Interview with Sheriff Mel Bailey
QUESTION 20
INTERVIEWER:

OK, I'D JUST LIKE YOU TO PICK UP THAT STORY, SORT OF WHERE YOU LEFT OFF THAT AL LINGO HAD ALL THESE PEOPLE ENCLOSED.

Sheriff Melvin Bailey:

The disc jockey, Shelly the Playboy, local disc jockey, says "Sheriff, can't we get these people out of here? they're about to stampede and somebody's going to get walked on and hurt, probably smothered, killed." And I had a little bit of trouble getting the state officers to appreciate the fact that you were creating the crisis, you weren't solving it. And they didn't appreciate that but we moved them. Let those people go. This occurred many times, there was, I'd be, again, less than honest to tell you that law enforcement worked in complete harmony and concert. There was truly a difference between what had to be done and what the state Department of Public Safety was trying to do as a force coming from the governor's philosophy of segregation now and segregation forever. Likewise with Bull Connor, it was clearly understood, but these men were sworn officers and I was banking on that oath in their, deep in their mettle, to carry out their responsibilities. And this I say again happened numerous times and it came a confrontation later with Colonel Lingo and myself. He made an arrest in a bombing case that clearly was an interference with the Birmingham police department investigation, and he wanted me to accept the arrest and I said "No, that's a case the Birmingham police was investigating. You can't put these people in jail in the county. Go through the city and work this case." He didn't like it but they did it. And I predicted correctly that you going to lose the case because you just don't have anything to—no elements of prosecution.