International Journal of
Peace and Development Studies

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Peace and Dev. Stud
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6621
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJPDS
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 95

Commentary

Remembering summerdale: A scandal that reformed policing

Greg Hoffman* and Anne D. Kroemer  
7700 W. Farragut Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60656, United States.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Received: 22 June 2020
  •  Accepted: 03 July 2020
  •  Published: 30 April 2021

 ABSTRACT

The following article contains never-before-published accounts from first-hand witnesses to the events surrounding the Summerdale Scandal, garnered by one of the authors in personal interviews with key stakeholders. These include interviews with former Evanston and Bartlett Police Chief William McHugh, former Illinois Police Superintendent James McGuire, former Cook County State’s Attorney Chief Investigator Paul Newey and renowned attorneys Gerald Getty, Julius Echels and Louis Galippo. Though all have now passed away, their words bring to life an event that forever changed policing in America.

In 1960, a massive scandal rocked the Chicago Police Department. Rife with clandestine schemes, audacious exploits and a level of corruption that stunned the public, the Summerdale Scandal nearly brought down the entire Chicago police organization. Once the scandal unfurled, it would transform policing, not just in Chicago, but around the country. 2020 will mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Summerdale Scandal, and once again find ourselves recovering from police corruption. The scandal surrounding the events of the 2017 Chicago Police shooting of Laquan McDonald resulted in the firing of a police superintendent, affected the decision of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel in not running for re-election, and forced the Chicago Police Department into a Federal Oversight Consent Decree. Now, as we approach the 60th anniversary of the Summerdale Scandal, it bears revisiting this transformative event that dramatically overhauled policing four decades earlier.


 PROLOGUE

The following article contains never-before-published accounts from first-hand witnesses to the events surrounding the Summerdale Scandal, garnered by one of the authors in personal interviews with key stakeholders. These include interviews with former Evanston and Bartlett Police Chief William McHugh, former Illinois Police Superintendent James McGuire, former Cook County State’s Attorney Chief Investigator Paul Newey and renowned attorneys Gerald Getty, Julius Echels and Louis Galippo. Though all have now passed away, their words bring to life an event that forever changed policing in America.
 
In 1960, a massive scandal rocked the Chicago Police Department. Rife with clandestine schemes, audacious exploits and a level of corruption that stunned the public, the Summerdale Scandal nearly brought down the entire Chicago police organization. Once the scandal unfurled, it would transform policing, not just in Chicago, but around the country. 2020 will mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Summerdale Scandal, and once again find ourselves recovering from police corruption. The scandal surrounding the events of the 2017 Chicago Police shooting of Laquan McDonald resulted in the firing of a police superintendent, affected the decision of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel in not running for re-election, and forced the Chicago Police Department into a Federal Oversight Consent Decree. Now, as we approach the 60th anniversary of the Summerdale Scandal, it bears revisiting this transformative event that dramatically overhauled policing four decades earlier.
 
By 1960, policing in America had become anachronistic. Graft, corruption, political patronage and extortion were almost routine, actually widely accepted as common practice by the ‘men in blue’. Even when officers did not participate directly in corruption, they looked the other way. Yet at the same time, our country was experiencing a renaissance of civil rights and freedoms, and the public wanted a professional, trustworthy police department. Summerdale was the spark that ignited public outrage and galvanized demand for systemic change.


 THE BEGINNING

In the summer of 1958, 23-year old Richard Morrison, a career burglar, began delivering pizza in Chicago’s 40th district, the Summerdale district. His arrest record dated back to 1953 and included burglary, prowling and petty larceny across several states. The pizza delivery job represented his stated, albeit dubious, desire to ‘go straight’; he held a second legitimate job and planned to marry. But his fate changed when he ran into a former Senn High School classmate and Chicago Police Officer Frank Faraci as Faraci exited a local liquor store. Feraci greeted “little burglar Richie” and, when Morrison asked him how he was doing, said he had been doing “better if you  would  cut  us  guys  in  on  some  of  your
jobs…you know Al Karras (another Chicago Police Officer) and some of the other fellows, and we will go along with the show. After all, we like nice things, too.” It did not take much more than this one little conversation to turn Morrison from going “straight” and heading right back into the life of crime.
 
The seeds of what was to become a full-fledged corruption ring of crooked cops were planted after a simple attempt to steal some golf clubs from car parked on an Evanston, Illinois street went awry.
On the night of July 31, 1958, Morrison went drinking with two of the Summerdale cops: Al Karras and Allen Brinn. Morrison recounted, "Al and Brinn had been asking when I was going to steal some golf clubs for them. I was getting sick and tired of them asking for them. By 11:30 that night, I was pretty loaded, so I got in my car and drove up into Rogers Park, remembered that about 20% of the newer cars had golf clubs in them so I started looking for a new one. I did not find any, so I drove up into Evanston." Unfortunately for Morrison, on the night he ventured up into Evanston, the police had set up a trap and were waiting for his arrival.
 
William McHugh, former Evanston and Bartlett police chief, was working as an Evanston detective on August 1, 1958, and distinctly recalls the night "Little Richie" made his way into his town. McHugh said, "I remember we were being hit hard by a series of car burglaries on Sheridan Avenue near the Chicago-Evanston border."  On the night of August 1, McHugh had received a tip from an informant that Morrison was looking to steal some golf clubs. Armed with this information, McHugh and his partner, Jim Walsh, who would later become Chief of the Cook County Sheriff's Police, set up a trap to nab, as he was later dubbed by the papers, the "Babbling Burglar".
 
McHugh explained how he and his partners set up the trap: "What we did was polish up a set of golf clubs, put them in the back window of a station wagon, and parked it on Sheridan Avenue." They then waited for Morrison to take the bait. Sure enough, shortly thereafter, McHugh and his partners observed a light blue Cadillac turn slowly around the corner with its lights off and stop next to the car brandishing the golf clubs. Morrison exited his vehicle and "forced open a right-front ventilator window and attempted to remove" the golf clubs. According to McHugh, "that is when all hell broke loose. After Morrison tried to break into the car, he saw that it was a trap, and tried to get out of there. Shots were fired. In fact, one of our guys had an old 'Tommy' submachine gun and started to spray everything on the street, but that little guy got out of there. It was incredible, and I have to give Morrison credit, he could drive like no one I had ever seen before. I mean, he just jumped into his car, laid his head down on the seat, and floored the car out of there at full speed without even looking. The last thing we saw was the smoke from his tires and the rear taillights on his car." This was quite a stunt for a man who described himself as drunk that night. [Note: at this time, it was lawful police to shoot at fleeing felons.]
 
Morrison evaded McHugh that night, but the police quickly located his car, punctured by a few bullet holes, close to the scene of the crime. Following an investigation, McHugh was able to track down Morrison and eventually arrest him on charges of attempted burglary. After arresting Morrison, McHugh recalls, "He was a cocky little bastard, a good little thief but cocky. He was always describing himself as the 'Master Burglar', and I will give him credit, he was a smart little thief, but boy was he a braggart. I could not understand how those guys [the Summerdale defendants] could fall for his crap. He was a thief.  It was so transparent." In fact, Morrison bragged to McHugh about his friends in the 40th district and McHugh warned the police in Summerdale to watch out for Morrison because "he was making a lot of wild accusations about the police."  Some Summerdale police officers clearly did not heed those words.
 
The Summerdale gang was a motley crew, consisting of Morrison and eight police officers – Frank Faraci, Al Karras and his twin brother Sol Karras, Peter Beeftink, Henry Mulea, Allan Brinn, Patrick Groark Jr. and Alan Clements. Morrison also had two accomplices who often joined in, Frank Wilde and Robert Crilly. This was the core crew, although other police officers were also rumored to be involved.


 LET THE CRIMES BEGIN

The first burglary took place on October 1, 1958; with winter rapidly approaching, the crooked cops wanted auto supplies for their vehicles, so they selected the Western Tire and Auto store for their first hit. Sol Karras had spotted a Browning automatic rifle in the store, and he wanted it, which gave that first burglary even more urgency.
 
When Morrison and accomplice Crilly arrived at the store, a parked vehicle was blocking the rear driveway, which they wanted to use as their entry point. They complained to Frank Faraci about it, who told them he had taken care of it: “I guess we will just have to push it out of the way.” Faraci drove up to the store in his squad car with Al Karras and got behind the wheel of the parked car while Karras pushed it out of the way with his police vehicle. With the path now cleared, and armed with a shopping list of what the cops wanted, the burglars broke in and began their job.
 
Morrison felt well-protected during this first hit because he “had the place pretty well protected.” Indeed, he had “three or four other squad cars covering the place,” with one of the protecting vehicles driven by Summerdale patrolman Allen Brinn. Morrison testified that Brinn rode up to him twice in his squad car, urging him to “hurry because … the fellows want to get in and get stuff too.” After Morrison successfully hauled away three carloads of loot to  a  rented  garage,  the police took their turn. Morrison stated: “Al Brinn, Alex Karras and Frank Faraci were carrying out boxes …. All of them were in uniform.” The quartet planned to meet later that morning at Wesley’s Snack Shop to discuss how to split up the proceeds, but then decided to postpone the meeting until later that evening; they were all too tired from loading up their squad cars with burglary loot.
 
Later that evening, the group met up at Sol Karras’s home. After Morrison gave Sol Karras the Browning rifle, he recounted, “he said thanks for giving it to him before his brother arrived because if his brother had seen it first, he would have wanted it.” After Faraci, Al Karras, Brinn and Patric Groark Jr. arrived, arguments erupted over who would get what spoils. Morrison restored peace by telling the crew “we could always open another store [and you] all could have television sets and radios.” The Summerdale crew was officially in business, and for the next nine months, would be hard at work, stealing from those whom they had sworn to protect.
 
Faraci selected the crew’s next target, the Sinclair Gas Station at 5452 N. Clark, because a pane of glass was missing from its sliding door, making entry relatively easy. During this burglary, Al Karras and Peter Beeftink carried stolen loot from the station to their squad cars. They hit the Self Furniture Store at 6322 N. Broadway the next day, stealing furniture and drapery their wives wanted. The Summerdale operation was humming along until October 16, 1958, when their hit of Stetler’s Music Store at 5355 N. Clark Street nearly went awry. Morrison testified that he had just broken into the store and pocketed $150.00 "when car 207 pulled up at a 45-degree angle with the red light on and the spotlight flashing. I saw Frank Faraci behind the wheel. I ran out the back door." Apparently Faraci heard the call of a "burglary in progress" over the radio while he was at the 40th district station. According to Morrison, "He happened to hear this call and he happened to know it was me in the place." In his confession, Morrison explained how Faraci rescued him that day, "He shot down there in [squad car] 207 and blocked the street, and he hit the window of the place." Morrison continues, "Frank Faraci blocked the street from the [detective] bureau car" which enabled him to flee and successfully escape. Faraci caught up with Morrison later that day and told him, "Boy, did you have a close call," adding that he drove over "80 miles an hour down Balmoral Avenue" in order to get him out of there. In appreciation for rescuing him, Morrison gave Faraci the $150.00 he had pocketed during the burglary.
 
A few nights later, Morrison was riding in a squad car with Faraci and Al Karras when they were passed in the opposite direction by a squad car driven by Officers Peter Mulea and Henry Beeftink. Faraci, Karras, and Morrison were planning a burglary, and because of their greed, they did not want any other policemen involved. When Mulea and Beeftink made a U-turn, Faraci ordered Morrison to lay down and hide in the back seat of the car, after which a bizarre chase between the two police cars began. Morrison recounted, "We drove up and down alleys and finally wound up driving the wrong way on a one-way street. I jumped out when Faraci slowed down and rolled under a parked car. Just then, the other car with Hank Mulea pulled up behind." Morrison continued, "Mulea got out and walked over to Faraci and asked Frank, 'What's going on? We playing games tonight?'" An argument then broke out when Mulea exclaimed he saw "little Richie" in the back of Faraci's car. Faraci responded by saying Mulea "was seeing things" and the argument finally ended with Mulea saying, "Well, if there's anything going on tonight, we would like to get in on it.”
 
Tensions and rifts were forming within the Summerdale crew around this time, with different members becoming suspicious of each other, and Morrison decided to take a break. Visiting Las Vegas, California, Missouri, Texas and several other states, he continued his criminal activities, spending counterfeit $100 bills everywhere he went. Upon his return to Chicago, he was ready to resume burglaries with the Summerdale crew, only to discover that the Summerdale burglars had been committing hits without him. The cops were growing rapacious in their greed and careless. At one point, they offered Morrison a police uniform to wear on ‘jobs’, but Morrison did not want to go through the trouble of changing clothes. He later explained: “All these guys were doing anything for a dollar. They were greedy. They went for anything from automobiles parked in the streets to gumball machines.” Of course, Morrison was equally acquisitive, but he was a burglar and proud of his profession, while the cops were truly a disgrace to their own.
 
In his first job following his return to Chicago, Morrison teamed up with a new Summerdale cop, Alan Clements. In February 1959, Clements suggested they burglarize Danny's Squirrel Lounge at 6600 N. Sheridan, a bar Clements had previously owned.  According to Morrison, "Al Clements said to me that he would like to get in on doing some burglaries with me, but that he did not want to do them with any of the other fellows in the district. He said he would like to do them on his day off if possible." During the burglary of the Squirrel Lounge, which took place on March 3, 1959, Morrison was aided by his accomplice, Floyd Wilde. Morrison nabbed 10-20 cases of whisky for Clements -- who acted as a lookout for the two -- and gave him $20 of the cash he had taken from the jukebox.
 
By the spring of 1959, the Summerdale crew’s burglaries had grown increasingly audacious and reckless. During a shoe store burglary on Devon Avenue, the cops stole $14,000 worth of shoes. Morrison remarked: “One of the policemen [Patrick Groark Jr.] was drunk … and went to a tavern to try and sell them. He was selling them for $2 a pair.” After they left the tavern, “He almost piled up his car that night. We had to stop for the stoplight … and he went right through the red light and almost piled up in the drug store. He [drove] up on the sidewalk and down the street. He was real drunk. Everyone around the tavern was talking about him selling the shoes. He was a real nut … He wanted to do anything for money.”
 
As the team became more and more irresponsible, infighting between members intensified. In March 1959, the group demanded that Morrison break into the Anderson Marine Store at 5800 N. Broadway; with spring and warmer weather around the corner, Al Karras desperately wanted an outboard motor so he could cruise around Lake Michigan with his boat. “Listen, Dick,” he scolded Morrison, “you have been stalling on Marine Supplies and spring is here now, and tonight you are going to open that place up for us.” Morrison later testified that he agreed to break the store’s windows but refused to actually enter the store to burglarize it, fearing it was too risky with all the many late-night taverns in the area. In spite of Morrison’s misgivings, he and his accomplice, Wilde, hatched a simple plan: throw bricks through the window and wait for crooked cops Al Karras and Patrick Groark, Jr., to arrive; the latter would then fire a couple of shots in the air, as if they were chasing the burglars, and then they would loot the store for themselves.
 
The plan worked well, but Morrison wanted to prove his point and give the reckless cops a scare. “We decided to walk down the alley like pedestrians,” he recounts. “All of the sudden we see them both stop…with outboard motors in their arms. They said, ‘Don’t move, somebody’s watching us.’ So I busted out laughing, and I said ‘you crazy jerks, it is only us.’” Karras and Groark did not find the prank amusing.


 THE UNDOING OF THE SUMMERDALE CREW

The end of the relationship between Morrison and the Summerdale cops was drawing near. Morrison was convinced that some of the crooked cops had tried to kill him in order to guarantee his silence when he ‘got shot up on Lawrence Avenue’ while committing an insurance burglary. Suffering a gunshot to the wrist, he was later treated under an alias by a known mob doctor. Then, in April 1959, Morrison became convinced that the Summerdale cops laid a trap for him during a planned Sure Save Grocery store burglary in the 1000 block of Bryn Mawr. The plan was for Morrison to break in by entering through the store’s back door, but feeling suspicious, he asked Al Brinn to look the place over first. Sure enough, after Brinn reported that the place did not look right, “the lighting was different”, he called off the heist. The next night, Morrison was stopped by a detective, who asked him why he did not hit the Sure Save. At that moment, his suspicions were confirmed. Had he burglarized the Sure Save, he would have been gunned down by detectives who were waiting for him.
 
Before the crooked Summerdale cops could kill Morrison, however, he was saved by an honest cop who arrested him on July 30, 1959. James McGuire, former Superintendent of the Illinois Police and Deputy Chief of the Cook County Police, remembers first hearing about Richard Morrison in 1958, from aforementioned Evanston Detective William McHugh.  At the time, McGuire was a Chicago Police burglary detective and explains, "He [McHugh] told me to watch out for this kid because he was thought to be involved with a couple of burglaries on the north side."  McGuire continues, "At the time I was busy with some other cases, so I put his [Morrison's] picture aside. But it was funny, because a short time later, I remember seeing this kid in a restaurant I was in. He was talking with a friend about his rap sheet -- that got me a little excited and I tried to squeeze over as close as possible to hear what they were saying -- when I saw Morrison pull out of his pocket a huge roll of money. It was then that I knew I should find out what this kid was up to." A short time after this encounter, McGuire and his partner, Pat Driscoll, saw Morrison driving around in a suspicious auto. After they stopped him, they discovered that Morrison was in possession of some burglary tools.  During the stop, Morrison revealed his true character: "Here, we were two experienced police officers, and he, about nineteen years old, was treating us like we were nothing. He was cocky, talking to us like he didn't have time for us."
 
The detectives made sure they had plenty of time for Morrison. They took him to the 11th and State police station to investigate him for carrying burglary tools. At the station, Morrison wasted no time exhibiting his skill in evading trouble.
 
"At the time we took Morrison in," McGuire explains, "we were investigating a pattern of burglaries at a north side department store. This place was getting hit every weekend when the store was closed." McGuire and his partner had agreed to be locked inside the store over the weekends in hopes of catching the burglar when he broke in. Says McGuire, "I remember that it was hot in there because it was summertime, and the owners would turn off the air conditioning over the weekend. Funny thing though, the guys never hit the place when we were in there. Then we bring Morrison downtown, and he tells us he can give us information on who the guy was that was hitting the store."  McGuire and his partner were taken aback by this comment -- no one was supposed to know they were conducting this surveillance. But as McGuire states, "This little guy knows the whole time we're sitting in there, sweating, and I knew then he must have been getting information from someone on the inside." McGuire agreed to use Morrison as an informant, releasing Morrison in exchange for information, but the little burglar ended up giving them false and useless information. By the time they realized he had misled them, he was again on the loose.
 
This incident was a telling example of Morrison's character: he was arrogant and overweening, but he was also shrewd and able to adeptly extricate himself from thorny situations. This strategy would later cause the Summerdale Scandal to unfurl, but it would not help Morrison escape the next time he ran into Driscoll and McGuire.
 
With Morrison back on the streets, McGuire was again searching for him. "We get this information that Morrison is staying in this apartment," said McGuire, "but when we get there it is dark inside and nobody's answering the door. We know he is in there, because this was a good tip, so we go around back and find an open window. I lifted one of the guys up through the window and he unlocks the back door for the rest of us." When McGuire and his partners entered the apartment and turned on the lights, there was a surprise waiting for them: "We turn on the lights and see him [Morrison] standing there with a gun in his hand. But being faced against four police officers, I guess he thought better and threw the gun away." When the detectives brought Morrison in, he did not act like he did the last time McGuire had him downtown. Said McGuire, "He was scared and very cooperative. He copped out to a whole bunch of burglaries he was involved in. He was scared because he knew we had him."
 
Morrison was in disbelief; it looked like the criminal justice system had finally caught him. He tried to work out a deal for a short prison term but was denied; he reached out to friends but was turned down. Bribes, which had always worked in the past, could not help him. Nobody was stepping forward; he had been abandoned to take the fall. Crafty, arrogant, clever Morrison was stuck. But -- he would do anything he needed to do to avoid the penitentiary, and he still had one last card to play to gain his freedom. On October 10, 1959, Morrison agreed to meet Cook County Public Defender Gerald Getty, later famous for defending mass killer Richard Speck, and started talking – and one of the most influential scandals in the history of policing was finally discovered.


 CONSPIRACIES REVEALED

Gerald Getty, whose tenacity brought the police scandal out in the open, recalled his first meeting with Morrison: "I remember when I first met him, he was a cocky little guy, like a banty rooster. He only started to rat on those guys when he felt that they had abandoned him." Morrison related to Getty the incredible story of how the Summerdale cops had helped him orchestrate and execute scores of burglaries. Getty, of course, was suspicious; he had heard other stories from defendants who would say anything in order to avoid the penitentiary. "We made a check on whether or not this was just a line, or whether he was just dreaming this stuff up. He had given us the date, time, and location of each burglary and [what] each officer got -- golf clubs, drapery -- so it was easy to check out."  Getty sent out his investigators to check Morrison's stories and interview several store owners. Each time, the investigators discovered that the information provided by Morrison was remarkably, startlingly accurate.  "The information Morrison gave us," says Getty, "was the same as what the store owners were telling us.  This was no coincidence."
 
Getty then gave Morrison a lie detector test, which he "mostly" passed, and informed State's Attorney, Benjamin Adamowski about the staggering results of his investigation. According to Getty, in return for his cooperation, Morrison "was going to go bye-bye – [serving] no time -- and they would get him out of town and down to Florida." Getty's job was complete. He had prevented Morrison from going to the penitentiary, and now it was the job of the State's Attorney to nab the criminals who were hiding behind their badges and bring them to justice.
 
The man tasked by State's Attorney Adamowski to follow up on Morrison's allegations was Chief Investigator Paul Newey. Newey, who had worked with the Treasury Bureau, the Federal Narcotics Bureau and the Central Intelligence Agency before taking the job as Chief Investigator for the State's Attorney, had the training, background, and integrity to deftly supervise the operation; it would eventually lead to the arrest of eight Chicago Police officers and change the department forever.


 “MISSION IMPOSSIBLE”

Newey vividly recalled the events leading to the capture of the eight Summerdale police officers. "When I first met Morrison and took his statement," said Newey, "I thought it was almost impossible for him to be able to recall all that he did." He continued, "In all my experience in law enforcement, I never met a man with such a memory: he knew places, men, squad car numbers, times, the loot taken -- everything!" Like Getty, Newey verified the accuracy of Morrison's statements and following his investigation, it became completely, alarmingly clear that uniformed members of the Chicago Police Department were in fact engaging in burglaries while on duty. Said Newey, "Morrison's information checked out perfectly. I could not believe it. All the way down the line, everything he had told us turned out to be true. After reporting this information to State's Attorney Adamowski, the two devised a plan on how they were going to take the corrupt cops into custody.
 
Only top members of the Chicago Police Department were informed of the planned arrest of the eight police officers. Even this was done reluctantly; the State Attorney's office wanted to surprise the officers and arrest them late at night before they had the opportunity to dispose of any evidence. If other members of the Chicago Police Department were involved, the officers would surely be tipped off.  As it turned out, even limiting the information to the top brass did not prevent at least one of the officers from learning about the forthcoming raid.
 
Leveraging techniques he had picked up while working as an agent in the CIA, Newey devised a clandestine operation in which the officers would be taken into custody in their homes, shortly after they retired to bed. Eight teams of specially selected officers were given sealed orders that were not to be opened until a designated time. Once they had read the concealed information, these teams then struck the homes of each of the eight police officers simultaneously, alleviating any possibility that the suspects would be alerted. On January 15, 1960, the teams -- led by Chief Investigator Newey -- hit their targets, and by 4:00 a.m., when it was over, eight police officers were in the hands of the State's Attorney – along with four truckloads of stolen goods. Newey exclaimed, "The plan was executed perfectly; even today I wonder how I was able to pull all the things together ... it was like “Mission Impossible."
 
After the arrests, Newey went to each of the corrupt officers’ homes to recover an abundant amount of stolen property from all homes except one; Patrick Groark, Jr. managed to elude investigators. Groark was extremely well-connected in the police department and came from a long-standing police family, so it is likely that he was somehow tipped off and managed to dispose of incriminating evidence. Regardless, too was indicted.
 
Truckloads of loot were recovered in the other officers’ homes. Faraci turned out to be the most reactive, yelling at Morrison, calling him names and cursing in English and Italian, decrying his disloyalty and betrayal, shouting “I brought you to my home! I fed you!”
 
All of the officers taken into custody were processed at the Union League Hall in order to avoid media attention, but the following morning the Chicago Sun-Times broke the story. The public outcry that followed was swift, vocal and compelling; it would have an everlasting effect on the Chicago Police Department and the City of Chicago as a whole. At a press conference the following morning, State's Attorney Benjamin Adamowski stated, "Instead of police protection, people in that North Side area were getting police participation in crimes. If I were police commissioner, I think I would be concerned that similar situations might exist in other police districts."
 
Newspapers reported that in the Summerdale district, burglaries were up 48% compared with an 11% increase city-wide. Heavy losses forced many store owners out of business, and many more store owners had their insurance premiums cancelled or heavily increased. One victim, the owner of the Western Tire & Auto Store, related, "These guys broke into this store four times and cleaned it out. Guns, television sets, appliances, everything that was not nailed down.  Then I will be a [expletive] if one of them did not come around at Christmas time and ask for a handout." The crimes committed by these officers, and countless others who had not been caught, were no longer going to be accepted by the public.  As a result, there was an immediate demand for change from all sectors and the previously omnipotent Mayor Daley eventually had to acquiesce and give in to that change.


 THE TRIAL

On June 26, 1961, the trial for the eight Summerdale crooked cops began. Judge James Parsons presided – one of the first African American judges on the Criminal Court bench and later the first African Amereican judge to be appointed to the Federal bench. Parsons was widely viewed as an honest, competent jurist. The jury, comprised all females, would need thorough convincing to believe the words of a career burglar over the testimony of eight Chicago policemen. Patrick Groark Jr. dropped out of the jury trial at the last minute, requesting a bench trial instead.
 
Four special prosecutors were assigned to the Summerdale trial: Benjamin Sears, Louis Garippo, Charles Rush, and Daniel J. McCarthy. Julius L. Echeles defended Frank Faraci, Charles Bellows defended Alan Clements, George Cotsirilos defended Peter Beeftink and Henry Mulea, Martin Schwarzbach defended the Karras brothers and Stephen Levy defended Allan Brinn. Not surprisingly, the trial was a media sensation -- the courtroom was packed with reporters, and for the next two weeks the public devoured headlines highlighting the Summerdale conspiracy.
 
Louis Garippo, a former prosecutor and judge who would later preside over the John Wayne Gacy trial, recalls the Summerdale trial. He remarked, "During the 50's, there was widespread corruption in the police department. The trial only brought it out into the open. In that time, if you were a burglar, you would go out with $50.00 in your pocket -- that was how much it would cost you to be let go if you happened to be caught." During the trial, Garippo was responsible for preparing Morrison to testify. About Morrison, he said, "He was an insolent guy, prone to embellish his stories, and always making himself out to be a master burglar." Citing one example of how Morrison liked to exaggerate his stories, Garippo stated, "About the golf club case in Evanston, just before the trial, there was a story about a jewel thief in Florida who dove through the window of his waiting automobile in order to escape the police. We knew he jumped through the window too, but the way he told it, we knew he had just picked it up through the papers. It made it sound more exciting." During the trial, Garippo says Morrison held up very well. Although he tended to exaggerate his own exploits, the accuracy and detail of his statements could not be undermined. Because of the abundance of evidence, Garippo and the rest of his team felt there was little chance that the defendants would be acquitted. The defense, however, had its own strategy and hoped that if the case were positioned well, the cops could be exonerated.
 
Julius Echeles, now retired in Florida, represented Frank Faraci and remembers the Summerdale events well. Echeles, a well-known attorney at the time, served nine months at the Terre Haute Federal Penitentiary in 1957 after being convicted of selling jobs in a post office scandal. After being released, he was reinstated to the bar in 1959 – an unusually rapid reinstatement. Of Faraci, Echeles recalled, "He was sort of short, a little dumpy, devastated by the accusations." Echeles’ defense strategy was to blame the Summerdale Scandal on those who supervised the defendants. He stated, "One of the things I tried to show the all-female jury was that the man on top, the boss, the Captain, [was] responsible for those whom he supervised."
 
While lack of supervision was certainly one of the factors that created an environment in which burglars could flourish, it would be difficult to convince jurors that all the blame should fall on poor leadership. Ironically, Echeles’ defense strategy failed, but not because of its flaws but rather because of the extraordinary actions of one of his co-defense attorneys, Charles Bellows, attorney for Alan Clements. Bellows loved media attention; at one point, he rearranged seating to highlight his position, trying to steal the spotlight. Echeles described his actions: “Bellows exhibited pomposity and hypocrisy. He would demean [fellow attorneys] Schwarzbach and Levy”, undermining defense strategies to the detriment of the defendants. Echeles said the sabotaging of his case was on full display as he was cross-examining the captain of the Summerdale station. “I was giving the Captain a very hard time. It seemed the jury was reacting favorably during my swift and accusatorial cross, [and suddenly] Bellows, of all people, jumped to his feet and loudly and vigorously objected to my cross of the captain. ‘I object!' exclaimed Bellows. 'I know the Captain and he is an honorable man!'" Echeles, not easily stunned, was shocked and said, "Bellows had no right to make the objection. His malicious conduct broke the momentum of the cross. If the Captain were a friend of his, he was more interested in grand-standing and protecting his friend than helping his client, Clements, or the other defendants." Echeles noted, "Our split during the rest of the trial was, of course, inevitable."
 
Echeles recalled cross-examining Richard Morrison, describing him as “short of stature and slight of weight [with] a narrow, slightly twisted mouth -- looked like a rat.... He was one of those crooks whom you have to slap once to get him talking and twice to get him to stop." He went on to say, "I tried and did get Morrison irritated. He would answer some questions in a self-assured, sarcastic manner which did not endear himself to the jury."  And yet again, it was not the evidence – or Richard Morrison’s testimony or delivery -- that ultimately convicted the defendants; the real blow came during the closing testimonies.
 
Closing arguments were set for Monday, August 22, 1961, and the courtroom was packed. Judge Parsons permitted the standing room to be open, and because there was no air-conditioning, the doors to the courtroom were also flung open, allowing the spectators crammed in the corridors to hear, if not see, the closing arguments. Louis Garippo outlined the evidence and case for the prosecution; then the defense attorneys presented arguments for their clients. Echeles was the last to give a closing argument, and he recalled, "I was reciting Portia's close in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, ‘the quality of mercy is not strained, it dropped from the gentle heaven...' [and when] I finished; there were some tears on the jurors and sympathetic glances." Echeles and his fellow attorneys recessed with confidence, and he said, "The feeling was, we had pulled off the case."
 
However, the prosecution had saved their best for last. In a remarkable speech, Special Prosecutor Benjamin Sears reclaimed the case for the prosecution. After a three-hour closing statement, Sears ended by saying, "Were not these crimes committed in the dark of night, when peaceful citizens were asleep in bed and had the right to presume that their lives, their spouses, and yes, even their property were secured by these gentlemen in blue?"  Said Louis Garippo, "Sears' closing argument was the greatest closing argument I ever heard; it was so colorful that it swayed the all women jury to come in with a guilty verdict." Julius Echeles makes a similar comment on Sears' close: "One of the most amazing closing arguments I have heard up to then and since, and I have been in the business for fifty years. It was not the evidence. Sears won the case with his speech."
 
All the defendants were convicted by the female jury. Mulea and Beeftink, who were said to be minimally involved in the conspiracy, were each fined $500.00 each. The two immediately paid their fines and went on their way. All the other defendants were sentenced to the penitentiary: Allan Brinn, who jurors believed saved Morrison's life by warning him of a trap laid by the other conspirators, was given a lighter sentence of one to three years; Frank Faraci, Alex and Sol Karras and Alan Clements were each sentenced to two to five years; Patrick Groark Jr. was found guilty by Parsons and received a county jail sentence of six months and a fine of $1,000. Groark could have avoided a jail sentence if he had admitted his part in the conspiracy, but he refused to do so.
 
The convictions of the eight Summerdale burglars ushered in a new era in policing.  Nobody was above the law, especially the police, and the public expected more from their police department – zero tolerance for corruption is the new reality, with professionalism demanded at all levels. These are expectations that should never be forgotten or even compromised; these are also the reasons why Summerdale bears revisiting.


 EPILOGUE

Richard Morrison and the corrupt Summerdale police officer’s exploits changed policing forever. Morrison would go on to testify for the State in another Summerdale-related trial in March 1963; during  his  testimony,  he  mentioned  the  mob doctor who treated the gunshot wound to his wrist during a failed burglary. The mob did not appreciate the shout-out; later that March, when Morrison was on his way to testify, a blue Ford vehicle pulled up to him outside of the Criminal Court building and a passenger shot at him, striking his right arm. Morrison entered the Criminal Court building and called for Louis Garippo. According to Garippo, “Morrison begged me to get in the ambulance with him because he felt that the police would kill him if he were left alone with them.” The attempted mob hit on Morrison worked – when he re-took the stand, he claimed he remembered nothing about the doctor. The State subsequently had Morrison transported to the Illinois/Indiana state line and set him free; it was rumored that he moved to Florida, or the mob made him disappear, but his activities after having left the State of Illinois remain unknown.
 
The Summerdale defendants filed various appeals so it took years before any of them went to penitentiaries, and by that time, the public spotlight had dimmed and the Summerdale Scandal had faded from the news. But the effects of the scandal were everlasting, leading to immediate and long-range permanent changes in policing. Commissioner of Police Timothy O'Connor was dismissed in 1960 and a new post, Superintendent of Police, was created, with O.W. Wilson hired for the role. During his years of service, he implemented reforms that created a technologically advanced department with vastly improved hiring and promotional procedures. Because of eight crooked cops and one diminutive burglar, the department finally grew to becoming what Wilson dreamed it could be: a proud and honorable profession.





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