Christmas past

Aug. 13, 1952
Los Angeles

Photograph by Gordon Wallace / Los Angeles Times

Police Lt. Harry Fremont denies mistreating a prisoner in the Dec. 25, 1951, "Bloody Christmas" police beatings.  Fremont was cleared of criminal charges, but suspended for 90 days for failing to stop the beatings by LAPD officers and for failing to enforce regulations banning liquor consumption at a police station.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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2 Responses to Christmas past

  1. Mike Gerow says:

    Am interested in any info on Lt. Harry Fremont subsequent to this event. I first became aware of him through the 1947 Project which first alerted me to the shooting death of Eddie Hines on 7/22/47 at 114 S. Beaudry St. This bldg was the main office of Continental Air Map Co., owned by Walter A. English, a geophysicist. Am doing research on English and his company. There was a 1950 lawsuit brought by Hines’s father, but I can find no record of the outcome. Also, did the custodian, who was convicted of manslaughter, do time or was his conviction reversed?
    And lastly, in view of these events, would Fremont be fairly described as a “dirty cop?”
    –The suit was dropped in 1950. A jury awarded Hines’ father $27,000, but he settled for $5,000 from Clarence D. Dawson, mining engineer.
    –Harry Fremont was curious character. Some retired detectives say he was a good guy but “a rounder.” He was fairly brutal even for the 1940s. Was he crooked? No. But he was rough. Read about him in Daryl Gates’ autobiography, “Chief.”


  2. Mike Gerow says:

    Thanks for the info on the Hines lawsuit, but it still leaves my question about Dawson’s appeal. In reading the Aug 1948 appeal summary on line, you get the impression that the conviction was going to be overturned, so why the $5000 award to the victim’s father? I couldn’t find anywhere that Dawson actually wound up serving time.
    Also, your comment about Fremont being a rough cop is interesting, and brings to mind a news item about him in early spring 1947, in which a prisoner that he and another cop were escorting, tried to make a run for it. Fremont and/or his partner gunned the guy down on the spot, killing him. The item didn’t say who fired the shots.
    If Fremont were a rounder, that may explain his not enforcing the alcohol ban at the station that Christmas of 1951, but you have to think he would’ve known about the beatings going on, and doing nothing to stop it kind of suggests his tacit approval of the goings-on.
    Thanks for your thoughts, and for the lead to Gates’s book.


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