Three Negro witnesses were placed on the stand yesterday by the defense to testify that Sufi Abdul Hamid, self-styled “black Hitler of Harlem” did not verbally attack Jews at a street meeting on September 15.
Abdul Hamid has been hailed into court on a charge of disorderly conduct, preferred by Edgar H. Burman, leader of the Anti-Nazi Minute Men of America.
Robert O. Jordan, auto painter; Ross B. Brown, “lecturer” on Hamid’s staff and Josephine Beckton were the witnesses.
Brown admitted that he was a lecturer on Hamid’s staff and spoke at Hamid’s meetings. He and the other two witnesses insisted that not only had Hamid never spoken against the Jews, but that they had never heard Hamid mention the Jews at any of his meetings.
IGNORANT OF COMPLAINT
Assistant District Attorney William Margolies, in charge of the prosecution hammered at the credibility of the witnesses emphasizing that Brown had volunteered to appear for Hamid without even knowing the nature of the complaint against him.
“Do you mean to say that you volunteered to appear in court without knowing what you were going to testify about?” Brown was asked.
“I didn’t know what I was going to testify until the testimony was developed,” Brown replied.
Jordan then took the stand and evoked laughter when he testified under cross-examination by the prosecution that he had listened to the same speech by Hamid for “ninety consecutive evenings because I was interested.”
A contradiction appeared in Jordan’s testimony when he declared that he volunteered to testify about Hamid’s meeting on September 15, and the prosecution demonstrated that Jordan could not possibly have known that the complaint referred to the September 15 meeting, since the complaint did not specify that particular meeting.
Before presentation of testimony favorable to Hamid, defense attorney John Boles complained to Magistrate Overton Harris that three of Hamid’s witnesses had been intimidated by a police sergeant, ejected from the court room, and that one witness had been hurled violently down a flight of stairs. Judge Harris refused to take any action on the complaint.
Hamid was the first witness yesterday, continuing his testimony of Tuesday. Asked, “are you a Hindu?” he replied, “I am an American.”