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October 1971 press photo of Elton Hayes and Phil Canale | by ⓑⓘⓡⓒⓗ from memphis
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October 1971 press photo of Elton Hayes and Phil Canale

I hadn't heard of this.

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"10/19/71-MEMPHIS, TENN: Atty. Gen. Phil Canale (right) announced here 10/19 that he had 'recovered important physical evidence at the scene of the crime' indicating 17-year-old Elton Hayes (left) was beaten to death following a high-speed chase by police. Twenty-three Memphis policemen were relieved of duty 10/18 pending completion of Canale's investigation into the incident."

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Eight policemen were eventually indicted on first degree murder (for clubbing Hayes to death) and assault to murder (for attempting to kill another passenger, Calvin McKissick, Hayes' 16-year-old friend) and then acquitted by an all-white jury of 11 men and 1 woman.

 

According to the police report, Hayes died from being “thrown from the truck” his friend was driving while taking a turn at an excessively high speed. However, eyewitness reports, all physical evidence, and a subsequent finding by Attorney General Phil Canale showed Hayes’ death was a homicide, the result of a brutal beating with nightsticks.

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Uploaded on June 10, 2015