On April 20, 1912, police chief Keno Wilson sent a letter to commissioner Harris Weinstock, who was investigating San Diegos infamous Free Speech Fight. In no instance, wrote Wilson, has any police officer of this city assaulted, abused, or maltreated in any way, any person whom he has taken in charge, either as an IWW or otherwise.
A few days later, Weinstock interviewed Julius Tum, a tailor from Germany. The poor, inoffensive, harmless young man Weinstocks words had come to San Diego and joined the local union. After a long search, on March 26 he landed a job with J.W. Brem, a prominent tailor, and, says Brem, did satisfactory work.
His second day on the job, Tum wore a red tie. Within the hour, police arrested him. When Chief Wilson asked why red, Tum replied, Why do you wear a blue one? Convinced Tum hadnt heard of the IWW or socialism, Wilson let him go. On his way home, out of curiosity Tum stopped at IWW headquarters at 13th and K, and bought some ten-cent pamphlets.
The next time he wore the red tie, on April 4, three policemen burst into the shop. Youre wanted at city jail, blurted one, as the others cuffed and dragged Tum out the door. This time, Wilson said, Give him the same as the rest.
Officers shoved Tum into the back seat of a patrol car. On the ride north, two rifles were pointed at his chest. Other cars police and civilian carried other prisoners. The caravan drove to the city limits at Sorrento Valley, where vigilantes awaited them at the police substation.
A large American flag hung from a long beam. Kiss it, one ordered Tum.
I had no objection, Tum told Weinstock, and said I would. But as he stepped forward, a club bashed the back of his head so hard, he thought his skull had split. Then others crowded around and showered blows with clubs and stones on my body. They aimed at my head and face and rarely missed. This beating lasted for about 20 minutes.
Feeling the fog of at least one concussion, Tum dragged himself off. Behind him, he heard grunts and cries and the crack of breaking bone.
Vigilantes herded their prey into cars. They drove to the county line at San Onofre, where an even larger mob of police, constables, and civilians searched them and took Tums money.
From photos shown him later, Tum identified several vigilantes. Francis J. Bierman, a writer for the San Diego Union, was in command, Tum said, which explained why they called him Captain. Officer Charles de Lacour and detectives Joe Myers and Harry Sheppard stood close by, as did J.M. Porter, Walter P. Moore, and Ed Walsh the last three, Tum told the Los Angeles Express, are real-estate men.
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Violence against free-speech activists.