Black Lives Matter: Boston Racism: Cops, Feds, and Media : Part 6 of 10

(!) StranglerI’ll get to the Boston Strangler in a minute but I want you to pause and think of what would have happened had black lives mattered back in 1968 when Dixon, Barrett and Smith were murdered. A half decent investigation very well could have solved those murders. There were clues everywhere. The FBI very likely knew the whole story.

Flemmi would have caved under a little pressure from the police. He would have put Martorano in the jackpot and into the can for life. Without Martorano on the street at least a dozen lives would have been spared. He was the guy putting the gun up against everyone’s head and pulling the trigger. Even barbaric Flemmi might have gone away for a bit as an accessory. Think of how many other lives that would have saved.

But again maybe that never would have happened. After Steve Flemmi was an FBI top-level informant. He would have received the FBI’s protection. The FBI had no problems with weighing the value of three black lives against keeping its informant on the street. Over and over it has done that when it came to protecting its top-level informants. Think of how many lives have been lost because of that!

To see if black lives mattered I examined the response and reaction to the Boston Strangler case which I am sure most of you remember or have heard about and compared it to what happened in the case of the 11 black women which I feel certain few remember.

Many believe the Boston Strangler was Albert DeSalvo. Other than his confession little evidence was found to implicate him. It is unclear how many murders the Strangler committed. Some say 13,  others much less. The truth will never be known. I suggest the Strangler murdered at least five because the M.O. in those cases were similar. Middle aged to elderly white women in Boston strangled with a nylon stocking and sexually assaulted in their own apartments. Others were more or less similar. The last victim, 19 year-old Mary Sullivan  lived in the area the Strangler operated in. She was unlike the others who were middle-aged or over. DNA found on her allegedly matched DiSalvo.

A black woman Modiste Freeman was thought to be the sixth victim. She was eliminated in part because the other five victims: “were white” . . . “were killed in their apartments” while Ms Freeman was attacked on the street  . . . were “much older” . . .and unlike Ms Freeman not mutilated.

Whether he murdered six, or eight, or even thirteen is not the point. It was the headlines and response to these deaths that is significant. The first four murders were in June, 1962, then two in August, and two in December. The latter five in March, May, September of 1963 and January 1964.

Headlines were: August 1962: “Phantom Strangler Kills Sixth Woman;” October 1962: New Strangling Victim Found in South End Alley;  December 1962: “1st and 7th Strangling Only Few Blocks Apart.; November, 1963: “Lawrence Woman, 23, Is 11th Strangle Victim; 

On September 3, 1962, the Boston police announced that they had 55 investigators working around the clock to solve the case “before the crazed strangler strikes again.” Now they were going to nearly triple the number to 150 detectives working in three shifts. At that time there were five known strangulations attributed to the strangler A year later on September 15, 1960, the headlines read: 9 Stranglings Still Unsolved – – And Circle of Fear Widens.” That story told about Evelyn Corbin, 50, killed in her Salem apartment with two nylon stockings. The article noted “Locksmiths have reported booming business lately.”  The Boston police still had 25 detectives working the case every day.  

One detective interviewed on the radio suggested that women on returning home to their apartments leave the door open when they first enter to ensure the Strangler was not hiding there so if he was they could quickly flee. He was asked if that was a good idea if the Strangler was hiding on the outside or followed her home.

Chief of homicide John J. Donovan said: :It will take time, lots of hard work — and maybe a lucky break or two, but I feel sure that we will solve these murders.” Despite the work they were coming up empty-handed. It was DeSalvo’s confession to a fellow inmate that led to the case solved.

How then did the Boston police handle the 11 murders of black women? (continued in part 7)

7 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter: Boston Racism: Cops, Feds, and Media : Part 6 of 10

  1. Matt
    An excellent series commenting on Black Lives NOT mattering in Boston and the surrounding area. Boston is “infamous” for being a racist city (not sure what exactly that means though). The Busing fiasco not withstanding arent there countless cases of black Boston Red Sox and Celtics complaining about how they were/are treated in the Boston area? Years ago wasnt there a famous case of a woman murdered by her husband who stated a black man did it? Anyway, the Martorano/Flemmi murder of 3 black people is fascinating because of how it all ties together. WHY would the bartender (Smith) not realize what kind of danger he was involved in when Flemmi got beat up and surely Smith was aware that he was working in a mafia/organized crime bar, no? What was the address of Martoranos bar on Basin Street?

    1. If Black Lives mattered, Chicago’s war zone would be on the news everynight of the week. 1,162 shootings since, Jan.1, When is it appropriate to call in the National Guard?

      1. Doubting:

        The quandary is that it would be worse without the police protection that is being complained about. Chicago death toll from murders: 2012 – 509; 2013 – 422; 2014 – 427; 2015 – 492; 2016 thru April – 196; — looks like a banner year coming up if this keeps up. Is there a relationship between the new rules the police must follow and what looks like an increase in the murders? But if you look at it long term, back in 1974 there were 970 murders.

        There are better places for murders than Chicago which has in 2014 a 15.1 rate per 100,000 – St. Louis has one of 49.9 per 100,000 – isn’t that where the BLM movement began – Here’s that top ten, St. Louis, Detroit, New Orleans, Jackson, Miss, Baltimore, Newark, Birmingham, ALA, Buffalo, Baton Rouge and Pittsburgh.

        Most of the murder victims seem to be blacks who have been murdered by other blacks; so the idea that it is the cops who are murdering the blacks is plainly wrong. If black lives matter the protests should not be against the cops by the thugs who are carrying the weapons.

  2. In terms of leadership on the Boston Strangler case, we should remember Edward Brooke coordinated that investigation and, having had the pleasure of knowing him and his staff, I can appreciate that he would never fear taking a case to its conclusion based on the victim’s skin color.

    Brooke died Saturday

    By Frederick H. Lowe

    Former U.S. Sen. Edward W. Brooke, the first popularly elected African American to serve in the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction, died Saturday at his home in Coral Gables, Fla.

    Sen. Brooke, a Republican, who served the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 1967 to 1979, was 95 years old.
    Former U.S. Sen. Edward W. Brooke

    Former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke coordinated the capture and arrest of the Boston Srangler.

    Before Brooke was elected to the U.S. Senate, he was Massachusetts Attorney General, and in that capacity, he coordinated the capture of Albert DeSalvo, a serial killer dubbed by the press as the Boston Strangler because he strangled women with their stockings after raping them.

    Boston Strangler

    DeSalvo murdered 11 women, including one black woman, in Boston, Cambridge, Lynn, Lawrence and Salem during the early and mid-1960s, according to Brooke’s autobiography “Bridging The Divide: My Life, published in 2007 by Rutgers University Press.

    Brooke devotes a chapter in the book to the Boston Strangler titled “The Strange Case of the Boston Strangler.” He reluctantly hired Peter Hurkos, a Dutch clairvoyant, to help search for the Boston Strangler because police had no productive leads.

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