City Marshal Files Charges
Chico Weekly Record - December 11, 1897
CITY MARSHAL FILES CHARGES.
Claims that His Officers Neglected to Arrest Jim Hale and Allowed Geiger to Kill Himself.
Every chair in the city council chamber was occupied last evening when Mayor Rodley rapped the Trustees to order, half an hour late as usual. The cause of the large attendance of spectators was the announcement that the alleged discord in the police department was to be aired. Some were there out of curiosity, and others because they would like to have a job as policemen.
The surprise of the evening came when the Clerk read a communication from Marshal Mansfield, in which both officers Henry and Walsh are charged with neglect of duty. The communication was as follows:
CHICO CAL., DEC.
Pursuant to the provisions of Article XIV of Ordinance No. 16, Revised ordinances of the City of Chico, I beg leave to report the following complaints against the Police officers C. A. Henry and H. M. Walsh, to-wit:
That on or about the 25th day of November, 1897, the said policeman H. M. Walsh and C. A. Henry failed and neglected to perform their duty as police officers, as follows: The said H. M. Walsh refused, failed and neglected to arrest one James Hale who in his presence violated the provisions of the ordinance of Chico in being on a public street of said city in an intoxicated condition, using loud and boisterous language offensive to passing persons on the street, and displaying a revolver, and guilty of a breach of the peace; and the said C. A. Henry refused, facilitated and neglected when the said matter was thereafter on said date reported to him by the said Walsh to assist in or himself arrest the said Hale or attempt so to do, or in making any attempt to prevent said Hale from further violating the provisions of the ordinances of the City, after being informed of his said condition and breach of peace.
"That on or about the 30th day of November, 1897, the said police officers C. A. Henry and H. M. Walsh failed and neglected and refused to perform their duty as police officers in permitting one Wiliam H. Geiger, at his residence on Wall street, in said City, to cut and kill himself with a knife in the presence of said officers without taking proper means or making proper attempts to prevent said Geiger from consummating his self-destruction, although both of said officers were present and saw the said Geiger engaged in trying to cut his own throat with a knife and finally, after repeated efforts, succeeded in so doing and inflicting wounds from which he afterward on said day died, when the said Geiger's life might have been and in all probability would have been saved if the said officers had taken proper means or precautions to prevent the same, when they arrived at the scene of the tragedy.
"The above complaints have been made to me by citizens of the City of Chico, and I am credibly informed that the facts supporting the same are accessible, and therefore under the provisions of Sections 6 and 12 of said Article XIV of Ordinance 16, I make this report to your honorable body for such action as you may deem proper after a proper investigation, and at any investigation you may order I will be pleased to present the testimony that has come to my knowledge. There are other complaints which are not, perhaps , of so grave a nature as the circumstances attending the above would make them. I have thought it advisable to make the above, only hoping that a proper investigation of the same will present sufficient facts for a proper action on your part, in the matter of charges against the police officers, as I do not want to appear unnecessarily critical of what I conceive to be proper conduct of the police officers of the city mentioned herein.
The report was referred to the police committee, with instructions to report on it at the meeting December 15th. At the last meeting it was understood that Officer Henry's job was the only one in jeopardy, but the Marshal has put Walsh in the category, and there is no telling but that the whole department will be in the swim before the difficulties end, as Sproul for Henry, intimated before the board that the investigation may occupy several days.
From the collection of The Comtesse DeSpair