Description: Press conference at the Boston Schools Information Center on day two of Phase II desegregation of Boston schools. Footage is silent until 00:01:37. Robert DiGrazia (Police Commissioner, City of Boston) takes questions about the arrests of 74 members of the Committee Against Racism, and how the police and judiciary process mass arrests in South Boston. DiGrazia also answers questions about police restraint and police response to violence in the streets. Ed Baumeister (WGBH reporter) notes that there are many arrests for minor infractions and few arrests for major incidents. Greg Pilkington (WGBH reporter) questions the police policy of restraint. DiGrazia says that there is a difference between low visibility and restraint; that police are making arrests. J. Stanley Pottinger (Assistant US Attorney General) discusses the presence of federal marshals in Boston and the ongoing federal investigations into violations of the federal court order. Pottinger says that antibusing activity at night can be considered a violation of the court order. DiGrazia says that police are making great efforts to crack down on violence and vandalism during the evening hours. Peter Meade (Mayor's Office) reports on public safety teams in Charlestown. Marion Fahey (Superintendent, Boston Public Schools) reports on school attendance and atmosphere. She gives information on registration for students without school assignments. Reporters ask Pottinger questions about the federal investigations of antibusing activity. Reporters ask Fahey questions about school attendance and low attendance among white students. Fahey says that attendance will improve as parents and students realize that the schools are running smoothly. This tape has visible time code burned in at the bottom of the screen.
0:01:27: Visual: Press conference at the Boston Schools Information Center. Panelists assemble at a table with microphones. Reporters include Ed Baumeister (WGBH), John Henning, Greg Pilkington (WGBH), and Walt Sanders. Ron Brinn (Information Coordinator for Mayor Kevin White) begins to speak. Audio cuts in and out. 0:03:04: V: A reporter asks about the arrests of 74 members of the Committee Against Racism in South Boston, and a related confrontation with a hostile crowd at the South Boston courthouse. Robert DiGrazia (Police Commissioner, City of Boston) says he has spoken to the parties involved and that the problems at the South Boston courthouse were due to a lack of communication; that Chief Justice Flaschner will work with police and local courts to expedite the booking of arrestees; that he had previously met with Flaschner and others to discuss the expeditious booking of mass arrests; that there was confusion in South Boston on the day in question. A reporter asks if there was a firm agreement with all involved in the meeting to hold court in a venue other than the courthouse if necessary. DiGrazia says there was discussion and plans to implement action if necessary. 0:06:34: V: Baumeister points out that many arrests are made for minor infractions and few arrests are made for more serious acts of violence. DiGrazia responds that there have been quite a few arrests for acts of violence; that members of the Committee Against Racism needed to be moved in order to avoid a major confrontation along a bus route; that the police are trying to neutralize a dangerous situation; that police are showing great restraint. Pilkington points out that restraint by police was not effective during the previous year. DiGrazia interrupts him by saying that there is a difference between low visibility and restraint; that police are actively making arrests this year, but are showing restraint. Reporter asks if there is discussion of calling in the National Guard to aid police at night. DiGrazia says that police are working long hours but performing well; that there are no plans at present to call in the National Guard. 0:09:38: V: A reporter asks about the possibility of federal charges being brought against some arrestees. J. Stanley Pottinger (Assistant U.S. Attorney General) responds that charges are being investigated; that federal and state charges may be lodged; that he is personally involved with five investigations. A reporter asks how federal marshals can aid police in the evening if their mandate is to enforce the federal court order. Pottinger says that certain actions outside of school hours could be handled by the federal marshals as violations of the federal court order; that federal marshals are there to assist police; that federal marshals are working long hours. Pottinger confirms that the Justice Department is investigating an incident at the JFK Home and a Molotov cocktail incident; that they are investigating reports of direct intimidation of individuals trying to comply with the court order; that they are investigating some arrests for the assault of police officers. 0:12:38: V: Pilkington asks if the violence committed by youth gangs in Charlestown constitutes a violation of federal law. Pottinger says that the violence may be a violation, especially if the violence involves an assault on a police officer or a fire official. Reporter asks what will be done about nighttime violence and vandalism. DiGrazia says that he will increase police numbers in Charlestown and South Boston; that police will be assisted by federal marshals; that federal marshals will investigate assaults on police officers. A reporter asks Peter Meade (Mayor's Office) to clarify a statement indicating that he has complaints against the media. Meade says that it was a humorous statement directed at a reporter whom he knows well; that he would like to clarify a his answer to a question from yesterday about police presence in Charlestown. 0:15:31: V: A reporter asks Meade what public safety teams are doing to prevent violence and vandalism in Charlestown. Meade says that several people are on the streets trying to calm the situation; that Roberta Delaney (Manager, Charlestown Little City Hall) will hold a meeting that afternoon with a public safety team; that antibusing leaders in Charlestown have made it clear that they do not support violence. A reporter asks DiGrazia to compare today's violence in Charlestown to that of the previous day. DiGrazia says that police did a good job in defusing a difficult situation today. A reporter asks if federal marshals will be on duty for the evening. Pottinger says that the federal marshals will not be on patrol; that they will be available upon request from police. 0:18:09: V: Brinn introduces Marion Fahey (Superintendent, Boston Public Schools). Fahey thanks the public safety officials. Fahey says that attendance is up for both African Americans and whites; that there has been one suspension and no arrests; that the climate in the schools is good; that extracurricular activities are proceeding. Commissioner DiGrazia excuses himself and leaves. A reporter asks Fahey about low white attendance in West Roxbury. Fahey responds that they are watching the situation and will contact students who are absent. Reporter comments that attendance in elementary schools is primarily African American. Fahey says that some white parents may be waiting to assess the climate at the schools before sending their children; that she is confident that white attendance will go up. 0:21:37: V: A reporter asks Pottinger if there are some individuals under investigation who have not been arrested. Pottinger says yes, but that he will not give details. A reporter asks Fahey about students who have not yet been assigned to school. Fahey gives information on two sites where student registration will be held on the following day. Fahey asks the media to disseminate the information. Fahey says that 800 students were processed in last week's preregistration; that 400 students were processed today; that she has no way of knowing how many students still need school assignments. Fahey tells a reporter that she has no information on the suspension of an African American male student today. A reporter asks Fahey about plans to assess student achievement in the desegregated schools. Fahey says that she is working with consultants on assessing math and reading; that attendance is another indication of school performance. 0:25:21: V: Brinn interrupts to clarify Pottinger's title as he prepares to make a statement. Pottinger explains that he will be absent for a few days for personal reasons; that Robert Murphy (Civil Rights Division, US Justice Department) will be in charge in his absence. Brinn checks with Meade to see if he has a statement, then invites more questions. A reporter asks Pottinger for more detail on investigations of people who have not been arrested. Pottinger says that the investigations are centered on intimidations and threats to those trying to comply with the court order; that the FBI is investigating allegations; that it is possible to move quickly toward indictment if the evidence is sufficient; that he cannot predict when or if an indictment will occur. A reporter asks Pottinger about the five investigations he is involved with personally, and whether they concern people who have not been arrested. Pottinger says that he is familiar with five investigations concerning threats and intimidation as well as arrests made by the state; that there may be other investigations; that there are sitting grand juries available to hear these cases; that he does not think it will be necessary to empanel a grand jury. 0:28:49: V: A reporter asks Fahey where the 25,000 absentee students are. Fahey responds that she does not know. A reporter asks for a summary of the attendance figures. Robert Donahue (Boston School Department) says that the attendance has increased; that some parents have kept children out of school; that attendance will increase as it becomes clear to parents that schools are functioning normally. Fahey gives a rundown of attendance figures for the first and second days of school: that attendance was 60.3% and 64.1% at the high schools; that attendance was 60.1% and 65.8% at the middle schools; that attendance was 58.1% and 64.9% at the elementary schools. 0:30:44: V: Brinn thanks the panelists and closes the press conference. Baumeister gives a summary of the conference. Reporters mill around the room.
Collection: Evening Compass, The
Date Created: 09/09/1975