Meacham Park, July 18, 1958: Residents Scuffle With Police, Chase Out of Village
Posted by 1877 on 2015/07/13
The following are two news article from 1958, when residents of Meacham Park chased police out of their neighborhood. Chants of “Little Rock” are most likely a reference to the civil rights struggle happening at the time in Little Rock, Arkansas which had intense scenes of police violence and repression.
In recent years, Meacham Park has been the home of two copkillers (Kevin Johnson and Charles Lee “Cookie” Thorton), and in 2004 was the scene of a group of youths chasing police officers out of the neighborhood with bottles and rocks.
NEGROES RIOT, FIGHT POLICE IN ST. LOUIS
The Miami News, June 20, 1958
Rioting Negroes chanting “Little [Rock] Little Rock” battled St. Louis County police early today after an officer arrested a 17-year-old youth on a traffic charge.
About 35 Negroes from the village of Meacham Park near suburban Kirkwood were involved in the hour-long riot, police said. Seven were arrested after four patrol cars were called.
Bricks and stones were hurled at the car of patrolman Richard Seger, 25, who had stopped Lee W. Lawrence, 17, on a careless driving charge.
Seger said he ordered Lawrence out of the car for a search and the boy came out fighting.
Other men came out of nearby houses and taverns as Seger sought to subdue Lawrence and his 17-year-old companion, Alfred S. Jackson.
“It seemed like there were a 1,000,” Seger said, “but I guess there weren’t more than 35 or 40.”
Seger said he battled his way back to his patrol car and radioed for help. Then a brick crashed through the window of the patrol car and struck Seger in the arm. The group chanted “Little Little Rock.”
Four patrol cars quickly arrived.
Lawrence, Jackson, and five others were taken to headquarters and booked on charges of assaulting an officer, inciting a riot and resisting arrest.
NEGROES CLASH WITH OFFICERS IN ST. LOUIS
The Palm Beach Post, June 21, 1958
Police cars were stoned and one policeman was injured in an hour-long riot Friday of 35 Negroes over the arrest of two Negro youths on traffic charges.
“Little Little Rock,” the jeering Negroes chanted. Two shots were fired from a riot gun to keep the angry crowd of Negroes back. A brick was bounced off the head of one White policeman who also was struck with fists.
Eight Negroes, seven men and a 14-year-old girl, were arrested.
The Negroes closed in a White county policeman who started to arrest the two Negro youths. The policeman, Richard Seger, 25, said he used a short leather strap, called a “slap strap,” when the teenagers resisted arrest.
Seger said he had arrested Lee Wm. Lawrence, 17, for driving a truck without an operator’s license when another Negro driver spun the wheels of his car and sprayed him with gravel.
Seger reported that when he started to arrest the other youth, Joseph Rogers, 19, a scuffle broke out and Lawrence joined in the attack on the policeman.
Witnesses accused the police with unnecessary roughness but Seger insisted the trouble began after he was attacked. Four patrol cars were dispatched to the suburban village of Meacham Park in answer to Seger’s call for help.
The crowd of Negroes grew. When police reinforcements arrived they found Seger holding the crowd back with drawn revolver. The other policemen joined him. They stood back-to-back with revolvers drawn facing the crowd as shouted curses were exchanged.
As police left with the arrested, Seger’s car was showered with stones.
Later warrants were issued charging Lawrence and Rogers with assaulting an officer in the performance of his duty. Lawrence was also charged with driving without a license and Rogers with careless and reckless driving.
Four of the others arrested were charged with resisting and opposing a police officer. The seventh man was released.