Legal Correspondence Regarding Mr. Wadsworth's Arrest

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Legal Correspondence Regarding Mr. Wadsworth's Arrest  (1895) 
by Samuel Williams Cooper
Dear Sir - We represent Mr. F. E. Wadsworth, manager of the firm of H. Seberer & Co., Detroit, Mich. and on his behalf we desire to lodge a complaint against John D. Gable, officer No. (indecipherable). On Tuesday, November 6, Mr. Wadsworth was in the office of Scofield, Mason & Co., Cumberland and Fairhill streets, when he was unlawfully arrested and assaulte by this officer, who had no warrant at all for his arrest. This officer detained Mr. Wadsworth without a warrant, until someone from the police station appeared with a warrant. This warrant had been sworn out against him by Frederick Talbot......

Mr. Talbot accused Mr. Wadsworth of obtaining money by false pretences and, without the shadow of a case in law against him, the latter was held by Magistrate Gillespie. Mr. Wadsworth is now in Detroit; but when he comes on here to the trial of the case, I desire to present the evidence against this officer. There are far too many arrests made in this town without any warrant whatever, and I trust you will use your efforts to make an example of this officer, who admittedly, without any possible right, assaulte and detained a citizen without any warrant of law. Be kind enough to advise me what steps are required by my client in this matter.

Samuel Williams Cooper

Dear Sir - The superintendent of police has handed me yours of the 12th, together with the statement of the facts of the case as gathered by the lieutenant of the district. This department has nothing at all to do with the question whether Talbot had a right to issue the warrant for Mr. Wadsworth. The fact is that Talbot had the warrant and demanded that the officer should arrest Mr. Wadsworth. Under a rule of this department an officer is prohibited from serving a warrant unless it has been backed by his lieutenant. The officer so informed Talbot, who went off to get the warrant backed. The officer states that, while Talbot was on this errand, Wadsworth came out of the mill and the officer stepped up to him, and told him he would have to detain him, as there was a warrant out for his arrest. If that statement is correct, I cannot concede that the officer did anything wrong in the premises. If you can controvert that fact, I will order the officer up for trial and arrange for a hearing at a time to suit the convenience of your client.

Director Beitler

If I correctly understand the numerous decisions of our courts, a police officer without a proper warrant in his possession has no more right to arrest or interfere with a citizen than an utter stranger, and the mere fact that a warrant has been issued, whether properly or improperly, makes no difference whatever, unless he has it with him and is prepared to show it as his authority. Any other system of arrest is an absolute violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, and a complete subversion of the repeated decisions of our judges.

Samuel Williams Cooper (only a portion of this response remains)