Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1.
Testimony of J. A. West, 1886 July 20.

Volume I, 388-392, 5 p.
West, J. A.
Police officer, Chicago Police Department.

Direct examination by Mr. Grinnell. Testified on behalf of the Prosecution, People of the State of Illinois.

Police officer at McCormick Reaper Works riot on May 3, 1886. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): McCormick Reaper Works strike, meeting or riot (vol.I 388).

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a witness for the people, being duly sworn, was examined in chief by Mr. GRINNELL, and testified as follows:

Q What is your name?

A J.A. West.

Q You are a police officer?

A. Yes sir.

Q Where were you on the third day of May in the afternoon?

A At McCormick's gates, at McCormick's Reaper factory.

Q How many officers were there with you?

A. One.

Q What is his name?

A. Condon.

Q Is he on the force now?

A. He is not.

Q You and he were there alone?

A. Yes sir.

Q I mean no other police officers?

A No sir.

Q Do you remember the hour of half past three that afternoon?

A Yes sir.

Q Where were you when the bell at McCormick's rang?

A I was at the gate.

Q Do you know where a meeting was held which was being addressed by speakers, with reference to McCormick's?

A Yes sir.

Q That is, in refernce to the locality of McCormick's, I mean.

A About three blocks east of McCormick's factory.

Q From where you were could you see the speaker's stand?

A Well, I could see some people on the car.

Q On top of a car? Too far to hear what was said?

A Yes sir.

Defendants object to the testimony of this witness.

Objection overruled; exception by the defendants,

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Q You may state what occurred there?

A As the bell rang I was standing---

Mr. BLACK--We object, as it does not appear as yet that the defendants are connected in any way with the occurrence at McCormick's.

Mr. GRINNELL.--It is only preliminary; we will connect them later.

Q Go on.

A The bell rang and the men came from work. They came out of the big gate and some went east and some west.

Q Going home, were they?

A Yes, and the crowd came from that direction, from the east, and pitched onto the men going home from work and clubbed them.

Q Now, how many were there in that crowd that you speak of?

A Three or four thousand I should think, coming across the prairie.

Q What crowd was that?

A The crowd that had been down east from there.

Q Near the speaker's stand?

A Near the speaker's.

Q They came from that direction?

A. Yes sir.

Q You could see them coming from that direction?

A I could see them coming.

Q Several thousand of them?

A. Yes sir.

Q Well, what happened?

Mr. FOSTER--We object on behalf of the defendants as immaterial, incompetent, irrelevant; I might almost say, outrageous. Are these defendants to defend against every street fight that has occurred in Chicago since Chicago was a hamlet? etc.

After argument the court overruled said objection, to

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which counsel for defendants duly excepted.

Mr. GRINNELL.-Now, Mr. West, we left off at the ringing of the bell and the crowd coming. State what occurred there? You say the men were coming out, going to their homes, to the east and the west, and the crowd was coming from the car several blocks away.

A The crowd was coming.

Q Rushed down there. Now, what was done?

A Those men that were going east home from work, the mob at tacked them, and throwing bricks, stones and sticks and drove them back, and I went up there and tried to tell them that McCormick had given the demand---and I tried to tell the mob that McCormick had given the demand of their wages that they wanted and that they should go back, but they would not; they fell right in and followed them right up, and got me surrounded, and bricked me, and I went, got into the crowd, into the mob, and went toward the patrol-box, and I turned in the alarm for the police to come at once down there for they were shooting at that time.

Q From what crowd did the shooting come at that time?

A From the mob that came across the prairie.

Q That came down from the car?

A Yes sir.

Q Had you shot?

A. No sir.

Q Had your partner?

A. No sir.

Q Were you the only two policemen on the ground?

A We were the only two policemen there.

Q Now, had those people that come from McCormick's--- did they shoot?

A. Yes sir.

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Q Those that came from McCormick's?

A As they came from McCormick's factory.

Q Well, I asked you, the people that were in McCormick's, the men that came out?

A. No sir.

Q Did they do the shooting?

A. No sir.

Q Now, what did those men do?, that is, the people that came out of McCormick's?

A They run back, some of them run in, and some run over across the river, back as far as they could get, out of the way, the best way they could, and they come right down there, and they throwed stones through the windows, and shot through the windows, and I worked my way up through the crowd, and turned in the alarm for the police to come down.

Q How long was it before the police came down,-the patrol? Well, how long did it seem to you?

A--Well, it seemed about an hour to me.

Mr. BLACK--No, not how long it seemed, but how long was it?

Mr. GRINNELL--Well, how long was it?

A Well, it was five--seven or eight minutes, Mr. Grinnell.

Q When they came down, what happened?

A They drove right in, drove right in through the crowd down towards the gate, and I tried to get back, and the crowd had got down so far they wouldn't let me back, and so I went down towards the river and got over the fence into McCormick's yards, and got in where the police were at that time.

Q What was the effect upon you personally?

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A Well, I received injuries, and I was laid up for three days.

Q Not any pistol shots?

A. No sir.

Counsel for defendants move to exclude the testimony of this witness. Motion overruled, exception by defendants.

Cross-examination waived.

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