Interview with Ed Vaughn
QUESTION 9
SAM POLLARD:

OK, what happened two days later?

ED VAUGHN:

Well, two days later the, the Detroit Police Department broke into my store during the curfew at night, they took the, one of the guards that was in the door out, and used that to bust pictures that I had all across, on the walls of the, of the building. They made sure that they hit the face of Malcolm X, they hit the face of Martin Luther King, I guess the ones that they recognized. And some of the others they didn't, they didn't bother, Rap Brown, and Stokely. And then they fire-bombed the, the, the building, and left. Fortunately, the, the fire-bombing did not burn the building completely, it only burned part of the building. So the next day I came into the store and I cleaned that up and people came and began to buy books and of course, newspaper reporters came out, people from the federal government came out to, to inspect and to look. And I felt, so we cleaned up and I felt they were coming back the next night, and of course they did, they came back the next night. They knocked all of the books back off the wall, the ones that we had saved, then they took the mop and they plugged the sink up, turned the water on, and when I got there the next day there were about 8, 10 inches of water and all of my books floating in water.

SAM POLLARD:

Let's cut. Can you do that one again ?


ED VAUGHN:

You, you going to ask me a question? You going to ask me?

SAM POLLARD:

No, you can figure out, you know what--


ED VAUGHN:

Well, two days later, the Detroit Police Department broke into my store during the curfew at night, took out the, the, the uh--

SAM POLLARD:

Well, we need to know how you knew that, you saw some witnesses, witnesses told you--

ED VAUGHN:

Yes, but let me tell you what they did, then I can tell you how I found out about it.

SAM POLLARD:

Oh, OK.

ED VAUGHN:

Ah, the Detroit Police Department broke into the store, knocked all of the windows out, and then busted all of m--the pictures on the wall. And so as we were cleaning up, I didn't know what, what, what had happened to the store, but as we were cleaning up, several of the neighbors came over and told us that it was done by the Detroit Police Department. Damn! I thought that phone was unhooked.




INTERVIEWER 2: He needs to tell it from his point of view - I went to the store, it was a mess, the pictures were all damaged, I couldn't figure out who would do it, somebody came in from the neighborhood--so, you know, how shocking it is to see the store and you assume looters did it, and then you find out the cops did.

SAM POLLARD:

Well, he would never assume looters did it because-- INTERVIEWER 2: But the audience, I'm just saying in terms of, it has to be from his point of view.

SAM POLLARD:

Yes, OK, INTERVIEWER 2: There's foreknowledge in it. You're right, don't explain it that way, don't explain it that way, but in terms of going to the store, seeing the mess, and then learning the cops did it, I think, unless you disagree, but I think it has to be that way. It makes it a better story anyway, --


SAM POLLARD:

OK, and tell me about when you came back to the book store two days later.

ED VAUGHN:

Well, I noticed that the windows had been broken out--

SAM POLLARD:

No, I, I came to the book store two days later and I noticed--

ED VAUGHN:

Oh. I came to the book store two days later and I noticed that the windows had been broken out, noticed that the pictures had been damaged on the wall, and as I was inspecting the damage, some of the neighbors came over and told me that the Detroit Police Department had done that damage. And I noticed that they were especially interested in, in busting the faces of some of the more well known Blacks who were on the wall, like Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and so I said, "Well, you know, what am I going to do." You know, so I called the police department, first of all, I called the Mayor's office and the Mayor told me to call the police. I said, "Well, the police did it." And so he said, "Well, call them anyway." So then I called the 10th Precinct and the Sergeant in charge who told me his name was Sergeant Slaughter, said that, "Yes, we did it, we did it before and we'll do it again." And he said that, "The reason we did it is because we heard you guys were storing guns in the store." And he said, "We, you know, we, we don't intend to have any of that and I know you guys are the ones who started the riots, and sure we did it, and we'll do it again." And he wasn't lying, because the next night they came back, they broke in again, knocked all of the boards off, and plugged up the sink, turned on the water and, and knocked all the books off the wall and water logged all of my books in about 8 inches of water. And that's what I found the next day I came into the book store.

SAM POLLARD:

Good, that's a good one.