"Near City Hall, a Wall Street lawyer, Michael Belknap, 29, a Democratic candidate for the State Senate, was beaten and kicked by a group of construction workers yelling 'Kill the Commie bastards!'" (NYT May 9)
Some slogans chanted by the construction workers as they made their way north on Broadway heading toward City Hall:
"I don't think Mayor Lindsay has the right to put that flag at half-staff. That flag represents this country, so the leading representative of the country, who is President Nixon to me, is the only one that has the power or the right to raise or lower a flag." (Joe Kelley)
"One of the injuries involved a seventeen year old high school student who alleged that he was standing at the northwest corner of City Hall Plaza and Park Row wearing a peace armband, and that a construction worker came over and punched him in the face. He further alleged that a uniformed patrolman was standing nearby and that he asked the officer to arrest his assailant, but that the officer ignored him." (police report p. 27)
3. Unidentified mail carrier ascends City Hall roof and raises flag to full staff; the assembled crowd cheers.
"The men were halted at the metal railing demarcating the parking area from the lawn. They chanted 'Raise our flag, raise our flag.' Almost at once a man walked out on the roof and raised the flag from its half-mast position. A cheer went up which was shortly interrupted by a melee at the park fence opposite 41 Park Row. A youth was assaulted by several men and a number of persons were diverted from City Hall to the scene of this incident. " (Geoffrey Needler, Asst. Dean, Pace College)
4. Mayoral aide Sid Davidoff immediately returns flag to half-staff position.
"When the iron hats raised the flag why did Sid Davoff [Davidoff] lower it again when he knew the mood of these men? Why, to cause further trouble?" (Telegram to Mayor Lindsay from Mrs. Henry Harm, Brooklyn)
5. Furious construction workers rush up steps of City Hall, overwhelming the police officers on the scene, and nearly enter the building.
"The few police officers at the railing were momentarily out-flanked and the crowd spilled over into the parking area and up the steps to the doors of City Hall. Various chantings, scuffles, and flag-wielding maneuvers ensued..." (Geoffrey Needler, Asst. Dean, Pace College)
"the situation was most critical, the construction worker's group had become inflamed to a point where the invasion of City Hall itself was a distinct possibility, and that the group had both the inclination and physical ability to do so." (police report)
6. Deputy Mayor Richard Aurelio orders the flag returned to full-staff.
"Fearing for the safety of the Hall itself and its occupants, and being fully aware of the emotional response capability of the flag, Assistant Chief Inspector Kowsky ... demanded that they immediately return the American flag to full staff so as to defuse the crowd, at least until substantial police re-enforcements arrived." (police report)
7. Construction workers return to City Hall plaza for a "patriotic ceremony." A representative delegation of four construction workers meets with Aurelio.
"They [the police] were mingling amiably on the steps of City Hall with the construction workers while the students were brutally beaten." (Deputy Manhattan Borough President Leonard Cohen telegram to Mayor Lindsay, quoted in NYT)
"approximately five patrolmen stationed at City Hall steps removed their helmets during the singing of the National Anthem...All but one stated that they had removed their hats because they thought this was proper in connection with the rendering of the National Anthem ... All were given individual instruction in 'Courtesies and Recognition' as set forth in the Rules and Procedures of the Police Department and cautioned to be more meticulous and fastidious in their conduct to prevent any future misconstruction of motivation on their part." (police report pages 43-44)