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Albert Seedman

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Albert Seedman, the once NYPD Chief of Detectives, recounts his career and the cases with which he was involved in his book “chief.”  According to “Jump the Shark” Kojak was not only the "real" Telly Savalas, but my understanding is that the character was based on Albert Seedman, an NYPD detective who was known for wearing huge gold cufflinks, etc., as well as being quite brilliant at solving crimes “Jump the Shark.”  The book cover of Chief shows Seedman, an Edward G. Robinson doppelganger chomping on his trademark cigar.

One reader of Chief noted, “This book tells of a few of the many cases of Detective Chief Albert H. Seedman of the NYPD, a force second in size to the FBI. The Introduction briefly covers his career, no detective chief had ever left such an imprint. His legend rested on his performance: so many investigations with such originality, intensity, or good results. Seedman obtained his solutions by using his intelligence on the mundane information available in a record-oriented society (p.5), and his eye for fine detail (p.6). In all his years Seedman never fired his weapon in action, the situation had never gotten out of control. Some of these cases were widely publicized, and some were not. (You can read between the lines in some of these stories.)

"The Belt Parkway Case" was solved by detective work; they found a needle in a haystack. "To A Gold Shield" tells of his early life. Seedman tells of a 71-year old Frenchman who picked up dots and dashes by "his inner ear"; I suspect a tooth filling resonant to the frequency. "Brass" tells of his continuing career and promotions. "The Fallon-Finnegan Case" tells of his political knowledge: Seedman would not provide a solution until his own boss was there. "The Johnson-Genovese Case" tells of the detective work that starts immediately after a body is found. People saw the attack on Kitty, but no one called the police ("that late at night they just go back to sleep"). Page 141 tells of the intricate politics of a major arrest. "The Mays Case" tells how a department store was swindled: the mob found an inside man. It describes how organized crime collects its taxes. "The Girls in a Box Case" was solved by relentless investigations, and a seance! "The Melville Case" is about the terrorists who set off bombs in 1969 New York. An undercover FBI informer who previously belonged to the right-wing Minutemen infiltrated their group ("he was full of plots"). Typical agent provocateur?

"The Townhouse Case" tells about the explosion and fire on March 1970 in Greenwich Village. The SDS-Weathermen group were destroyed by their bombs. These rebels were mostly from well-to-do or wealthy families and grew up in the 1950s. "The Jewish Connection" tells of the JDL protest bombs. When Seedman met Kahane he noticed something wrong by the look in his eyes (p.315). Again, an inside informant was developed. Page 323 tells of a plan to use a model airplane to bomb a building. Another plan was to set off a car bomb in an underground garage. An incendiary device filled Sol Hurok's offices with thick black smoke, and a young woman died. "The Colombo Case" tells of their meeting; Seedman wanted help in solving two murders (most mob exterminations go unsolved). Joe Colombo formed the Italian American Civil Rights League to protest discrimination, and picketed FBI headquarters. But Colombo began to lose support from former backers, and the fundraising attracted envy (p.350). Colombo was assassinated at a public rally, and so was the alleged assassin. They were never solved. "The Gallo Case" explains the investigation into the murder of Joey Gallo; he was thought to be responsible for the murder of Joe Colombo. This chapter covers the remainder of Seedman's career. One was the change to "detective specialization" (to even the work load). But Seedman was removed from his position. The year before he accepted a free meal at the NY Hilton (p.464-472). No other wrongs were found, and he was named Chief of Detectives again. Seedman retired in 1972, the last of the Depression-bred generation. The new system had all rules in writing, it was like the other Civil Service jobs.”

Chief!
Albert A Seedman  More Info

From the History of the New York City Police Department 
Mrs. Johanna Christiana Young, and another female, her associate from Philadelphia, "being found guilty of grand larceny, at the Mayor's Court, are to be set on two chairs exalted on a cart, wit their heads uncovered, and to be carted from the City Hall to that part of Broadway near the old English church, from thence down Maiden Lane, then down the Fly to the White hall, thence to the church aforesaid, and then to the whipping-post, where each of them is to receive thirty-nine lashes, to remain in jail for one week, and then to depart the city." Nor are these cases of an exceptional character; such sentences were common enough in those days.

The law was no respector of sex, and females were subjected to this form of punishment quite frequently, the following being by no means an exceptional case: "A woman was whipped at the whipping-post, and afforded much amusement to the spectators by her resistance." The extract is taken from a newspaper of the time. Also" "James Gain, pursuant to sentence, stood in the pillory, near the City Hall, and was most severely pelted by great numbers of spectators; a lad was also branded in the hand." These modes of punishment (barbarous in the extreme) were derived from Holland and England, which is also true of the forms of law, the judiciary systems, and all that pertained tot he administration of justice. The public whipper, in early times, was a familiar functionary. In 1713 Richard Cooper was appointed to his office, at a salary of £5. The practice of whipping and the appliances of the whipping post were introduced into all the American colonies. In all of the New England towns the whipping post was the recognized adjunct of the courts, and flagellation was constantly resorted to for all forms of offences, whether religious, social or political. In the State of Delaware the knout survives, and the whipping post still stands a silent but more suggestive satire upon nineteenth century civilization.

In 1730 the celebrated Montgomerie Charter was granted to the city. this is the second in the series of documents on which the municipal rights still rest. It ordained that there should forever be "one Mayor, one Recorder, seven Aldermen, seven Assistants, one Sheriff, one coroner, one common Clerk, one Chamberlain, one High Constable, sixteen Assessors, seven Collectors, sixteen Constables, and one Marshal," to compose the City Government. The Charter appointed Edmund Peers, High Constable; John Scott, Constable for the South Ward; Christopher Nicholson, Constable for the Dock Ward; Timothy Bontecon, Constable for the North Ward; John Abrahamson, Constable for the East Ward, and Arent Bussing, constable for the Harlem Division of the Out Ward.

The instrument also provided that within forty days after date of its publication, the freemen of the city should assemble, and by a plurality of voices, choose from the inhabitants of the several wards one additional Constable for each ward, except the Out Ward, which was to have three more, two for the Bowery Division, and one more for Harlem. It was further ordered that on the festival of St. Michael, the Archangel, every year, the freeholders of the several wards should meet, as appointed by the Aldermen, and elect for each ward, except the Out Ward, one Alderman, one Assistant, two Assessors, two Collectors, and four Constables. The Mayor, on the same day, it was arranged, should appoint a High constable. The appointment of the Mayor himself, and of the Sheriff and Coroner, still rested with the governor and his Council.

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