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🚨“Freedom Walkers” Arrested by Patrolmen Wielding Electric Prod Poles

May 3, 1963 - Alabama highway patrolmen wielding electrical prod poles arrested 10 “freedom walkers” today. A crowd of 1,500 whites shouted their approval. The 10 men — five whites and five Negroes — who set out Wednesday to complete a murdered postman’s march from Chattanooga to Jackson, Miss., were jailed on charges of breach of the peace. Alfred Lingo, State Commissioner of Public Safety, directed the operation on U.S. Route 11, just inside the Alabama line from Georgia. Although state troopers refused to allow reporters to follow the demonstrators, they made no attempt to prevent the crowd from streaming over a fence and across a creek to reach the arrest scene. At 3:40 p.m., Commissioner Lingo shouted over a public address system to the marchers to disperse. When they held their ground, he called to his men to arrest them. Three demonstrators lay down on the pavement of Route 11 as troopers sought to lead them to waiting patrol cruisers. Patrol officials brought up three-foot-long prod poles, usually used for forcing cattle into chutes, and jabbed the demonstrators, giving them repeated electrical shocks. As one of the Negroes flinched and twisted in the grip of four troopers, an elderly white man shouted from a roadside pasture: “Stick him again! Stick him again!” Later, Commissioner Lingo said, “They’ll be taken to DeKalb County Jail and charged with breach of the peace. Period.”

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