Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Whiskey-soaked policemen go on drunken rampage

During Prohibition, lawmen across the country were tasked with tracking down and confiscating alcohol, but the illegal booze wasn’t always destroyed after it was seized. In July of 1926, in the midst of Prohibition, two Oklahoma officers went on a drunken rampage after partaking of whiskey taken in a raid and busted up three rooming houses before being brought down by fellow officers.

The trouble started in the early morning hours of July 20 in Muskogee, Oklahoma, when deputy sheriff Paul Davis and city detective Ves Cormack broke into the Maple Leaf rooming house at 1 a.m., brandishing revolvers and threatening the guests. Sleeping men were shot and clubbed and the fixtures of the house were wrecked before the drunken officers moved next door to the Antlers hotel, where the guests were brutalized in a similar manner.

A “riot call” went out and a squad of detectives caught up with their drunken brethren in the Tulsa hotel. Davis and Cormack had by this time run out of ammunition and were wielding clubs against anyone they encountered. The squad found Davis holding a dozen officers at bay in one end of the hall while Cormack was cornered in another section of the hotel. Cormack was taken into custody without incident, but as the officers were leading Davis away he grasped a club from Officer Conway, a merchant policeman, and beat him over the head with it while at the same time pinning another officer’s gun hand. Conway was able to get free and shot Davis, mortally wounding him.

In all, thirteen men were shot or clubbed during the reign of terror, and five were taken to the hospital, including Davis.

When officers searched the auto used by the rampaging duo, they found a quart bottle full of whiskey and a half dozen empties.

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