DENIES VICE KEY TO
Dean Sumner Issues Statement After Wheelock Asks for Information.
GIST: "GET IT YOURSELF.’
Plea Made in Effort to Save Expense to City Fails; O’Keefe Attack Is Reported.
Data upon violations of the law in the vice districts of the city collected by the Chicago vice commission will not be given to the city civil service commission to aid the latter body in its present investigation of police protected vice.
This fact was made plain last evening when Dean Walter T. Sumner made public a statement showing the attitude of the members of his commission in this regard. The statement also brought forth an assertion — quickly followed by a denial — to the effect that the city investigators had asked for and been refused the so-called "key" to the vice report at a meeting attended by W. W. Wheelock, chief counsel for the civil service body, and the members of the executive committee of the vice commission.
Dean Sumner, in giving out a formal statement of the commission’s reasons for refusing to furnish information to the city commission, also made public his letter in answer to the commission. In it he state that Mr. Wheelock had asked for the names in the vice report which were omitted in the published copies.
Text of Dean Sumner’s Statement
The statement follows in full:
"Since the submission to the mayor and the city council of the vice commission report various requests have been made for the names omitted from the report. Some of these requests have undoubtedly been made by those who would make honest use of this information; many no doubt by those who would use it for dishonest purposes.
"It is most apparent from the consideration of the facts leading to the appointment of the commission and the particular work it was directed to do as contained in the ordinance creating the commission and mayor’s statement to the press of the same date, that a compliance with requests would not be consistent with the intention of the mayor and the city council in creating this body.
"The mayor specifically stated at the time that the commission was established ‘to deliberate on the question [problems of vice] and to present the results of their deliberations for the consideration of the community and the guidance of those charged with administration of the municipal government.’
Prosecution Not the Aim
"It was clearly understood that the material secured from the sociological study and deliberation was not for prosecuting purposes. Had any other understanding obtained it is questioned if any member of the present commission would have acted in the capacity as a member of the commission. The commission was specifically appointed to discover causes and recommend a remedy. This it has done
"By way of furnishing exact facts as to existing conditions, the report contains statements of actual cases of violations and evasions of various laws. The statements of these cases were made not for the purpose of laying cases before the proper authorities for the institution of prosecutions, but for the general purpose of showing weak points in the present method of administering and enforcing laws affecting vice.
"The laws and machinery to execute and enforce them were in existence long before the commission was thought of. The vice commission was not appointed to do the work of prosecuting officers, grand juries, state or city commissions, or other inquisitorial bodies, but to do its own work in its own way, and, among other thins to report its conclusions as to why conditions were as bad as they are.
Prosecutors Should Seek Evidence
"The report shows that much can be accomplished by a more vigorous enforcement of existing laws by existing governmental machinery. Obviously, these agencies, most of which are vested with more power and greater facilities than was the vice commission to assist them in the exercise of their functions out to bring themselves up to that point of effective activity which will enable them to get the desired information first hand for themselves. A more effective exercise of existing governmental functions with reference to the repression of vice was one of the main recommendations of the commission.
"For any city, county, or state agency to state that it will be hampered by a failure to get the key to the vice commission report is an admission on the part of that agency of a lack of ability to execute the powers it possesses in the proper discharge of its duties. If new cases of evasion or violation of the law, similar to those stated in the commission’s report, are at present occurring, existing official agencies ought to be able to ferret them out and secure information in the same manner in which the vice commission secured its information.
Wheelock Meets Vice Commission
"I first met Dean Sumner," Attorney Wheelock said, "and asked him what the members of his commission would say to giving us such information as they had collected for the vice report. At his suggestion I met the executive committee of the vice commission on Friday at my office. Besides the dean, Dr. W. A. Evans, John L. Whitman, Edwin W. Sims, Edwin M. Skinner and P. J. O’Keefe were present.
"I told them that their commission had made its investigations with municipal funds and that our investigation also was being carried on with the city’s money. I suggested that by giving us their findings they would save money for the city, as we would have to put investigators to work to duplicate the information.
"I didn’t want the key and told them we did not want to ask them for any information they had obtained in confidence. It did feel that they might have some facts which they could disclose, however.
"I am surprised to hear the answer to our request has been made public, as we have not yet received the letter of denial from Dean Sumner. Further, I am certain the vice commission members do not mean to say we have requested this ‘key’ or have asked for names given them in confidence."
Attack by O’Keefe Reported
Mr. Wheelock refused to say what, if any further steps would be taken to obtain data from the vice commission.
From another source in close touch with the present investigating commission it was learned that the Friday afternoon conference between Mr. Wheelock and the vice commission members was lively at times and that the climax of a warm controversy was reached when Mr. O’Keefe made an attack upon the present city administration and the civil service commission which is prosecuting the inquiry. He declared conditions were vile in the levee districts and insisted they would not be improved.
"The whole purpose of this investigation," he is reported to have said, "is for the sole purpose of getting the scalp of my old friend, Inspector Nicholas Hunt, one of the few honest men on the force and a man who never took a dishonest dollar from a notorious woman or gambler."
More Policemen Held Blind
Plain clothes policemen who were on duty during the gambling saturnalia which lasted throughout the South Chicago carnival the week of June 16 to 23 are to be hauled before the civil service commission tomorrow to tell why they allowed the games of chance to operate under their eyes.
Assistant Chief Schuettler’s gambling squad was busy throughout the afternoon but found few handbook makers. Only one man was arrested, this being in a raid on a saloon at South Peoria and West Adams street. According to the police, he is known as "Brockey Charlie."
Inspector Hunt’s men made two arrests upon complaint of Thomas Courtney, a former constable, who is said to have seen the men accused, John Summers and Edward Davis, accepting race bets. Both declared they never made a handbook in their lives. Summers said he was a jewelry salesman and an organizer for the Woodmen of the World.