‘Colyar Arrest Proper End to Plot of Crook’

by Archivist on August 4, 2016

Mayor James G. Woodward, of Atlanta, accused by dictograph in conversation in A. S. Colyar's room at the Williams House, denies that he offered money to secure evidence of corruption against police and detective departments.

Mayor James G. Woodward, of Atlanta, accused by dictograph in conversation in A. S. Colyar’s room at the Williams House, denies that he offered money to secure evidence of corruption against police and detective departments.

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, May 25th, 1913

Woodward Brands Dictograph Trap Scheme to Make Him “Goat” Against Beavers.

Mayor Woodward declared Saturday night that the sensational dictograph records were merely the “froth of a plot of a ‘dirty gang,’” and too unworthy and ridiculous to require any official action from him.

“I think the matter reached its proper culmination when the dirty old crook Colyar, seemingly the chief promoter of the plot, was arrested on a charge of forgery.”

Then taking a more serious view of the situation, Mayor Woodward gave some illuminating views on Atlanta police politics.

Mayor Picked for “Goat.”

The filling in of the dictograph statement, purporting to be from me, is a good illustration of the efforts of certain persons to make me the ‘goat’ in their campaign to get rid of Police Chief J. L. Beavers. I have never posed as a sympathizer of Beavers, but I have never made any effort to oust him. Nevertheless, certain persons, some of them posing as his friends and supporters, have continually sought to bring a focus, through me, the fight to fire him.

“I told Beavers I was not going to try to put him out.

Dictograph Report Wrong.

“The first part of my conversation reported in the dictograph statement was correct. But some dirty crook added to the last part—that is unless the mistakes were inadvertently made by the operator. I did not mention Chief Beavers nor Chief Lanford nor any other names. They tald [sic] me—that is, Colyar told me with the assent of February [sic]—they had evidence of graft against Beavers and Lanford and I answered I wanted the evidence, no matter whom it hit.

“I did not offer them any money, but I will say now that I will subscribe to a fund to unearth any graft in any city department. I did not even tell them how strongly I felt on such matters, because I did not like the appearance of their whole dirty affair.

End to Ring Rule.

“If there is any real significance in this matter I know what it is. ‘Ring’ rule in the police department is about to be overthrown. When the commission split the other night on the issue of Beavers’ authority to name men for promotions they split because we had information that Beavers was about to name an unworthy man who had been selected by certain members of the commission.

“All this purported scandal is an effort to discredit me and the men who voted like I did.

“But I don’t care anything about it.

Colyar Arrest 2

“I used to have a good deal of confidence in dictograph evidence. Now I have about lost it all. I have found out how easy it is for the operator to make mistakes, through a confusion of voices and the like, or for the evidence to be tampered. I think the alleged Felder conversation must have met with the same experience that mine did.”

With it all, the Mayor was in a good humor and laughed much over the complex developments.

What Humphrey Said.

Councilman W. G. Humphrey, referring to Chief Beavers’ interview, said he did tell Beavers in a private conversation in his (Humphrey’s) office one day that he (Beavers) would not be able to keep the “houses” closed.

“I did not say whether his move was the right move or not,” said Councilman Humphrey.

Rumors of councilmanic investigation of the whole affair are afloat, but none of the members of Council would confirm reports that such a plan was under consideration. Various members of Council, when seen, laughed and said they were waiting for further developments.

“I see the members of Council buying extras and discussing the matter just eagerly and just as naturally as any private citizens,” said Councilman Albert Thomson.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, May 25th 1913, “‘Colyar Arrest Proper End to Plot of Crook,'” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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