Chicago, September 1- More than 200 state and local police took up stations in Benton Harbor, Michigan Wednesday night and Thursday morning (Aug 31-Sep 1).
Chicago, September 1- More than 200 state and local police took up stations in Benton Harbor, Michigan Wednesday night and Thursday morning (Aug 31-Sep 1). Their presence appeared to have halted--at least for a while--the racial disorders which have been disturbing Benton Harbor since Tuesday.
Six hundred national guard soldiers were on alert nearby to go into Benton Harbor if needed. They were not needed. There were no serious incidents during the night as police, assisted by negro leaders, kept order. The police and negro leaders used walkie-talkie radios to stay in touch with each other.
Tuesday night, a negro youth was shot in Benton Harbor during a near riot, allegedly by a white. The negro died later in hospital. Willard Benfield, a white man, was arrested in the case but was released early Thursday for lack of evidence. Our film shows him in jail just prior to his release. Police said ballistics tests on gun Benfield owned showed that it was not the same weapon used in the shooting. The release of the suspect was expected to inflame tensions between the white and negro communities in Benton Harbor.
In the earlier disorders, gangs of negroes roamed the streets, throwing rocks and attacking stores. Officials scheduled a meeting for Thursday to learn the precise cause of the disorders and discuss remedies.