief, but from a trustworthy source it was learned that the indictments being "fixed up" were to fit cases of alleged graft in which true bills were voted by the grand jury on Saturday.
Persistent reports from person in a position to know stated that Mr. Wayman already has received a list of names of alleged civilian "collectors" of graft in the respective vice centers of the city. "Collecting syndicates" were talked of as having been discovered in the Twenty-second street levee, the north side "white way," and the South Chicago district embracing "The Strand."
Some of the individuals alleged to have been served with subpoenas were reported as being reading to make "confessions" about their collection of graft, as the Frank brothers, Louis and Julius, have don in the Desplaines street district.
South Side Characters Called?
Some of the widely known characters on the south side levee district, who were reported as having been notified that they will be required to appear before the grand jury were Ferdinand Buxbaum, Frank Wing, and "Ike" Bloom. It is probable, however, that before any south siders appear before the grand jury more west siders will be heard with the object of securing more indictments against Inspector McCann, if possible, and resort keepers.
It was freely admitted in the Desplaines street levee in the afternoon that subpoenas were being served and that the denizens of the resorts were getting in marching order for an early start to the Criminal court building on the north side.
Also, they were reeling off stories as rapidly as moving picture films through 5 cent theaters on Halstred street, both confirming and contradicting the stories of the Frank brothers, which are to the effect that Inspector McCann took money in fistfuls from the resort keepers.
Such worthies as "Mike de Pike," "Monkey Face Charlie," and Max Plummer admitted that they expected to go before the grand jury today, together with "English Jenny," "Red Esther," and scores of others.
Plummer, named by the Frank brothers as having dickered with Inspector McCann over a matter of a bribe of $250, broke the general order of procedure now current in the levee and said he never had any dishonest dealings with McCann in his life. He admitted to make a trip to McCann’s house while the police official was sick, but he said it was for the comparatively innocent purpose of having a patrolman mover from in front of his property, and for no other reason.
He probably will have a chance to tell the grand jury what he knows today.
Levee Produces More Stories.
The Frank brothers themselves again raised the floodgates of the speech and delivered new stores of alleged graph. They insisted that Inspector McCann personally took money from every source he could reach in the levee and kept on arresting the persons who gave it.
When asked what the inspector did with the money he is alleged to have received, the accusers, who dwell in the Desplaines street underworld, responded that he bought horses and fine harness and shipped his purchases to a farm in Texas on which he had "planted" much of the graft.
Inspector McCann hear the long stories of his numerous accusers in the vice district of his division read to him late at night. He was interested, but his manner was that of a man who was disgusted rather than dismayed.
"It is simply awful," he said. "Already you can see the gaps between their stories and the old ones they told. But I’m not going to criticise their yarns any more, no matter what they say. They are a dangerous lot of people to whom perjury is amusement, and any answer I make will only give them fresh incentive to hunt up more inmates of dives and instruct them what to swear to. My motto is, not a word on the specific charges already made or that may be made against me. My reason is simply common sense.
Will Make Vigorous Defense
"By tomorrow nigh I expect to have a lawyer to represent me in my cases. While I never took a dishonest nickel and know myself to be innocent of any wrong as a police official, yet I realize that charges of such a serious nature must be met seriously from a legal standpoint. I don’t intend to give these unscrupulous people any handles to hand more falsehoods on if I can help it.
"I want a good lawyer — one who knows just enough about the ways of the underworld to understand its capabilities and the way its inhabitants can plot when they want to destroy a man who has worked hard to keep them in line. I can’t afford to pay a high price for legal defense, but I’m going to make an honest man’s fight to clear my name and show my neighbors that I am an honest husband and a Christian father. An I am thankful that I have friends of standing in the community to back me up."
The inspector’s confidence in his friends was well placed if the number of them who called him up on the telephone during the day was any criterion. Clergymen, Hull house workers, lawyers, and a judge of the Municipal Court were among those who volunteered their faith in him. It became evident that possibly a counter investigation of graft aimed at the accusers of Inspector McCann with the object of clearing the police official’s name may come of it, but there was little that was definite in the way of action.
Sumners’ Loyalty Unshaken
The ardor of Dean Walter T. Sumner of the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul in Peoria street in behalf of Inspector McCann, with whom he has been a co-laborer for the betterment of the vice district, was maintained thoroughly during the day after reading the stories of saloon and resort keepers against McCann.
At night he said he felt more than ever convinced that the situation is the result of a plot by unscrupulous individuals in the vice district to ruin McCann in the hope of getting an official in his place subservient to their demands. The dean was guided largely in this by semi-privileged information he had received in the course of his investigation of the inspector’s troubles.’
"The inspector will find that he had more friends who are ready to go a long way for him than he has dreamed of," said the dean. " I believe him to be a thoroughly honest man and at all events I shall regard him as innocent until he is proved guilty by competent evidence from trustworthy sources. I believe this is a plot to ruin a courageous, honest man, who has incurred the enmity of the dishonest just because he has done his duty."
In company with a reporter for THE TRIBUNE, the dean visited Inspector McCann at the police official’s modest cottage at 6837 Yale avenue in the afternoon. The inspector was taking it easy on the porch of his little house, which has been freshly painted green.
"I notice you have been having your house painted," remarked the dean, assuming and air of humorous suspicion as he approached.
"Yes, one has to do something with the graft," responded the inspector, jokingly, advancing with outstretched hand and looking his visitors frankly in the eyes.
Enjoying a Little Rest.
"To tell the truth," he continued, "I am really enjoying a little rest." It is pleasant to be here at home with the folks and have friends dropping in to see me, although naturally it would have been pleasanter to have had it brought about in some other way.
Sergt. Charles Hawkins, who for a long time has been associated with the Inspector, was present, as was the inspector’s brother and other relatives of his immediate family.
All appeared to be taking the inspector’s predicament philosophically. In fact, they appeared to be proud of the fact that friends, as well as enemies, were appearing in his case.
"Keep your back stiff," admonished the dean. "Your friends believe in you and will stand by you until they are shown they are wrong."
"I thank you sincerely," responded the inspector. "I have always said that if decent people were with me, I didn’t care about the other kind. Friends like yourself who are being and brave enough to come to my aid when I need it have been calling up here all day. Last night they were calling up until 3 o’clock in the morning.
Family Scene Undisturbed
Mary McGrath, on of the adopted members of the inspector’s family brought in lemonade as though it was an ordinary Sunday afternoon with visitors present, and the inspector referred to the young girl with a degree of affection that a father bestows upon his own daughter.
When she went out the dean, and the inspector chatted awhile about their past troubles with the resort in the Desplaines street district.
"I can repeat to you on my honor as a Christian man that I never took a dishonest nickel," repeated the Inspector, gripping the hand of the clergyman as the latter rose to go. "With the full knowledge which only I can have the falsity of the charges, and such friends as you, I look forward confidently to clearing myself to the full satisfaction of every reputable citizen in Chicago. A fabric of lies cannot be put together so well that a weak spot cannot be found in it."
Judge to McCann’s Defense
Municipal Judge Frank P. Sadler, who served several months at the Desplaines street branch of the court and who knew McCann as a captain of police in the Twenty second street levee, was one of the first supporters of the inspector to voice his confidence in him after he had read the voluminous story of alleged graft.
Judge Sadler, who lives at 6324 Yale avenue, only a few blocks from the Cottage of Inspector McCann at 6837 Yale avenue, said he had "kept tab" on the inspector’s career while the police official was employed in the Desplaines street district.
McCann Cannot Be "Reached."
"If Inspector McCanm has accepted any graft, it will be the greatest surprise in the world to me to learn of it," said Judge Sadler. "I have regarded and still regard him as absolutely above being reached. The Desplaines street district has plenty of people in it who are capable of a ‘frameup.’ The class of people over there is such that it will take stronger testimony than theirs to shake my confidence in Inspector McCann.
"I was at Harrison street when he had charge of the Twenty-second street district and of all the men I cam in contact withy he was the last I would believe guilty of a charge of the sort that has been made against him.
"The district immediately west of the river is one where immunity baths are looked upon as so desirable that a chance of getting them at the sacrifice of a good man’s reputation would be acceptable to a number of the denizens. I don’t think they would be above doing it.
"The police department is part of the city government we have a right to think much of. An honest policeman deserves to have his hands upheld. I don’t know much about the personal relations of the people mentioned in the case with Inspector McCann but I do know the people.
Knows Him by His Friends
"I’ve taken the trouble in time past to inquire into McCann’s work at Desplaines street. The people whose opinion has been my criterion in times past have commended him. Dean Walter T. Sumner of the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul has done more for clean government in the Desplaines street section of the city than any other one man, and the dean, who believes in Inspector McCann’s integrity, doesn’t ‘fourflush.’
"I had chances to test McCann when he was int the Twenty-second street district. McCann does not claim to be an idealist, but I found him absolutely reliable as a captain of police. I am glad to say a word for a man like McCann. I don’t believe he ever touched a dishonest cent.
"Somebody is trying to get rid of him. If they have anything on him I’ll be surprised — that’s all.