CONNECTIONS ARTICLE MAJOR EVIDENCE
IN BOOKSTORE CASE
Two CONNECTIONS articles have became major
elements in a suit by the Austin Police Department
to keep money seized in a June 2, 1980 raid on
long-time CONNECTIONS advertiser Anarchodillo Slow
Burning Books and Papers, a bookstore and head shop.
Owner Gene Berkman was charged with felony
possession of marijuana and a civil suit was filed
to allow the police to keep the $6927 in cash found
on the Anarchodillo premises.
Members of the Austin Vice Squad joined narcotics officers in the raid on Anarchodillo, the retail outlet of Berkman's Pacific Sunrise Trading
Company, which was then located in the New Manor
Apartments on Manor Road. It is unusual for vice
officers to participate in drug raids. Berkman,
who was subjected to sexual harrassment during his
arrest, feels the vice squad members came along to
see if they recognized him from the gay bars.
"Since I'm not gay and don't drink alcohol,
this was just another waste of the taxpayers'
money," Berkman says.
The police ransacked the store for two and
one-half hours, finally seizing Berkman's personal
stash of marijuana and the cash, which had been
intended as the down payment on a larger business
location at 1712 South Congress.
At the Examiner's Hearing on July 7, 1980,
a CONNECTIONS photograph of Berkman in front of an
Anarchodillo display was included in the evidence
introduced by the defense. Berkman was charged
with felony possession of marijuana. Prosecution
witnesses admitted there was no evidence to support
a dealing charge.
Gene Berkman at new Anarchodillo location.
1712 South Congress.
In what Berkman describes as "a feeble attempt
to bolster their admittedly weak case againsf mT^
arresting officer Robert L. Chapman apparently
attempted to provoke a fight between a police infor-
™ ***£ as "Rusty" and New Manor security guards
,- U^o19- ^ ^Went was reported in theAug-
■ust, 1980 CONNECTIONS 9
sinn nf!^1 WaS ft*n«lly indicted for felony posses-
Anarchodillo store as a "residence," was scheduled
for October 21. However, it was continued until
November 20, because Chapman had influenza and was
unable to attend.
The deposition for the civil suit was held on
the morning of September 25. This is a procedure
where witnesses are questioned under oath by attor
neys for both plaintiff and defendant. All statements by witnesses are recorded. Although it is
not held in a courtroom or with a judge present, a
deposition may be admitted in court.
Assistant District Attorney Ralph Graham first
took Berkman's deposition. "He asked me about my
business, like where I advertised and I told him
CONNECTIONS and FREE TEXAS," Berkman reports. "And
he wanted to know about my product lines, suppliers,
and things like that."
Then Leon Grizzard, Berkman's attorney, deposed
arresting officer Robert Chapman. Chapman denied
knowing Rusty" and refused to answer any further
questions about informants, "as per police practice."
He stated that no witnesses or informants would be
called in the civil case.
Chapman denied being in the area of the Manor
Villa Apartments on July 19. "Then my attorney
asked Chapman about his name appearing on Rusty's
arrest report from that night at Manor Villa "
Berkman reports. "Chapman said he had heard someone else had put his name on the arrest report
without his knowledge, but he hadn't taken part in
the arrest or even seen the report, himself." At
this point, Assistant D.A. Graham took Chapman out
into the hall and spoke with him for several minutes.
My lawyer had been referring to the (Auaust)
CONNECTIONS article while questioning Chapman,"
Berkman continues, "and the D.A. asked to read it
so we gave it to him. He apparently reached the
point where we turned down a prosecution offer to
return part of the money if we didn't contest the
seizure, because he turned to Chapman and said.
He's calling us thieves.'"
I'The truth hurts, doesn't it?" Berkman responded.
I prefer to think of you as extortionists, not
thieves, Attorney Grizzard told Graham.
Berkman then told Graham and Chapman, "He's too
bought off by the system, you're thieves."
Graham went back to the CONNECTIONS article
When he finished reading it, he took Chapman back
out into the hall. "They talked for ten or fifteen
minutes, Berkman recalls, "when they came back in,
Graham said he would change the witness' answer to
the last question. He said Chapman would admit to
having been at Manor Villa on the night of the incident with Rusty."
"The District Attorney actually had to come in
and change a statement his police witness made under
oath, Berkman observes. "That's an excellent indication of the quality of the prosecution's case
Berkman says, "Graham approached my attorney
several days after the deposition and offered to
settle right then by splitting the money 50-50.
Grizzard turned it down flat. He obviously doesn't
believe in bargaining with extortionists."
by Jim Olinger