Interview with Sheriff James Clark


Sheriff James Clark:

We were, in Selma we were criticized, because we used night sticks a whole lot. So we decided that probably we'd receive much more effective action by using a so-called cattle prod, and the ones we had had only two small flashlight batteries in them and they produced a mild electric shock and left no bruises, no marks, no burns. And I was well familiar with them because I had been in the cattle business and it was much safer. There's not anything as strong as what they call a stun gun today. There's no comparison between the two of them. And we found that the fear of that cattle prod was the biggest thing. We didn't have to touch very many before we—the people were ready to move. We tried not to use any more force than was absolutely necessary, and this was a way of, of getting, the getting, getting the people to move along without actually injuring them. The news media blew it completely out of proportion when they compared it with the big, long cattle prods that we used in—to actually handle cattle in pens and cattle chutes and that sort of thing, but there's really no comparison there.