Rep. Birmingham said that he intended to insist on an additional probe of the circumstances surrounding the Oliver Garrett investigation, and he would demand that former Police Commissioner Herbert A. Wilson be given a hearing if he requested one, the Boston Herald reported (May 6, 1930, p. 1, 6).
Wilson was dismissed as police commissioner on May 5 by Gov. Frank Allen, with the agreement of the Executive Council. In addition, the legislature’s Joint Rules Committee decided against letting Wilson speak at a May 6 hearing on the Warner report.
Wilson was fired following a report by Attorney General Joseph Warner into police department corruption. In particular, the report examined the granting of a pension to Garrett, the former leader of the vice squad who was removed in response to corruption charges.
“I want Atty.-Gen. Warner in there to tell us many things omitted in the report. I want to be sure that his hands are clean. When he issued an open invitation to the world for witnesses to come forward with any additional information having any bearing on the case why did not his assistant, Mr. Clapp, volunteer to go on the stand and tell the entire story of the opinion he wrote for Wilson to submit to the Legislature concerning the second medical examination of Garrett? I also am curious to know why it was written at the Yale Club.”
“I said in the Legislature at the time that the opinion was illegal and that it would not be upheld in any court of law. I understand that Representative Renton Whidden has a photostatic copy of that opinion written in Clapp’s handwriting. I want all these facts on it because if it is legal it has pinned Garrett’s pension definitely to the statutes.”
“Warner’s report did not go far enough. The supreme court, in an opinion given him, said that no legislative recommendations were required, but it did not say that he couldn’t make any recommendations. Are there some higher-ups being protected? If there are, we certainly want them exposed and the way to do it is to permit Wilson to come before the rules committee and tell his story publicly.”
Rep. Birmingham left a May 6 closed door meeting of the Joint Rules Committee an hour after it had begun in protest because he objected to the Garrett report not being discussed in a public hearing so that Wilson or anyone else could speak about it.
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