Prohibition - Mayor Accused of Permitting Vice Protection

When drugs and alcohol are illegal, people who want to use those substances will find a way to buy them.  During the Prohibition years, when alcohol was illegal in America, large sums of money were made by people who should have been enforcing the law (not breaking it).

One significant case involved city and police officials in Seattle, Washington.  In addition to court documents, the U.S. National Archives has copies of newspaper articles reporting on the investigation and arrests of leading officials. 

We learn more about this case from curators at the National Archives:

This document pertains to the Seattle Conspiracy case, in which the Bureau of Prohibition investigated a conspiracy by members of the Seattle Police department and other government officials in the city to obtain protection money from those violating the National Prohibition Act. Members also sold confiscated liquor for profit.

Included in the conspiracy was Frank Olmstead, a captain on the police force. His conviction was appealed to the Supreme Court on the grounds that the wire taps used to convict him were unconstitutional.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Brandeis agreed stating that officials should be required to get a search warrant before placing a wiretap on a telephone line.

Click on the image for a better read.

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy U.S. National Archives.  ARC Identifier:  298489



Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Show tooltips