Police officers harass cardroom operator after he refuses to pay protection money in 1968.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 6/01/1999
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 1210
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In early 1968. the manager of Russell's Casbah Tavern and Cardroom in Seattle stops paying "protection money" to Seattle police officers. Immediately thereafter police begin harassing Casbah Tavern customers. The Tavern is located in Seattle's Central Area at 2038 E Madison Street.

Mrs. Beverly Joan Grove started managing the tavern in 1964. In 1966, when a cardroom was added, Officer Joe Manning, Officer Hansen, and an officer nicknamed "Spaghetti" came and demanded $125 a month payment to keep the police from hassling them. The Casbah paid Officer Manning until early 1968.

After they stopped making payments the harassment started. Customers leaving the tavern would be ticketed for jaywalking, speeding, and drunk driving. Grove said "There isn't a customer in my tavern that hasn't been harassed" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). She also stated that her life had been threatened. Officer Manning had told Grove's father, who owned the tavern: "I'm sure you don't want anything to happen to your little girl. We can't protect her and the tavern unless we receive certain little gifts" ( Seattle Post-Intelligencer). He added, "We don't make much money" (The Seattle Times). A short time later the cardroom closed.

Beverly Grove made these statements in a June 1970 federal trial concerning police payoffs from taverns, cardrooms, nightclubs, and other entertainment businesses to patrolmen and other officers of the Seattle Police Department. The trial ended the practice of police shakedowns for protection money and led to the conviction and forced resignation of a number of police officers.


"Life Threatened, Says Trial Witness," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 24,1970, p. B; "Bribes Detailed by Club Operator," The Seattle Times, June 23, 1970, p. 7.

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