User:Crtew/Jerry Buckley (journalist)

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Jerry Buckley
Born Gerald Emmett Buckley
April 5, 1891
Died July 23, 1930(1930-07-23) (aged 39)
Resting place Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Detroit
Residence Detroit, MI
Nationality United States
Other names Jerry Buckley
Citizenship United States Citizen
Occupation Journalist/Radio Commentator
Employer WMBC
Known for Radio broadcasts, recall of Mayor Charles Bowles

Gerald E. "Jerry" Buckley (April 5, 1891 – July 23, 1930) was a Detroit, Michigan radio commentator, who campaigned for the successful recall of Mayor Charles Bowles in the wake of corruption allegations. Buckley was murdered hours after the election ended on the next day, and he became the eleventh victim of gangland killings that was dubbed by Detroit journalists as "Bloody July" in 1930.[1][2][3] His murder remains unsolved.[4]


Gerald E. Buckley was born on April 5, 1891.[4] His brother Paul Buckley was a lawyer and at one time was a prosecuting attorney in Wayne County, Michigan.[1][5] Prior to becoming a radio commentator, Jerry Buckley had served as an investigator for Henry Ford and as a special investigator for the United States government in the Newberry case.[1]

Between 50,000 and 100,000 people attended Charles Buckley's funeral on July 26, 1930 at St. Gregory's Catholic Church and the Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Detroit.[4][6][7][8]


Buckley began his broadcasting career at WMBC, which is now named WDTK in 1928.[3][9] As a radio broadcaster, he campaigned for old-age pensions and jobs for the unemployed, as well as humanitarian and liberal causes. His efforts prevailed in obtaining hundreds of jobs for unemployed workers.[8] He became a known populist and his audience was called the "common herd".[4] Buckley was the first to raise the issue of recalling Mayor Charles Bowles, and his vocal and populist outreach on behalf of the issue soon gained traction. Buckley criticized gambling and other activities of which the mayor approved. His radio audience in Detroit grew as listeners were drawn to his snide commentaries on city politics and the attacks on Mayor Bowles and his newly appointed staff. Jerry Buckley soon made a name for himself as a crusader for the recall of the mayor and for his populist causes.

The Recall of Mayor Charles Bowles[edit]

In the wake of the 1923 mayor election in Detroit, the Klu Klux Klan had high hopes for getting Charles Bowles into office. Although Bowles did not make it onto the ballot, he entered the race as a write in and nearly defeated John W. Smith[10]. Bowles would run against Smith, John C. Lodge, and Joeseph A. Martin twice before he finally won the election in 1929. Bowles campaign for anti-crime soon became contradictory as he fired Police Commissioner Harold Emmons within months of appointing him. While Bowles was away at the Kentucky Derby, Emmons returned from a business trip to find that the gamblers and gangsters had overstepped their boundaries. Emmons soon took action in which infuriated the mayor thus leading to his termination. It was said that Mayor Charles Bowles may not have won over the voters during the election but won over everyone during the recall.[11] On the day of Jerry Buckley's death, the election for the mayor's recall took place and there were just short of 31.000 votes to take him down. No other Detroit mayor had been recalled. Buckley supported the recall and spoke freely about it on his radio show. He then announced the results in a broadcast he did just hours before his death.


Map of Detroit from the era.

On 22 July 1930, Detroit Mayor Charles Bowles was recalled. Jerry Buckley appeared in the early hours of 23 July in the lobby of the LaSalle Hotel, located at the corner of Adelaide Street and Woodward Avenue, to read what the morning newspapers had to report about the previous day's recall election.[12] Buckley was known to frequent the hotel often as he broadcast his radio show from a private studio there. While he was sitting in an arm chair and reading, sometime 1:45 a.m., three men approached him from different directions, two from his front sides and one from behind him, and they murdered him in a barrage of gunfire that struck Buckley's body 11 times.[4][6][7][9][13]

Buckley's murder brought to 11, the number killed during July 1930. Some of the victims of "Bloody July" include 2 Chicago gangsters (George Collins and William Cannon)[5] ...

As a response to Buckley's murder, Governor Fred Warren Green traveled to Detroit and warned criminal elements that he would call out the militia if the gangland violence that killed 10 others and Buckley did not stop.[1]Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page). [14] Other possible suspected gunmen were Russell Syracuse, Joseph English, and John Mirabella.[8] It can't be said which set of gunmen were the actual murderers. A reward as high as $13,500 was issued to help aid the effort in bringing them to justice.


The impact of the recall led to Mayor Charles Bowles resignation shortly after the murder of Jerry Buckley. Detroit had become a town of promiscuous gambling and anti-prohibition. Much of this was due to the political leaders who were elected/appointed during this time as they promoted such behavior during their terms. Buckley’s death was not in vain. His murder caused a public outcry that law enforcement could not ignore. The police began closing the gambling dens and cracking down on offenders. Jerry was among a string of murders in a period of two weeks leading up to the recall[15]. Many found it astounding that Buckley was the only "white" person to be murdered considering much of Detroit's population were of foreign descent. After Bowles stepped down, he ran again for the Mayor spot the next year but lost which eventually silenced his political career.


The public was deeply saddened by the martyr's abrupt death. Over 50,000 people braved a thunderstorm on 26 July 1930 for a memorial service at the cemetery.[4] Many of the voters who voted for the recall were regular listeners of Jerry's broadcasts and saw him as a trusted person to gain information from. Although the career of Charles Bowles had extinguished, many still believe that Bowles had an influence on the murder of Jerry although he never fessed up to it. Many blamed it on multiple things but to this day it has remained a mystery.

Bare URL's[edit]

  • Extradite Pizzino[16]
  • Book Review[17]
  • Detroit: [18]
  • [19]
  • Associated Press (July 24, 1930): [20]
  • "Bowles Loses But Wins Over Recall Crowd" [21]
  • [22]
  • Time (magazine): [23]
  • Detroit perspectives:[24]
  • Toledo Blade: [25]
  • Detroit's Infamous Purple Gang: [26]
  • Carving Out the Rule of Law: [27]
  • A Newscast for the Masses: [28]
  • American Babel: [29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Death in Detroit". Time. August 4, 1930. 
  2. ^ Woodford, Arthur M. (2001). This is Detroit, 1701-2001. Wayne State University Press. pp. 119–121. 
  3. ^ a b Burnstein, Scott. "Prohibition & The Detroit Underworld". The Gangster Report. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Death of a Whistleblower: Detroit's Bankruptcy, Edward Snowden and Jerry Buckley | Kevin Walsh". 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  5. ^ a b Special to the New York Times (July 23, 1930). "Killing of Buckley arouses Detroit; Hint of racketeer". New York Times. 
  6. ^ a b "Detroit's Question". Time. May 4, 1931. 
  7. ^ a b Poremba, David Lee (2001). Detroit: A Motor City History. Charlseton, SC: Arcadia Publishing. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-73852-435-1. 
  8. ^ a b c May, Allan (May 1999). "Jerry Buckley: A Victory Short Lived". Archived from the original on 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  9. ^ a b Associated Press (July 23, 1930). "Detroit, by 30,956, Recalls Mayor Bowles; Radio Assailant of Vice Slain in Hotel Lobby". New York Times. 
  10. ^ Caitlin, Brennecke. "Bowles, Charles". Encyclopedia Of Detroit. Detroit Historical Society. Retrieved April 30, 2015. 
  11. ^ Associated Press (September 10, 1930). "Bowles loses but wins over recall crowd". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 
  12. ^ Austin, Dan. "Hotel Detroiter". Historic 
  13. ^ Holt, Chauncey (2013). Self-Portrait of a Scoundrel. Walterville, OR: Trine Day. 
  14. ^ "Buckley murder case to jurors". The Spartanburg Herald (Herald-Journal). Detroit, Michigan. April 20, 1931. p. 8. Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  15. ^ "Mobsters, Mayhem & Murder (in Prohibition, 3)". Walkerville Times Magazine. Walkerville Publishing (34). May. Retrieved April 30, 2015.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  16. ^ "Detroit Moves Today to Extradite Pizzino". New York Times. August 11, 1930. 
  17. ^ "CRIME/MYSTERY; The Blood Covered His Rack of Lamb - New York Times". November 14, 1990. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  18. ^ Martelle, Scott (2012). Detroit: A Biography. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. pp. 116–119. 
  19. ^ "Bowles First Detroit Mayor To Be Recalled". Lewiston Daily Sun. Jul 24, 1930. 
  20. ^ Associated Press (July 24, 1930). "Extortion plot enters Buckley death". The Kokomo Tribune. 
  21. ^ "Bowles Loses But Wins Over Recall Crowd". Sarasota Herald. September 10, 1930. 
  22. ^ "Three Go On Trial In Buckley Slaying; State Claims Murder was "Perfect Crime"". Palm Beach Post. Mar 4, 1931. 
  23. ^ iPad iPhone Android TIME TV Populist The Page (1931-03-23). "The Press: Lightning Rod - TIME". Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  24. ^ Wilma Wood Henrickson (1991), Detroit perspectives: crossroads and turning points, Wayne State University Press, pp. 340–344, ISBN 0-8143-2013-9 
  25. ^ Dickson, Kenneth R. (2008-12-16). "Part 5: Licavolis' River Gang makes its move from Detroit to Toledo". Toledo Blade. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  26. ^ Kavieff, Paul R. (2008). Detroit's Infamous Purple Gang. Chicago, IL: Arcadia. pp. 63–64. 
  27. ^ Parker, Ross (2009). Carving Out the Rule of Law: The History of the United States Attorney's Office in Eastern Michigan, 1815-2008. Bloomington, Indiana: AuthorHouse. pp. 135–136. 
  28. ^ Kiska, Tim (2009). A Newscast for the Masses: The History of Detroit Television News. Wayne State University Press. pp. 6–7. 
  29. ^ Doerksen, Clifford J. (2011). American Babel: Rogue Radio Broadcasters of the Jazz Age. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 7–8. 

External links[edit]

Persondata | NAME = Buckley, Gerald E. | ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Buckley, Jerry | SHORT DESCRIPTION = American radio journalist | DATE OF BIRTH = April 5, 1891 | PLACE OF BIRTH = | DATE OF DEATH = July 23, 1930 | PLACE OF DEATH = Detroit, Michigan

DEFAULTSORT:Buckley, Jerry

Category:1891 births Category:1930 deaths Category:Assassinated American journalists Category:Deaths by firearm in Michigan Category:Journalists killed in the United States Category:People murdered in Michigan Category:Radio personalities from Detroit Category:Unsolved murders in the United States