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The Secret Strong Arm Squad - New York City

The Secret Strong Arm Squad - New York City

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Published by Joe Bruno

In 1911, Police Commissioner Rhinelander Waldo appointed Becker to head an elite group of police strongmen which Waldo proudly called “The Special Squad,” but christened in the press as “The Strong Arm Squad.”

In a New York Times article dated Aug. 13, 1911, the headline read:

THE STRONG ARM SQUAD – A TERROR TO THE GANGS

“Lieut. Charles Becker was picked to be in command of the Strong Arm Squad. He looks the part, standing over six feet in his socks, tipping the scale over 200 pounds, broad-shouldered, with eyes, jaw, and fists of a fighter.”

In 1911, Police Commissioner Rhinelander Waldo appointed Becker to head an elite group of police strongmen which Waldo proudly called “The Special Squad,” but christened in the press as “The Strong Arm Squad.”

In a New York Times article dated Aug. 13, 1911, the headline read:

THE STRONG ARM SQUAD – A TERROR TO THE GANGS

“Lieut. Charles Becker was picked to be in command of the Strong Arm Squad. He looks the part, standing over six feet in his socks, tipping the scale over 200 pounds, broad-shouldered, with eyes, jaw, and fists of a fighter.”

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Published by: Joe Bruno on Sep 03, 2012
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T
HE SECRET (STRONG ARM) SQUAD
In 1911, Police Commissioner
Rhinelander Waldo appointed Becker to head an elite
group of police strongmen which Waldo proudly called “The Special Squad,” but christened inthe press as “The Strong Arm Squad.”
 In a
 New York Times
article dated Aug. 13, 1911, the headline read:THE STRONG ARM SQUAD
 – 
A TERROR TO THE GANGS
“Lieut. Charles Becker was
 picked to be in command of the Strong Arm Squad. He looksthe part, standing over six feet in his socks, tipping the scale over 200 pounds, broad-shouldered,
with eyes, jaw, and fists of a fighter.”
 
The Strong Arm Squad was right up Becker’s alley, because it gave him and his boys
carte blanche to crack heads whenever they deemed it necessary, and that was often. The StrongArm Squad was comprised of, according to the
Times
, “twenty huskies whose sole duty is to
travel around the city and hand out generous doses of strong-arm medicine to any and all who
showed unmistakable signs of being in need of it.”
 The Strong Arm Squad wore no police uniforms, nor did they dress like police detectives.The Strong Arm Squad wore the attire of the times associated with ruffians, longshoremen, andthe rabble in the streets who were committing mayhem on the general public. In other words, theStrong Arm Squad dressed to blend in with the crowd they were looking to beat up, then arrest;
in either order, as they saw fit. These 20 men were plucked from various precincts because “they
had earned the reputation for their fighting capacity, for their judgment in making arrests, and for
their ability to back up their arrests.”
 In fact, the last two criteria had nothing to do with the selection of the Strong Arm Squad.The first criteria was all that was required to be given the opportunity to legally crack heads.According to the
Times
article,
“The Strong Arm Squad consisted of such thugs as Alex Whitman, the „strong man‟ of the
Police Department, and his brother Nathan Whitman, who has been d 
ubbed the „Yiddish Irishman.‟ 
Then there was Conlon,
the „strong arm dude.‟ „Old Sleuth‟ Faubel, Joe McLaughlin, known as „Eat „Em Up Alive,‟ and finally „Boots Trojan,‟ who knows all the
gangsand whom Becker described 
as „good as four ordinary men to go into a muss with.‟”
 
Becker’s squad of thugs knew w
hat Waldo wanted and they provided it in spades. Waldowas interested in arrests all right, but that was secondary to beating the crap out of whomever
Becker deemed worthy of such actions. Waldo’s thinking was: strike fear in the hearts of the
underworld element and they will stop doing whatever they are doing. Of course, this tacticnever works and only makes the hard men harder when they finally get released from prison.
Whenever arrests were made, the New York City’s Magistrates were regaled by the
pris
oner’s tales of “cruel and abusive” treatment by Becker and his gang. However, Becker 
always denied these claims, and thanks to the interference of Police Commissioner Waldo, nocharges were ever brought against Becker and his thugs.

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