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Carrie Brown/Ameer Ben Ali Discussion Thread Including The Trial & Aftermath

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  • Walker Schneider has a site....nice fella in past email exchanges, but definitely putting out a distorted version of events in the Brown murder, just like the guy over on Casebook with his 'planted blood by the police' theory which doesn't float.

    https://www.newyorkontrial.com/the-author





    Walker Schulte Schneider, MPhil candidate in American History at Fitzwilliam College, looks at how a 19th-century trial reflected uncertainties about politics, science, and race in New York City.

    On a somewhat chilly morning in late April 1891, the body of an elderly woman named Carrie Brown was discovered on the top floor on a seedy hotel in lower Manhattan. Brown, who was a prostitute, had been strangled to death and brutally mutilated. The discovery of Brown’s body sent ripples of fear throughout New York City; New Yorkers were keenly aware of Jack the Ripper’s grisly escapades in London and many believed that Brown’s death signaled that the fiend of Whitechapel had crossed the Atlantic to conduct his bloody work in Manhattan.

    So far, so good..............

    The murder of Carrie Brown posed a unique challenge for Chief Inspector Thomas Byrnes, the top police official in New York City. In 1891, Byrnes was in the middle of modernizing the city’s police force. Over the past decade he had transformed what was an unruly and indolent group of mob-breakers into a professional bureaucracy of crime-fighters who actively worked to protect elite interests and enforce New York’s racial hierarchy. Byrnes was proud of his work, and, when Jack the Ripper was terrorizing London in 1888, publicly criticized Scotland Yard. Byrnes declared that if Jack the Ripper were to ever come to New York City, he would be swiftly caught and brought to justice. Brown’s death provided Byrnes with an unexpected opportunity to validate this assertion.

    Schneider is distorting things here. there was no need to 'enforce' New York's racial hierarchy. The hierarchy that existed in Manhattan was based on class & money...not race....although it's obvious that many things available to Whites weren't to negroes...and in some cases, other Whites.

    The discovery of Brown’s body also provided Byrnes with an opportunity to seize power for himself. Control over New York City’s law enforcement landscape was hotly contested between three parties: Byrnes, private detectives, and politicians. Byrnes wanted to maintain his autocratic control over the department; private detectives sought to privatize policing; and corrupt politicians tried to wield the police as their personal fixers. The murder of Brown, therefore, took on elevated importance. If Byrnes could solve the case and bring Jack the Ripper to justice, he would prove himself more capable than Scotland Yard and use this reputation to maintain his power. Should he fail to find Brown’s murderer, it could open up a window for both private detectives and politicians to wrest control away from Byrnes and seize power for themselves.

    While the Brown Murder did present a challenge to Byrnes and the NYPD...had her killer or at least, someone to charge, not been found.....it wouldn't have diminished his position one iota if Brown's murderer had not been apprehended. Byrnes had too many successes in his career for one case to derail him. The Lexow Commission, a committee formed to drive out police corruption a few years later , would, leading to his resignation.


    A week after Brown was murdered, Byrnes arrested an Algerian immigrant named Ameer Ben Ali and accused Ben Ali of killing Brown. Proof of Ben Ali’s guilt, Byrnes claimed, lay in the blood stains that led from Brown’s room in the hotel to the room where Ben Ali had slept that night. Moreover, when Ben Ali was arrested, his shirt was heavily stained with blood. These blood stains became the focus of the trial. In the late 19th century, forensic science was still in its infancy, and while scientific analysis had been used as complementary or circumstantial evidence in previous trials, this was seemingly the first trial in New York City’s history that primarily relied on science as the basis for a conviction. The trial then became not just a question of whether or not the blood stains would show if Ben Ali had murdered Carrie Brown, but also whether or not to give science the authority to determine guilt in a court of law.

    The focus of the trial, despite the blood evidence or witness testimony...according to the Jury....was Ali himself and his behavior on the stand and his character.
    And, by the way, Ali was arrested less than a day after the murder....not a week later.


    Although the majority of the trial focused on the merits of science as direct evidence, the prosecutor’s closing statement focused on Ben Ali’s race. The prosecutor argued that as a dark-skinned immigrant, Ben Ali was biologically and culturally inferior. This meant, he explained to the jury, that Ben Ali was naturally prone to violence and brutality. The 12 white male jurors should assume that the defendant had committed the crime, the prosecutor said, because, as a dark-skinned person, Ben Ali was naturally savage and violent.

    This is blatantly false. De Lancey Nicoll did mention something we would declare without hesitation as racist today in his closing argument...but he did not infer that Ali was 'biologically or culturally inferior' within that statement. In fact, despite this being a case involving a non-White male being involved with a bevy of Irish prostitutes, Ali's race was never brought up in any newspapers that covered the trial. Schneider's desperate attempt to make the Brown murder a overtly racial frameup is preposterous.

    In the late nineteenth century, this was not conjecture. The members of the American intellectual and scientific community during this era almost unanimously agreed that black and brown people were less evolved than white Euro-Americans, and, as such, were intrinsically prone to criminality. And this information was not sequestered in ivory towers - the general enthusiasm for science in this age ensured that these “findings” about racial differences based in pseudo-science and anecdotal evidence frequently made their way into popular publications like newspapers and magazines. So, when the prosecutor spoke of Ben Ali’s inferiority, the jury listened with the same solemnity and respect they accorded to the scientific analysis earlier in the trial.

    There's no question that since it was people of European stock who developed the science of biology that there would be the promotion of theories suggesting a hierarchy of race with the White race at the top. A cursory glance at the trial transcript ( section 4) will demonstrate the absence of Nicoll applying a standard of superiority or inferiority to Ali in his closing argument....only his 'difference' from the white women he had sexual contact with and how it would probably repulse those on the jury. Nicoll's comments are bizarre since he states that men of dark skin will hold women of white skin with a higher regard ( than white males) and that this was a known fact.....which runs counter to the prosecution's position that he killed her.

    Black males in New York and ( notably ) Irish women had been mingling sexually since the 1840's, if not earlier, according to New York By Gaslight, 1850, written by George Foster.
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    • For Monday, November 8th......a little early

      A few NYC papers offer their opinion of the Ali verdict

      New York Press
      July 5, 1891
      ***************
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      • A question How. My apologies if the answer is obvious or if I’ve asked before.

        Do we know how many rooms I’m the hotel the police checked after the murder?

        Regards

        Michael🔎


        " When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable......is probably a little bit boring "

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        • MIke :
          My guess would be all the rooms on the top floor, at least.
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          • Murder in the House of All Drinks
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            • Hi How, is anything more known about Adolph Kaldenburg?
              Regards

              Michael🔎


              " When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable......is probably a little bit boring "

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              • Mike:

                Since he, like a few others, were released, I never took the time to look into the backgrounds of any of them.

                Nina is looking for Kaldenburg now and she or I will post on this thread what she finds.

                She does the genealogical work over here...I have trouble finding my ass with two hands.
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                • Quick update:



                  Nina can't locate an Adolph Kaldenburg in the data base for Manhattan or Brooklyn who might fit the bill....and it may be another example of the press misspelling someone's surname. For example, Mary Miniter is referred to as Mary Minotaur in one paper and Dublin Mary Briscoe as 'Riscoe', Mary Healey as Healy, Ali as Francis Analgerion ( sounds like a remedy for backside problems for some old guy ) and so on and so forth. You've become aware of the shoddy way names were listed in the tabloids in this case...

                  If the case was about a well-off woman or man, we could bet our analgerion that they'd get the names right.
                  Yours
                  Frank Sherlicka
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                  • Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
                    Quick update:



                    Nina can't locate an Adolph Kaldenburg in the data base for Manhattan or Brooklyn who might fit the bill....and it may be another example of the press misspelling someone's surname. For example, Mary Miniter is referred to as Mary Minotaur in one paper and Dublin Mary Briscoe as 'Riscoe', Mary Healey as Healy, Ali as Francis Analgerion ( sounds like a remedy for backside problems for some old guy ) and so on and so forth. You've become aware of the shoddy way names were listed in the tabloids in this case...

                    If the case was about a well-off woman or man, we could bet our analgerion that they'd get the names right.
                    Yours
                    Frank Sherlicka
                    Thanks Frank and Nina

                    I was wondering if he was Danish but it looks like it’s a German name. There is a city in Denmark called Kalundborg though. I’m sure someone could weave a theory out of that?
                    Regards

                    Michael🔎


                    " When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable......is probably a little bit boring "

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                    • Another early suspect in the case, this one from Brooklyn
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                      • For Friday, Nov. 12 :

                        In The Tombs
                        Brooklyn Daily Eagle
                        May 2, 1891
                        *****************

                        Just two examples within the litany of lies Ali told is found in this brief article.
                        One, that he didn't know Carrie Brown. In fact, he had spent April 20th with her in the very same room she was murdered.
                        Two, that his last stay was only his second visit to the hotel. He, in fact, had spent at least three nights there during the week Brown was murdered.
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                        • Long Island police felt that they may have had the culprit ( early May 1891 ) in the form of Charles Holland.


                          St. Louis Post Dispatch
                          May 3, 1891
                          *****************



                          In Ripper Notes (July 2014), Wolf Vanderlinden mentioned that the New England Hotel was closed on the night Holland claimed to have been there and ( in my research) had been since April 19th, 4 days before the murder( NY Evening World, May 4, 1891).


                          The article below suggests that the NYPD eventually went to Long Island to question Holland...but an Evening World article on May 4th states that it wasn't known whether the NYPD had gone to check into Holland.

                          On May 4th, the NY Evening World piece on Holland has him confessing to having walked the streets all night after his original lie was uncovered.

                          Wise County ( Texas) Messenger
                          May 23, 1891
                          ****************


                          I also checked into what Holland claimed.....that he had not been near the New England Hotel ( Bowery & Bayard, north of the East River Hotel).

                          The NE Hotel was only 4/10ths of a mile from the East River Hotel.





                          He wasn't C. Kniclo, but it's interesting that a Jamaica, Long Island policeman was alert enough to arrest Holland based on the Byrnes-created APB, who in turn began lying about his whereabouts and could have 'become' C. Kniclo' had he not been convincing enough ( as well as having support from home) to be removed from the suspect list.


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                          • One other minor point that interests me is that his home was in Rye, NY.....which is 31 miles by car in 2021 from the New England Hotel in the Lower East Side or at least its general vicinity.

                            In 1891, that was at least a two hour jaunt just because his wife booted him out of the house.
                            No taprooms in the local area near Rye ?

                            In any event, he was and is removed from the suspect list....but like other murder series, men like Holland seem to surface when someone kicks up the dust.
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                            • Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
                              For Friday, Nov. 12 :

                              In The Tombs
                              Brooklyn Daily Eagle
                              May 2, 1891
                              *****************

                              Just two examples within the litany of lies Ali told is found in this brief article.
                              One, that he didn't know Carrie Brown. In fact, he had spent April 20th with her in the very same room she was murdered.
                              Two, that his last stay was only his second visit to the hotel. He, in fact, had spent at least three nights there during the week Brown was murdered.
                              I think that we would be hard pressed to find any murder suspect who made a worse job of appearing innocent.
                              Regards

                              Michael🔎


                              " When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable......is probably a little bit boring "

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
                                One other minor point that interests me is that his home was in Rye, NY.....which is 31 miles by car in 2021 from the New England Hotel in the Lower East Side or at least its general vicinity.

                                In 1891, that was at least a two hour jaunt just because his wife booted him out of the house.
                                No taprooms in the local area near Rye ?

                                In any event, he was and is removed from the suspect list....but like other murder series, men like Holland seem to surface when someone kicks up the dust.
                                How, was he eliminated purely on the distance between Rye (where he was kicked out by his wife) to the ERH? Do we know what time she kicked him out? Is it impossible that he could have gotten to the ERH in time?
                                Regards

                                Michael🔎


                                " When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable......is probably a little bit boring "

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