Interview with Sheriff Mel Bailey
QUESTION 9
INTERVIEWER:

OK WELL LET ME JUST ASK YOU [cough] EVERYBODY OK HERE? OK, WE HAVE SEEN A LOT OF DEMONSTRATIONS, WE'VE SEEN A LOT OF POLICEMEN INVOLVED IN VARIOUS THINGS. HOW DID POLICE OFFICERS GENERALLY FEEL ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING ON AT THAT TIME?

Sheriff Melvin Bailey:

Well, it would be grossly dishonest to say that an all white police force, as well as an all white sheriff's department—I had no black deputies at that time, we do now, many—male and female. Birmingham, even more now, but they were highly prejudiced. They were easy to side with the general thinking of the governor and the police commissioner. But that was not the issue as far as law enforcement was concerned. We were like a referee, no matter who it is, if he's safe, call it. If he's out, call it. It don't matter who he is or what color he is or she. And this is what we strived desperately, daily to do, and it went on seven days and nights around the clock for weeks and weeks here. I can still proudly say we never, we never truly had what was the case in other areas, the Watts, the Los Angeles, the New York, the Detroit, the Cambridge in those areas the utter destruction of blocks and blocks of cities.