Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1.
Testimony of Peter Foley, 1886 July 19.

Volume I, 266-274, 9 p.
Foley, Peter.
Police Officer, Chicago Police Department.

Direct examination and re-direct by Mr. Grinnell. Cross-examination by Captain Black. Testified on behalf of the Prosecution, People of the State of Illinois.

Police officer, at the Haymarket meeting. Claims in his testimony to have seen Samuel Fielden shoot at the police from behind the wagon. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): position of the defendants and others on the speakers' wagon (vol.I 272), street lights and/or lights on the wagon (vol.I 272), actions of police during the Haymarket meeting (vol.I 267), trajectory of the bomb (vol.I 267), time and place origination of the gunfire (vol.I 268).

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produced as a witness on behalf of the people, being first duly sworn, testified as follows:

Direct examination by

Q You are a police officer?

A. Yes sir.

Q How long have you been on the police force?

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Q Going on four years.

Q Whose company were you in at the time of the Haymarket riot?

A. Lieut. Bowler's.

Q Which side of the street were you on?

A. I was on the east side of the street.

Q Is that the same company that Wessner was in?

A Yes.

Q Immediately behind Steele then?

A. Yes.

Q Where were you in reference to the sidewalk were you? How near to the sidewalk were you?

A. I was within two or three feet of the sidewalk.

Q Did you see that bomb?

A. Yes.

Q Where was it when you saw it? What was the shape of its course through the air?

A. It was the same as if you got hold of a ball and threw it up in that direction, (indicating).

Q Where was it in the air?

A. It was coming from the northeast, where I stood.

Q Was it still going up, or had it begun to fall when you saw it?

A. It was going up, sir.

Q Did you see enough of it to determine its size or shape--that is, to get in your own mind its size or shape?

A Well, I could not exactly say as to the size of it, but I saw the fuse, and I turned around and looked to where it fell, and after it dropped in the rear of the company I turned back again and it exploded.

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Q In reference to the explosion of the shell when were the shots fired?

A. Well, the report had not died away when the shots were fired.

Q From whom did the shots come?

A. From the parties that were on the sidewalk and in front of us.

Q What did you do?

A. I got a command from the Lieutenant to draw revolvers, and I shot.

Q What did you do?

A. I drew my revolver.

Q Then what did you do?

A. I fired two or three shots.

Q Did you stand right there or move?

A. I stood right there for about a few seconds and then I went north.

Q On the street or the sidewalk?

A. On the sidewalk and I went 5 or 6 or 7 feet north of where the wagon laid, and there were three fellows crouched down by the side of the wall.

Q At the side of the wall at Crane Bros. factory?

A Yes.

Q Where in reference to those steps?

A. It was right north of the steps.

Q Those are the steps just north of the alley?

A. Yes.

Q And it was a few feet north of that that you say these fellows crouched down next to the wall?

A. Yes; the biggest of them was right near the steps; there was two about 14 or 15 years, and the other was about 18 years old, I believe;

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and I told them to stand up and I searched them, and none of them had any weapons with them, and while I was standing there I saw officer Wessner shooting at a man under the wagon and I took the biggest of the three fellows to the station and as I was going by the wagon I picked up a revolver that was laying on the side walk.

Q Have you that with you?

A. Yes.

Q Where was the man that Wessner was shooting at at the time you picked up the revolver?

A. I could not say whether he had left there at that time or not, but when I came back from the station he left there; there was nobody there.

Q Have you got the revolver?

A. Yes.

THE COURT: Will there be any need of identifying that revolver. It may be that we can get along without exhibiting revolvers in the court-room?

MR. GRINNELL: Q. What is the calibre of the revolver?

A Thirty-eight.

Q What make is it?

A. A Harrington.

Q And not a Smith & Wesson?

A. No sir.

Q What was its condition when you found it? How many shots were left unexploded, if you know?

A. Two.

Q Is it a five or six chamber?

A. Five.

Q Three were empty?

A. Yes.

Q And two cartridges were still remaining?

A. Yes

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Q Did you see the man behind the wagon so as to describe him or know him if you saw him again?

A. No sir. I noticed him when I was going by the wagon, but I thought he was shot--when I went north of the wagon where I met these three boys. While I was standing there I saw officer Wessner shooting at the man, and when I came back with one of these boys I picked up the revolver right in front of where the man was.

Q Is it a self-acting revolver?

A. Yes.

Cross Examination by

Q Did you exhibit that same revolver at the examination the Police Court Station?

A. Yes.

Q It was loaded at that time, wasn't it?

A. No sir.

Q Are you sure?

A. I am, sir.

Q You are positive of that?

A. There were two bullets in it.

Q Three chambers empty?

A. Yes.

Q At the time that you exhibited it at the Desplaines Police court?

A. Yes.

Q Are you on detective duty?

A. Doing special duty.

Q Well, that is detective duty?

A. Well, I don't know what you call it.

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Q Is it commonly called detective duty?

A. I don't know; I believe there are two classes of detectives here.

Q Your duty when you are around in citizens clothes is to mingle with the people in such way that they wont know you as a police officer and pursue your investigation?

A. I could not answer that question. I was in full uniform that night.

Q Are you generally in full uniform or are you generally in citizens clothes?

A. I have been in citizens clothes a good deal of the last 9 or 10 months.

Q And during that time you have been upon this special service---most of the time, haven't you?

A. Yes.

Q And that special service has been in the line of what is called detective service--the investigation and detection of crime or supposed crime?

A. Yes sir.

Q And you are not a roundsman?

A. No sir.

Q Not on the patrol service?

A. No sir.

Q You have been with the police department how long?

A Going on four years.

Q On this particular night in question how near to the sidewalk were you walking in the company of which you were a member?

A I was standing at the time.

Q On the sidewalk or in the company?

A. In the company in the street.

Q In the front rank or rear rank of the company?

A. In the rear.

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Q Behind what officer were you?

A Officer Wessner.

Q You and Wessner stood in the extreme right of the company?

A. Yes sir.

Q Next to the curb?

A. Yes.

Q And next to the lamp post?

A. Yes.

Q How near to the lamp post were you as you stood there in the rear ranks?

A. I must have been about two feet from it, or two feet and a half.

Q The light was burning?

A. It was burning at that time.

Q When did you first notice that it was not burning any longer?

A. Well, I could not say.

Q You did not notice then when it was extinguished, if in fact it was extinguished?

A. No; I did not notice it.

Q There was also a light on the wagon, was there?

A I did not see any light on the wagon.

Q How far north of the alley was the wagon?

A About three or four feet.

Q How near to these steps of Crane Bros. where you made this arrest, how near to those steps or how nearly in front of those steps was the wagon?

A. It was a little south.

Q How much south do you think?

A. The wagon might be to the south of the steps.

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Q That is, the forward end end of the wagon at the south end of the steps?

A. Yes.

Q And the tongue extending still north running up past the steps?

A. Well, I could not say whether it was past the steps or not, but the wagon was south of the steps.

Q As you were going north on the sidewalk you halted as you came to these three young men?

A. Yes.

Q And that you say was just north of these steps?

A Yes.

Q Did you notice what became of Wessner when you halted to take these three men under observation?

A. I saw him firing a shot at the man laying under the wagon, but I could not say whether he hit him or not.

Q That was when you came back?

A. No; it was before I left there.

Q While you still there going through these young men he was firing at somebody under the wagon?

A. I only saw him fire one shot.

Q And the man was under the wagon at the time?

A. Yes.

Q The man was under the wagon at the time the shot was fired?

A. Yes.

Q Then as you came by you discovered this pistol upon the sidewalk?

A. Yes.

Q And picked it up?

A. Yes.

Q Where was Wessner at that time?

A. I don't know where he was at that time.

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Q He had disappeared had he?

A. I could not say where he had gone to.

Q When you picked up the revolver he was not there?

A No.

Q Was the man still under the wagon when you picked up the revolver?

A I did not notice him.

Re-Direct Examination by

Q What do you mean by his being under the wagon when you first saw him?

A. He was laying under the body of the wagon between the fore and hind wheels.

Q Was that before or after you saw Wessner shoot in that direction?

A I noticed him there when I was going north, but I don't know whether he was shot or not, and when I met these three boys I commenced to search the biggest of them, and when I turned back I saw officer Wessner fire a shot at the man under the wagon.

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