Third Degree In San Francisco-Report About Sailor And IWW Member Ray Guthrie In 2016 SF Preparedness Day Bombing

Third Degree In San Francisco-Report About Sailor And IWW Member Ray Guthrie In 2016 SF Preparedness Day Bombing

First edition of its 1917 journal called "The Public - An International Journal of Fundamental Democracy". The journal appears to be about reform oriented pro-democracy which supports municipal ownership having little appearance of being leftist.

The below are details of Ray Guthre from the local Sailor's Union who witnessed the 7-22-16 preparedness day bombing that was blamed on Mooney and Billings. He had been volunteering for IWW --- who was then picked up by police and brutally beaten. The letter was written by Louisa Harding.

San Francisco, December 28. 1916

Raymond Guthre, a sailor, is about to prefer charges before the Police Commission, that he was brutally beaten in the city jail in San Francisco on the 22nd day of this month. This man has been of considerable assistance to the Defense League in its efforts to release the defendants in the so-called bomb cases. When not at sea, he has spent a good deal of time in the League headquarters, giving what assistance he could in the mailing, etc. I have often seen him there. Furthermore, be located a material witness, Wm. H. Taylor, who made affidavit after he had been brought back to the city, to the effect that on the 22nd of July he (Taylor) had seen a man place the suitcase that the police maintained contained the bomb; that this man was not at all similar to Billings in appearance, being dark and apparently a foreigner (whereas Billings is fair and was born in this country); and that, when he would not implicate Billings or Mooney, he was sent by the police to Stockton. Guthre says that, since finding Taylor, he has known that he was followed by detectives. He has lived in San Francisco, off and on, for about fifteen years, without being molested before.

On the 15th of this month he came off of his ship, and paid his room rent until the 29th of this month. This receipt is in my possession. On the 22nd he left the rooms of the Defense League and went over to the I. W. W. headquarters, remaining there a short time. On leaving that place, he was arrested by a policeman. According to Guthre, the policeman said to him, “You are the man we want,” and took him over to the Southern Station, where he struck Guthre violently in the face. After about an hour, Guthre was taken to the city jail on Kearny street and locked up. The charge on which he was arrested was “vagrancy.” At that time he had at least $15.

A number of I. W. W. men were arrested on the let also, and several of them were lodged in the same row of cells as was Guthre. What happened on the morning of the 22nd is related in affidavits sworn to by several of these men. They say that, at about six o'clock that morning, Guthre and a number of the others were singing in their cells; that a guard came by and ordered them to cease singing, and that they did so without provocative remark from Guthre or the others; but that the policeman, singling out Guthre, said to him, “I will be back and take care of your case;" that he did return with another uniformed officer, and that they got Guthre out of his cell and took him to the corridor, out of sight of the other prisoners, but not out of hearing; that the afiiants saw Guthre leave his cell in good condition, and saw him after he was injured. Guthre says these two policemen beat him with lead tied in the ends of sacks until he fell to the floor, and that they then continued to strike and kick him; that he was obliged to crawl back on his hands and knees to his cell, being too badly injured to walk. He is a strong man—partly Indian; he must weigh nearly two hundred pounds. When he was taken, that same day, before police-judge Morris Oppenheim, he fell from his seat in the court room to the floor; and on Sun day, when he went to Dr. Plincz, he was still weak and dizzy from the beating, and Dr. Plincz ordered him to go home and stay quietly in bed.

Oppenheim placed the bail for Guthre for “vagrancy" at $100, which was raised. I did not know anything about Guthre’s case until Saturday afternoon (the 23rd), when I found him sitting in the rooms of the Defense League as I came in there. He was a terrible sight—his face swollen almost beyond recognition, and with a long, livid streak under one partly-closed eye. I took him at once to the office of Mr. Roche, the president of the police commission—who, at least, had a good look at him, expressed interest, and said he would do what he could; but that the police would, of course, deny the assault and that there were no eye~witnesses to the attack. (There are, however, affidavits from several prisoners, members of the I. W. W. who were also arrested on the 21st and were in the same row of cells with Guthre; and these men say they saw Guthre leave his cell in good condition, and saw him returned to it injured. George Speed, the I. W. W. secretary, saw Guthre only two or three minutes before his arrest, and knows that he was then perfectly sober and in good physical condition.)

From the office of Mr. Roche I took Guthre to be examined by Dr. Ryer. On Sunday, for the sake of caution, I took him also to Dr. John Plincz, who thought no ribs were broken, but spoke of the possibility of a permanent injury to the boy’s sight. Then we went to the house of Mayor Rolph, but he was away, and we had to arrange for a hearing on Tuesday morning. At that hearing, the Mayor looked at Guthre, who was still badly disfigured, expressed concern, and sent for a report from Lieut. Tobin who was in charge of the jail on the morning of the assault. A further hearing was held on Wednesday morning before the Mayor. Tobin attended, and said he did not believe any such outrage could have taken place in the jail. He was then directed to look into the matter. Attorney Gail Laughlin, the suffrage worker, kindly consented to go with Guthre to the Mayor, and did go both times; and Miss Anita Whitney, a social worker, went the first time. Miss Laughlin will probably assist Attorney Lawlor in handling the case before the Police Commission. At the second hearing in the Mayor’s office it developed that Guthre was in jail in Tonopah about three years ago in an I. W. W. free-speech fight.

Guthre is a member of the Sailors’ Union, in good standing. This union appointed a committee to investigate the attack on Guthre, and promised to have the committee on hand at the hearing before the Mayor. It was not there. Feeling is bitter here among the trades unions against the I. W. W.’s; for the reason that the unions have been steadily losing in their resistance to the aggressions of the Chamber of Commerce, dissatisfied members have been seceding to the I. W. W. camp. A number have just gone from the Waiters' Union as the result of the loss of their strike.

Under these local conditions I am afraid we are not going to get much support in an investigation of this Guthre matter. It appears that in this instance we have proof that will convince any fair-minded person that a brutal attack was made on a prisoner. Several years ago a vicious assault was made on Mr. Horr in the Bush-street station of this city, after he had been arrested for distributing some anti-clerical newspapers; but in that case we could not procure affidavits to support the charges.