Outrageous Oral, Volume 1: Don Maison

Transcript 0:00 this good evening my name is Don Mason I moved to Texas 0:06 able thirtieth nineteen sixty-nine went to law school here became a lawyer 0:10 practiced law for thirteen years before I took my present job 0:13 added services dollars in wanna the 0:17 most important things that I was involved with as a trial lawyer 0:21 were was related to the village station bus 0:24 back in 1979 and Monday evening 0:29 Bruce texted me and said would you pinch-hit for George 0:32 and talk about the village station incident which really 0:37 in many ways transformed I 0:41 a small but cohesive gay community 0:44 that emerge from the dollar's key alliance which I became a member of the 0:48 1977 0:50 I'm and I remembered that 0:53 one of the most poignant things 0:56 I recall about the police station in retrospect was an article that appeared 1:01 in 1:01 D Magazine January of 2010 which was written by Campbell read 1:06 a dear friend a donor VAD services dollars 1:09 but was a board member for the dollar's key alliance 1:13 %um and people like him and donnies man whose name I heard earlier 1:19 I were important and coalescing the gay community to stand up against police 1:25 harassment 1:26 the building right across the street used to be the police station 1:31 by raids were not 1:34 rare they were common but in 1979 1:38 a group I love young active 1:41 gay man stood up the Dallas Police 1:45 my involvement was accidental 1:48 I didn't even know about the bust it was a Sunday evening imbaba rosenberg 1:53 former Court of Appeals justice in presently a lawyer with the city of 1:57 Dallas 1:58 was a classmate of mine she commented on a major help 2:02 my law partner is going to commit 2:05 legal malpractice he's 2:08 representing a friend someone he knows in a criminal case involving public 2:13 lewdness from a bust 2:15 at the police station and he's never step foot 2:19 in a criminal courtroom I need you so I got a quick summary of 2:25 what Sakshi new and I showed up outside au 2:28 County Criminal Court number seven the following morning in 2:32 and I said John have you filled out an application for a patient he said 2:35 it on my clients not guilty I said China now 2:39 but if you don't fill out the application is found guilty 2:42 he doesn't get probation you've got to fill that out now 2:46 so we did all those kinda procedural things are john didn't know about 2:50 and we called 2:54 while we didn't call the prosecution called 2:58 John W pres Juara PRZ why waar 3:02 a I'll never forget that man and he told the most 3:06 bald-faced lies to judge Chuck Miller 3:10 but John wouldn't have known because 3:13 what the officer was saying in terms of where he was standing he couldn't 3:18 possibly have seen what he said he saw 3:21 under oath and I got 3:24 up or II camera was a recess or whatever I got to a pay phone was before iPhone 3:30 soon 3:31 remember those days and then on Nov 3:34 I had Ernie's number or I called a friend and said get a hold of her knee 3:38 and I think his name was Ernie Smith and he was the manager the police station 3:42 I mean I wanted which station all time I didn't know about this rate 3:46 and I I gotta hold the burning and I said ernie 3:49 get the plans get down the crack County Criminal Court number seven 3:52 I need your testimony and was 3:55 ernie's testimony that led the judge to conclude that this witness was a freakin 4:01 liar 4:01 he was a liar any acquitted 4:05 David Austin in was not deceased 4:09 unfortunately allow the folks are 4:12 deceased but Campbell wrote 4:16 an article for D Magazine 4:19 in the thirty five biggest moments in modern Dallas history 4:24 I had no idea this article was being written 4:27 a friend of mine said hey goin D Magazine among 4:31 now I didn't know honoree Julie Campbell said 4:35 kiss campbell's perspective is a little different it maybe he has a better 4:38 memory than I do 4:39 by Tom I think I think his little 4:43 article is very important as 135 4:47 momentous occasion and modern dollars history 4:51 cops raid the police station by Campbell read 4:55 the October 25 1979 police action 4:58 changed ours because for the first time the persecuted fight back 5:03 providing a rallying point for the gay community in Dallas 5:07 homophobia among the Dallas Police Department was common 5:11 and the raid at the old police station on Cedar Springs Road 5:15 was one of the many raids along the street during the nineteen seventies 5:19 but it's it out in a number of arrests in the number of arrests that were made 5:23 and the number a vice squad officers present 5:27 I think the entire vice squad was involved 5:30 they arrested 12 people who were doing a bunny hop 5:34 on the dance floor and charge them with public lewdness 5:39 the police station raid became a turning point not just for the Cedar Springs 5:42 area but for the whole gay community 5:45 because for the 12 men arrested decided to fight the charges 5:49 that was unique that was the first time 5:53 no one had ever stood up to the police before in the past gays were fearful 5:58 that any publicity surrounding an arrest for public lewdness 6:01 could cause them to lose their jobs they usually pleaded guilty 6:05 to avoid publicity no mainstream media reported the police station raid 6:11 as such rates were commonplace but they did cover the trials 6:16 an elaborate that Nana be 6:19 the first two men were tried in judgeship Miller scored 6:23 I went to both trials in the first trial the prosecutor 6:27 prosecuting attorney was Marshall Gandhi I remember him saying to the judge in 6:31 his closing argument 6:32 your honor if you quit this person you'll be saying that the police 6:37 are lying but Miller acquitted them both 6:42 district attorney henry wade and drop the charges 6:45 against to have the others in Chuck Miller scored in refile them 6:49 into courts where he hoped to get convictions 6:52 one was found guilty by Judge bro im Bashir 6:55 we filed the complaint that Wade was formed shopping 6:59 base at sat on it for about 18 months including 7:02 through an election cycle it was basically dismissed 7:07 after the raid we started publishing the names up officers who were arresting 7:11 gays 7:12 and the police were very uncomfortable their publicity 7:15 we we had to be secretive 7:18 and how we got the names at that time the police department released only the 7:23 names of the arresting officers to attorneys 7:26 so attorney Don Mason who is now president and CEO they'd services da 7:29 listed on the sly for us 7:32 as far as I know the police department never figured out how we were giving the 7:36 names 7:37 we put them in a gay Lance newsletter the dialogue 7:40 and also in a statewide publication called this week in Texas 7:44 by nineteen eighty we had a file about 60 complaints against police officers 7:50 from people who said they had done nothing related to public lewdness 7:53 and yet had been arrested around this time we also started appearing at the 7:57 Dollar City Council meetings 7:59 I went to the Dallas City Council and said it was time for the harassment to 8:03 stop 8:05 we thought police were officers are being overzealous in arresting gates 8:08 clientele in the bars the notion of Gay Pride 8:11 began to emerge the raid and its aftermath 8:15 sparked a dialogue between the police department the gay community that hadn't 8:19 existed before 8:21 it later led the police department to assign a lean 8:24 liaison officer the gay community they still have one today 8:29 Campbell read is a retired SMU statistics professor 8:32 and a pass more board member the dollar's key alliance now the day 8:35 Dallas game has been alliance well really what can happen after all that 8:40 the publicity was surrounding the form shopping 8:43 henry wade wanted to file those cases in 8:46 Judge Ben alice is Connie criminal district court number one 8:51 he was from Lancaster Texas and probably the most homophobic judge 8:55 on the court at that time and we 9:01 we put our foot down and said no and their Texas 9:06 Association a criminal defense attorneys the ACLU came in at FOB reeves 9:10 the morning news got all the bit arm there was a lot of publicity 9:14 about the district attorney and his dirty tactics 9:18 and that's where the publicity came through arm 9:23 I was hired by at a guy that had another lawyer who wanted to plead guilty 9:27 but he wasn't guilty and I told them I couldn't talk to him 9:31 while he had another lawyer is I could lose my license for doing that 9:35 so you get rid of his lawyer Gaylor who wanted to plead guilty 9:39 and we tried his case but his case had an interesting 9:42 twist to it because the complaint said that 9:48 the defendant did there and then knowingly and intentionally allow the 9:52 said 9:53 other person to touch his genitals 9:57 to Rossa sexual desire any person or whatever 10:00 which really if you a diagram that sentence meant that II 10:04 can be arrested if you use it there in touch your genitals 10:07 so we filed a motion to quash the complaint 10:11 that's the closest I ever got to being thrown in jail for contempt because I 10:16 modern under my breath with the judge denied the motion 10:20 and i sat down and said pearls before swine 10:25 any heard me and I really 10:29 almost got thrown in jail but anyway so we had Aaron the record we tried our 10:33 lawsuit 10:34 and we brought people to dance in the courtroom 10:38 and I remembered song we said that was playing at the police station when the 10:41 police made the bus was 10:43 a called 10:47 enough is enough I forget his who sang the song but that's the song we played 10:51 in the courtroom 10:52 the other interesting thing that happened on 10:57 the Christian s the crazy christian people 11:01 I'll found out about these trials 11:05 and stuffed my courtroom with all these right-wing evangelical 11:10 homophobic people 11:13 in it's hard to say people 11:17 and I went out and called on Eastman 11:21 now I'm a secular humanist but I frequently rely on my 11:25 Christian Brothers think like carol here thank you so much for coming to talk to 11:30 my residence that was so sweet 11:32 I called an easement and I told him what was going on 11:36 and within an hour I must've had 50 gay people 11:40 in my courtroom supporting my client 11:44 and my client was found guilty by the trial court not judge later tommy 11:48 dont you know I couldn't find homosexual not guilty 11:52 and I just looked at him it but I think your head 11:56 error in the record my client's case went up to the Court of Appeals 12:01 here and this is really strange 12:04 Judge Joe fish a Republican appointee 12:09 wrote the opinion reversing and rendering 12:13 the guilty finding and declaring my client not guilty 12:18 and then I found an expansion 12:21 to erase the record my client 12:26 but his name was all over the Dallas Morning News in a 12:29 below the fold front page story 12:33 Marshall man with no was Winfield Scott 12:36 the chief misdemeanor prosecutor that time and I'm sure it is senator the 12:40 Confederate General 12:41 Winfield Scott called my witnesses 12:46 parade a perverse and that was the headline 12:49 in the morning news that was the headline in the morning news 12:54 my client was a flight attendant for braniff airlines 12:57 and the immediately brought him up and tried to take his job 13:01 but with a little help from my friends I learned the Railway Labor Act and I 13:06 learned how to 13:07 represent him there he was able to keep his job 13:10 and then later got his record expunged richard is still alive and in Minnesota 13:14 and he's my friend on Facebook and we still talk 13:19 but the other interesting things that came outta this whole experience was a 13:23 Mike Anglin his undercover work with their 13:27 goals for Dallas ok we got every gay lawyer in town to get involved in goals 13:33 for dollars we sat on these committees dealing with the cops 13:37 and talking with them and beginning a dialogue 13:41 and getting to know each other basically 13:44 and we ended up with sergeant Newsome as our first liaison officer and I think 13:49 she so live in he's retired and East Dallas 13:52 but he became very close with 13:55 mall all of us really but particularly Terry a bill territory TV don't bill 14:00 Nelson 14:01 on and very involved in the community 14:04 and dig great service in 14:07 terms have educating the Dallas Police Department getting to 14:11 the resource in are involved in education programs there 14:15 but to you know we're comfortable here tonight in this bar but 14:20 in 1979 you never knew was gonna happen 14:25 so anyway that's my story 14:30 and I'm proud to be a pinch hitter