12 PROBLEMS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT

CRIME

ON THE DARKER SIDE of the social picture were the many crimes committed in Texas during the carpetbag era. The unsatisfactory efforts of the State Police and of the poorly maintained frontier forces to control this outlawry have been fully discussed, but it should be noted that the evil condition preceded them. From January, 1869, to March 20, 1870, at least 590 murders were committed in Texas -- an average of more than one murder a day during the fifteen-month period.1 Shortly before General J. J. Reynolds relinquished command of the Fifth Military District in the spring of 1870 he commented on the situation.

For the suppression of bands of desperadoes which have infested almost every part of the State and the arrest of parties indicted for murder, it has been necessary to furnish military aid to the civil officers.

These parties have usually met with armed resistance, and in the encounters which ensued several persons have been killed. With very few exceptions, indictments for murder have been found against these persons, and in every case they invited their fate by refusing arrest and in resisting by force of arms the lawfully constituted authorities of this State and of the United States.2

Many offenses were committed by freedmen. The transition from slavery to citizenship seemed to be more than the Negro, whose ex-

____________________
1
Report of the Secretary of State, James P. Newcomb, to the State Senate, June 18, 1870, in Daily State Journal, June 19, 1870, I, 122.
2
Forty-Second Congress, Second Session, Report of the Joint Select Committee to Inquire into the Condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States Made to the Two Houses of Congress (Serial No. 1529), p. 19.

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