Lexow Committee

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Report and proceedings of the Senate committee appointed to investigate the police department of the city of New York. Volume III

Lexow Committee (1894 - 1895). The name given to a major New York State Senate probe into police corruption in New York City.[1] The Lexow Committee inquiry, which took its name from the Committee's chairman, State Senator Clarence Lexow, was the widest-ranging of several such commissions empaneled during the 19th century. The testimony collected during its hearings ran to over 10,000 pages and the resultant scandal played a major part in the defeat of Tammany Hall in the elections of 1894 and the election of the reform administration of Mayor William L. Strong. The investigations were initiated by pressure from Charles Henry Parkhurst.


Robert C. Kennedy writes:

The Lexow Committee, ironically headquartered at the Tweed Courthouse on Chambers Street, examined evidence from Parkhurst's City Vigilance League, as well as undertook its own investigations. The Lexow Committee uncovered police involvement in extortion, bribery, counterfeiting, voter intimidation, election fraud, brutality, and scams. Attention focused on [William] Devery, then a police captain, who stonewalled before the committee by only responding vaguely to questions: "touchin' on and appertainin' to that matter, I disremember." The state probe and Devery's impudent testimony prodded the police commissioners to clean house. Charged with accepting bribes, Devery feigned illness and his case never reached trial, although he was temporarily demoted.

The Players[edit]



Policy dealers[edit]

  • Al Adams "Al has the most [...] sheets, and he is the biggest man, and has the most money, and has the biggest pile." "He is called the king of the policy dealers." "Al Adams has from Fourteenth street up on the west side mostly."
  • Jake Shipsey
  • Cornelius P. Parker
  • Charles Frederick Lindauer aka Charlie Lindauer
  • William Meyers aka Billy Meyers "Billy Meyers is a backer on the east side, around the Hebrew district, and up about as far as Sixth street"
  • Edward Hogan aka Ed Hogan
  • Richard Gammon, aka Dick Gammon
  • William Morton aka Billy Morton "he has mostly down about South and Broad streets."



  • Clarence Lexow, Report and proceedings of the Senate Committee appointed to investigate the Police Department of the city of New York, 1895 (this is available online in an unedited OCR text version)
  • Fogelson, Robert (1977). Big-City Police. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. pp. 1–5
  • Isabelle K. Savell, Politics in the Gilded Age in New York State and Rockland County; A Biography of Senator Clarence Lexow.
  • New York Times; October 12, 1894, Wednesday; Paid $500 To Schmittberger; Forget Says This Tribute Went To The Police Captain. The Agent Of The French Line Tells The Lexow Committee Of The Money Transaction. Complete Exposure Of The Policy Business In This City. A List Of 600 Places Where The Gambling Was Conducted. Only One Precinct Free From The Evil.

External links[edit]