Rep. Birmingham attacked a report prepared by Attorney General Warner on corruption charges involving the Boston police department and Oliver Garrett, head of Boston’s vice squad that was tasked with cracking down on bootlegging, the Boston Herald reported (May 25, 1930, p. 14, via Geneaology Bank).
Birmingham criticized Warner’s report and his conduct of the investigation into Garrett, who was accused of extortion and racketeering while working on the vice squad. Despite his attacks and those of other representatives, such as Rep. Roland D. Sawyer of Ware, Warner's report was accepted by the House.
Among other things, Birmingham said that Warner was complicit in having John F. Sullivan, former owner of the Ritz Hotel, committed to the Danvers Insane Hospital. This was intended to undermine Sullivan’s testimony in a trial, he charged.
Birmingham also charged the joint rules committee with being involved in an effort to stop the investigation into Garrett. The committee had denied former Police Commissioner Wilson a public hearing to prevent him from revealing information that would be embarrassing to prominent members of the Republican Party, he said.
Sawyer had earlier introduced a resolve to set up a commission of 13 members to resume the investigation into the Garrett case, but the resolve was rejected by the House. Sawyer then introduced another resolve that would create a special commission including the attorney general, one senator, and three representative, which would investigate the entire subject of the enforcement of prohibition by the police throughout the state.
Sawyer said that Republicans who favored prohibition, the so-called “drys,” were responsible for blocking the investigation into Garrett.
“Three years ago when the complaints against Garrett first were heard, the dry element backed him as an efficient officer. This room rang with the oratory of dry spokesmen who were against any investigation of Garrett,” Sawyer said.