Voices–Lew Irwin

Longtime broadcaster Lew Irwin operates Studio Briefing, an Internet-based daily digest of entertainment industry news. This is his story about reporting on the NAACP brutality lawsuits against the Police Department.

I
was working for KPOL… I was the news director there… and what I was doing was hanging out
with those people. The guy was the attorney from the NAACP [presumably George L. Vaughn Jr.–lrh]. I’d had a
bunch of meetings with this guy. He had been feeding me stories for a
long time. But I can’t remember what they were about. But I do remember
one guy I interviewed. The poor guy was a disabled American veteran who had been pulled out of a car, thrown to the ground, beaten up by the police.

Beyond that I can’t remember much.

The sales
manager knew [Police Chief William H.] Parker and Parker called the
sales manager. Being a good reporter, I called to
get a comment from the LAPD, so Parker called the sales manager. I
can’t recall what he said but he certainly didn’t want to see the
thing going on the air. I’d finished it. I was about to put it on the
air
without a comment from the LAPD. And he called the sales manager. The
sales manager talked
to the rest of the people.

It was not unusual in those days.
Especially back then… I remember doing a story about the John Birch
Society. I couldn’t say that Robert Welch, who was the head of the
organization, I couldn’t say he called Eisenhower an agent of the
Communist conspiracy because
Eisenhower might sue. Stuff like that. All kinds of stuff. I was hauled
into the manager’s office.

That was kind of the nature of the business.

During
the Watts riots I was out there every single day about 24 hours a day.
I was traveling around with some kids and we had a deal that
if we got stopped by any gangster types that I would tell them I was
married to one of their sisters… I did a lot of that kind of
reporting. I was hanging out. Almost everybody I knew was a source. I
was really young, so that’s all I was doing.

Fun times.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in broadcasting, Countdown to Watts, LAPD and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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