Ponce Massacre, Com. of Inquiry, 1937

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Title:Ponce Massacre, Com. of Inquiry, 1937
Description:Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Civil Rights in Puerto Rico: The Commission, 70p, np, May 22, 1937. (The Commission was formed to investigate the circumstances surrounding violent actions by the Insular Police of Puerto Rico, a force somewhat resembling the National Guard of the typical U.S. state that answered to the U.S. appointed governor. The affray took place in Ponce, Puerto Rico’s second largest city, on March 21, 1937. A large contingent of the Insular Police had been assembled to enforce an order from the Governor forbidding a planned parade by members of the Nationalist Party, a group that, while non-violent, fiercely advocated Puerto Rican independence. At least 14 persons were killed and another 64 injured when the police suddenly opened fire both on the Nationalists who were assembling to parade outside their clubhouse and also upon the many bystanders. An official report on the incident was submitted to Ernest Gruening, Director of the Division of Territories and Island Possessions of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The report alleged that an official investigation had been made on the scene, that the investigation had determined that the police had been protecting themselves after first being shot at by the Nationalists, and that following the affray a quantity of arms and ammunition had been discovered in the Nationalists’ clubhouse. This version of events was echoed in the American press. However, after hearings held in Ponce and elsewhere on the island, the Commission’s report carefully lays out the facts discovered and concludes that: no official investigation had in fact been conducted; only the militia were armed; what occurred was in fact a police riot, and that; the “only possible descriptive title” was “massacre.” It also revealed a fact till then unknown, namely that the local Prosecuting Attorney had resigned in protest at what he considered the untruthful official version of events. While principally focused on the Ponce incident, the report also touches upon the state of civil liberties generally in the U.S. colony. The Commission was headed by Arthur Garfield Hays, one of the founders of and longtime General Counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union, headquartered in New York. The rest of the commissioners were distinguished Puerto Rican citizens.)
OCLC Number:304563805
LLMC Title #:08149

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