STORY OF ATTACK ON WOMAN DENIED
BY Tulsa World
Jun 2, 1921
1/20/13 at 7:34 AM
FLEES AFTER SCREAM
Girl Admitted to Police That One Published Story Was Not True in Details
Dick Rowland, negro lad held in the county jail for safekeeping upon complaint of Mrs. Sarah Page, an elevator girl in the Drexel building, was spirited away in an automobile by officers at 8 o’clock Wednesday morning, according to a statement made by Sheriff William McCullough last night.
The only assault made by Rowland upon the girl occurred when he grabbed her arm, so James Patton, chief of detectives says she told him Tuesday afternoon when he questioned her regarding the affair.
“When he grabbed my arm, I screamed and he fled,” the girl told Patton. This is substantially the story told by police by the negro himself. Patton, in a statement to The World Wednesday night attributed the race riot of Tuesday night to what he termed yellow journalism.
“The police were quietly conducting an investigation of the alleged assault before taking any decided action,” Patton said. “We intended in case the affair warranted to have the negro prosecuted upon a state charge.
“But when an afternoon paper came out with a colored and untrue account, so far as we had been able to ascertain of the entire affair, we concluded that it would be best for the safety of the negro to place him behind the bars of the county jail. The story incited such a racial spirit upon the part of the whites and under the impression that there would be a lynching the armed blacks invaded the business district. If the facts in the story as told the police had only been printed I do not think there would have been any riot whatsoever.”
The police did not attach sufficient importance to the affair to file the name of the girl which has never been published. County Attorney W.F. Seavers stated Wednesday night that she has not yet filed any information against the negro.