One Year Later (Part 3)
Henderson was more than willing to be interviewed by the station. He said it was strictly a racial assault. He stated that he did not know the three men. Henderson said the police and local newspapers were trying to say it was drug related. He said that was untrue. He said he understood the attack as a racial attempt to emasculate a black man.
Needless to say, the Lancaster Police, who were fully aware that a tape of Henderson was playing on a Philadelphia radio station, were not pleased.
He was quickly and quietly released from the hospital. Apparently, Henderson left almost immediately to stay with relatives in Florida. Then the police were quick to say that Henderson was impeding the investigation.
So exactly what investigation was being done by the Lancaster Police?
In an Intell article on August 1, 1981, Luther Henry is quoted as saying, I felt all along that we conducted a thorough investigation.
That is blatantly untrue. On May 18, 1981, Luther Henry was asked if the police had questioned the people who work in the Hazel-Mill Street area where the crime occurred.
He was specifically asked if the workers at the Henry E. Martin and Sons Co. had been questioned. Henry replied, Oh sure, we talked to all of them.
On two occasions, Jim Martin, president of the company told LIP that to his knowledge, Not a single one of my employees has been talked to by the police. Other workers at the company confirmed that.
Frank Fetrow worked all night in Ben and Franks Garage on Mill Street the night of the assault. The garage is less than a block from the fuel tank. The police never showed up to question Fetrow if he had seen or heard anything that night.
Did the police try to locate where the men had purchased the hand cream? No, said Henry, There are too many drug stores in that area.
Did the police try to track down the .44 caliber revolver? No, said Henry, There are hundreds of thousands of handguns in the country.
A month after this crime occurred, Detective McComsey, one of the two detectives assigned to the case, responded to questions about how many vans had been stopped and how many people had been interviewed with anger. He said, Everywhere we go, youve already been there.
This is from a detective a full month after a brutal murder attempt.
Who watches the police in Lancaster? Who insures that they follow the law and conduct full investigations? Legal investigations and legal arrests?
Ten years ago that responsibility fell to Robert Henderson. He went into Federal Court and had a Lancaster burglary conviction overturned two and one half years later because of an illegal search warrant obtained by the Lancaster Police.
The story does not end there. In 1972, Henderson sued Lancaster Detectives Walter T. Goeke and Joseph P. Geesey for $30,000 apiece, for violation of his civil rights.
Part 4 is here.
Part 1 is here.
Part 2 is here.