Mobsters in America – Mayor Fernando Wood and the Police Riots of 1857

 Mobsters in America – Mayor Fernando Wood and the Police Riots of 1857

 

In 1857, it was chaotic times in New York City as the city’s two adverse police forces battled over the right to arrest people, and to accept graft from anyone willing and able먹튀폴리스  to pay them.

In 1853, under Democratic Mayor Harper, the first uniformed police force in New York City was created. Their uniform consisted of a blue coat with brass buttons, a blue cap and gray pants. Led by Police Chief George G. Matsell, the police were generally more crooked than the crooks, taking bribes not to arrest people, and sometimes taking bribes to arrest people. The citizens of New York City complained that their police force, called the Municipal Police, was “the worse in the world.”

Fernando Wood was a millionaire in the real estate business by the age of thirty-seven. Buying votes through his wealth, on January 1, 1855, Wood became Mayor of New York City. Wood immediately inserted himself as head of the police graft-gravy-train, charging new police captains $200 a year for a promotion to their $1000-a-year job. Of course, to make up the shortfall, the police captains received $40 a year from each patrolman under their command. The policemen, in turn, shook down honest citizens and protected dishonest citizens, so everyone on the public law enforcement dole was quite happy to keep things just the way they were.

The New York State Legislature would have none of this. In 1857, they passed an act creating a new Metropolitan Police Force, with Fredrick Talmage named as Superintendent of the force. The legislature also ordered Wood to immediately disband his 1100 member Municipal Police Force. Wood refused, saying the creation of the new police force was unconstitutional. Thus the court battle began over which police force would be the one to patrol New York City. The Supreme Court soon voted the creation of the new police force was indeed constitutional. Yet Wood, with the backing of Police Chief Matsell, steadfastly refused to cooperate. 800 men, all aligned with the Democratic Party, stayed with Wood and Matsell. But 300 men, under respected Police Captain George W. Walling, defected and comprised the new Metropolitan Police Force, which was backed by the Republican Party.

On June 16, 1857, the issue came to a head. The street commissioner Joseph Taylor had died, and Wood, for the sum of $50,000, appointed Charles Devlin as the new street commissioner. On the same day, Republican Governor John A. King appointed Daniel Conover to the same position. As Conover entered City Hall to assume his new post, Wood had his Municipal Police throw Conover out of the building. Conover immediately went to a Republican judge, who swore out two warrants for Wood’s arrest; one for assault and one for inciting to riot. Captain Walling strode to City Hall to arrest Wood on the assault charge, but he was met by a contingent of 500 Municipals. He was allowed to enter the building and Wood’s office. But when Captain Walling told Wood he was under arrest for assault, Wood refused to recognize the legality of the arrest warrant.

 

 

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