Last edited: December 17, 2004

Lafayette, Here We Come

Editorial reprinted from Washington Post in the Mattachine Review, July 1961.

There will hardly be a wet eye anywhere in the District of Columbia for the three Morals Division plains clothes men who were arrested in Lafayette Park by a Park Police officer one joyous night last May—and run in, presumably on a suspicion of homosexuality. There they were-quietly minding other people’s business—when Park Police Pvt. James E. Thomas, whose authority was candidly attested by his uniform, asked one of them, Det. Casimir J. Morda, what he was doing. Dissatisfied with the response, Private Thomas took Detective Morda into custody. And when Morda called to his two colleagues for help, Thomas promptly and efficiently, employing his judo training for the purpose, flipped all three of them onto their backs and into the park shrubbery.

Two questions spring to mind in connection with this incident. In a town where crime is rampant and on the increase, why should three (3) detectives of the Metropolitan Police be stationed in Lafayette Park? And why should they be out of uniform? The answer is obvious. The Morals Division clutters up Lafayette Park, a known gathering place for homosexuals, with coveys of detectives whose ugly errand is to entice some unfortunate into making an advance that can be taken as a basis for arresting him. The whole process borders on provocation and entrapment. Why should the simple job of policing Lafayette Park not be done by ordinary policemen—in uniform? Instead of commending Private Thomas for meritorious service to duty and to morality in general, Park Police Chief Harold F. Stewart suspended the officer, a 10-year veteran on the force—and suspended him without so much as a formal hearing-saying that he showed "an inability to work harmoniously with the Metropolitan Policemen." In our view, he showed simply a considerable skill at judo and a highly developed sense of decency.

As it appeared in the Mattachine Review, July 1961

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