Interview with Deborah Johnson

Did you actually see Fred's body?


No. No, I didn't see Fred's body as I left the apartment. As they took us out of the apartment towards the front, I made a point not to look in that direction. I was afraid of what I would see. And I didn't know what I would do if I saw Fred there bloody or dead. So I didn't look down; I didn't look around; I just looked straight ahead, and really concentrated on walking straight, not stumbling, really lifting my feet up, you know, so that I wouldn't fall, and they would say, "Oh, she tried to escape," or something. They took us down the stairs and put us in a paddy wagon, the police did, and they took us to, I think, ah, Wood Street district. The policemen there, one policeman came in, and they kind of tried to play this good cop-bad cop role. One cop was real mean, another one was nice, and, well, you can talk to me, and this sort of thing. And, ah, a reporter came in from the, ah, Tribune. I asked him what paper he was with, he said, "The Tribune," he wanted to talk to me about what had happened. And I told him, "There's only thing you have to print in your story, and that's fascism, and do you know how to spell it?" He got really mad and stormed out of the room. They took us to I think 12th Street. At the time we were, they put me in a different paddy wagon. I guess they took the men in one, and me in another. At the time, um, all this time I just had a robe and, ah, some house shoes on, in the snow, in the cold. Ah, I was handcuffed behind my back. When they got me out of the paddy wagon, the police officer jammed a revolver into my stomach and said, "You better not try to escape." And all I could think about was, "Can't fall, look out for ice, you can't fall, because if you do you're dead." And I just really made myself walk straight and not stumble. Because I knew, I just knew I was like, oh please, just let me make it to wherever they're taking me, don't let me fall. And that was real important to me at that time. They took us to--