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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.


"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."


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