Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Kick in their asses if you have to"

Jack Muller (1923-2005)
Kids are constantly telling me, for instance, how 'the pigs' caused the 1968 Democratic Convention fiasco in Chicago and the Conspiracy Eight trial which followed. No way. There were no doubt some sadistic policemen brutalizing the demonstrators. Cops are people, and we have our rotten apples. But the majority of us, like the majority of you, would like to come home each night feeling we've done a good job. Only we can't if we're ordered to do a bad job, to act like pigs. 
The 1968 Democratic Convention? Mayor Daley--not the kids--provoked us. It's that simple. Take it from someone on the inside. 
When the Yippies first started coming in and trying to get permits to sleep out in the park and demonstrate, it was our wise Mayor who went right on TV and orated to this effect:
No bunch of hippies and yippies are going to come into this town and take it over. Our police department knows how to handle people who get out of line! 
He made the same waves in private that he did in public. And every policeman, high and low, felt the backwash. 'Daley wants us to keep the Convention quiet at any cost,' one of my superiors told us. 'Kick in their asses if you have to.' 
Not that some of the kids weren't deliberately trying to provoke violence. Not that some of them weren't high on drugs. Not that a lot of them weren't kids at all, but forty-year-old guilt-ridden liberals looking for purpose and excitement. But if you really want to know where it all really started, who is really guilty for the 1968 Democratic Convention fiasco, don't put it on the pigs. 
Blame the farmer.
Excerpted from "I, Pig Or How The World's Most Famous Cop, Me, Is Fighting City Hall" by Jack Muller (with Paul Neimark) William Morrow & Co. New York, 1971.  The book is out of print but deserves to be republished. I first read it as a teen. I see that it is available used here.


  1. Sometimes people deserve to get their asses kicked.

  2. Bruce, When I worked @ a large loop law firm my investigative partner was aa southside Irishman. There were 12 kids in his family. His old man, brothers, cousins, uncles, etc. were cops. I went to family functions and heard from these guys their side. This was in the early 80's. It was compelling and believable. They talked about the few asshole cops, but they weren't the problem. The problem were the Yippies looking to create a scene by any means necessary.

  3. Muller held a grudge against the Daley administration--that's very much the theme of the book. He saw it as a racket, trying to squash even him, but he occasionally had the press on his side. He embarassed a couple big cheeses. He wound up with a bullet in his head but lived to tell about it.