Mr. Bill and Miz Mona

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Moose Pass Journal June 23, 2011 Dillingham Police Files Continued

Mr. Bill Says: Seems like for the moment this blog is getting filled up with only my stuff. Mona has been quite busy with taking care of Grandma Lee. At the moment, we believe Grandma Lee is in the process of leaving this world for the next one with our Lord. This may take a while, we have no idea, but she is doing quite poorly. Yet, she is such a stubborn woman with a great inner strength- so who knows? She has rallied before, but this is her worst yet. I'll keep everyone advised.

Now, to the files. This next case was really a strange one for us, but ended well. During the fishing season, Dillingham could be hit with thousands of fishermen and assorted workers for the canneries and local businesses. This made our workload triple and our two cells become quite full. We could have as much as 15-16 men in each cell. Women, will we couldn't put them in with the men, so they we often handcuffed to a chain, hooked to a wall railing outside the cell and given a chair to sit on. But one time we had a real fighter on our hands and she was put into the broom closet- once it was emptied. Not the best, but all we had. Now our vehicles, either 4x4 Blazers or one Chevrolet suburban, didn't have police cages. We either handcuffed the prisoner and seat belt them into the front passenger seat, or if real rowdy and more than one prisoner, they were handcuffed and then chained to a special hook-up mounted around the back spare tire in the cargo area of the vehicle. Again, not the best, but all we had to deal with. during one arrest I had four guys hooked up in the back of my blazer and one guy, the best behaved of the bunch, in the front passenger seat. We even once had 7 guys handcuffed and riding in the suburban and this involved the case I'm about to tell of:

On a beautiful summer day, about two weeks before the infamous fishing strike, a large fishing processor came into port. These boats would take the salmon off fishermen contracted with them and prepare them for shipment with icing or even canning. This was this boat's first time into Dillingham and carried a work force of over 80-men. They had been out working for several weeks out in the Bristol Bay area, having come up from Seattle. Well, it appeared these men thought Dillingham ripe for the taking and were soon in a whole lot of trouble.

A call came into dispatch of a major bar brawl up at the Wood River Bar. Chief Gray called out all the officers and his sergeant- which made for a total of six of us. When we responded to the bar, we found dozens of people standing around outside- some with torn clothes and several guys bleeding from facial injuries. We then heard sounds of fighting in the Wood River Cafe, which was attached to the bar and a walk-through doorway between them. The bar closed at 5 am and re-opened at 8 am, according to state law. So the hardcore drinkers would take those three hours to chow down on some breakfast, usually coffee, before resuming their drinking when the bar reopened. It was down right amazing how much liquor some of these old drinkers could handle. We called them conditioned drinkers and thankfully they almost all took cabs home.

Anyway, we all dashed into the cafe and found eight or maybe it was nine guys really tearing the place up. One of these gentlemen, who was larger than I, ( like a Japanese Gigantor), was standing against the far wall and simply punching holes in the wood wall with his fist. Chief Gray looked at me and said, "He's all yours, Godzukki!" Some say the name is spelled Godzooky, but Gray spelled it the other way. Yes, he actually wrote the name down a few times to my embarrassment.

I hustled over and first tried talking to this guy, but he refused to notice me and continued to punch the wall. Then the wrestling match was on. To keep this short I will only list the conclusion, having finally got a choke hold on him and rendered him unconscious, but my uniform looked terrible after our altercation and my jaw was sore. It actually took two sets of handcuffs to secure him and once the other prisoners were secured in the suburban, I had help carrying my guy out and securing him to the front seat of the Alaska State Trooper's car front passenger seat. Trooper Lou Reith had responded to assist us and we were happy for his help, (but afterward I doubted he'd ever be crazy enough to do it again). But then while assessing the damage inside and getting statements, we heard a loud shout outside and came out to see that my prisoner had come to and had actually broken out the front seat of the car, a Dodge Ramcharger. I didn't think it was possible. But once he had somehow gotten the front door open, he had fallen out and was now trying to waddle-run away with the seat still loosely strapped to him by the seat belt. He looked like an ugly turtle. Will Lou, me and another officer jumped him and eventually had him maced and secured in the back area of the trooper car. Lou was really-really mad and he was the one who maced the prisoner. Which is why I put him in the back of Reith's car, the prisoner stunk of mace. Myself, I was ready to club the guy several times.

Once we got them all back to the jail, we still had to wrestle some of them into the cells and were forced to put the giant into a cell all by himself. At this point he was threatening to kill even his friends. We finally got him to calm down and I got the mace out of his eyes. But I wouldn't take his cuffs off, I was afraid he'd be able to take the cell door down. He soon passed out on the mat on the floor and slept for about 15-hours or so. He had to be one of the biggest men I had ever dealt with and I felt much like David and Goliath, me of course holding the David role.

Then, while we were filling out the jail paperwork, lots and lots of paperwork, we got a all from dispatch of how several reports were coming in of a large body of men heading for the jail with plans to break out their fellow crew members. We had a good view of the harbor from the jail and sure enough, between 30 and 40 men were headed our way. Chief Gray had all of us grab our shotguns and placed one man at each corner. since I was the largest officer, he had me standing by him out front. We hadn't chambered a round yet, simply because the sound of a shotgun being chambered has an effect on people and can usually stop someone from further action. That and the sound of a cell door closing, I'd seen it drive a tough man to tears.

The group of fishermen was being led by two Chinese mouthpieces. But we could see that several men were carrying lengths of chain and everyone had a filet knife or other blade. They stopped at the Chief's command about 50-feet out front and there they made their demand to have their friends released or they planned to tear the jail apart. I felt like I was smack in the middle of a wild west movie, which seemed to fit in with Dillingham in the early 1980's.

Chief Gray ordered the men to dispurse, but they wouldn't and then with the Chinese twosome giving the commands, the bunch began to move forward. Chief Gray then asked for my shotgun. While two officers maintained their position in back and two more were at the front corners, he chambered his round of .00 buckshot and aimed it at the ground in front of them. He ordered them to stop again and when they refused, he fired. The pellets hit the dirt and then along with the gravel, struck the feet and legs of the twosome and a few others, sending them all to the ground. While they lay there in pain, crying out and cussing, the rest of the crowd fled back to the harbor. Seems that the ship officers had flown to Anchorage for the day to do business and upon their return really hit the crew hard and several men were fired and transported to the airport. We transported the wounded men to the hospital for treatment, the more serious by ambulance. But no one was really hurt that bad, accept for maybe the two Chinese fellows who had multiple leg wounds.

I was sure we were probably going to be looking at some complaints, especially from our city council, but I saw no other way to stop this band and then things really turned in our favor. Once we had these two Chinese dudes up at the hospital and their clothes stripped off, we found them covered in tattoos- from neck to belt line and wrist to shoulder. Pretty good work too. Chief Gray recognized the artwork as either Yakuzu ( Chinese organized crime) or New Tong- same thing. We ran their names through the computer and Bang! Both of these idiots had felony murder warrants our for them. They were New Tong hit men out of San Francisco and were wanted for the murder of a newsman. They had gone into hiding aboard the processor and for whatever reason, exposed themselves to the law by this foolish stunt of an attempted jail break. The very next day an FBI agent and a San Francisco Homicide officer were in town and they took custody of the two men and had them transported to Anchorage for processing. They were limping at the time, using crutches and under enough pain meds as to not be much of a problem. But they were well guarded anyway.

So it ended well. The crewmen in custody all plead guilty to a lot of charges and the captain of the boat, who finally came back to town, paid for all the damages. Amazingly, when my giant sobered up he was seriously apologetic and told me how he wasn't supposed to drink and got talked into by his friends. Their various sentences were to be served after fishing season and in Anchorage, with the captain giving his guarentee to have them show up.  But bail was still posted since these men were from Seattle.

We estimated they had done over $10,000 in damages to the bar and cafe, not to mention the state trooper car. I still recall how Trooper Reith was complaining, almost whining, on how he was supposed to explain this to his headquarters as he suspected his bosses would never believe him. But our city shop guys did the work and got the seat back in for him. Reith was new to Dillingham, having actually come over from his trooper post in Moose Pass. We would end up doing several cases together and I really respected him. He would do his 20-years and retire as a sergeant.

That's it for now. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Glad you are documenting these times in your life. I like to read about all of this. Thank you for posting. Someone Who was Bigger than you....Boy!! Now that would be large. Keep doing this and I will keep reading.