Title: The Louie Love-in
Subtitle: Two Views
Notes: Fifth Estate #32, June 15–30, 1967
SKU: FE-0032-00024841-0001-00024850

1. by Ben Habeebe

You should have seen Louie’s face. He was beaming like the hero they were trying to make him out to be.

Boy, were they laying it on him. The Detroit News (which pitches: “If You Read The News, You Know” ) had named him Policeman of the Month crediting him with having broken up “a dope ring.’

In reality he sparked a roust in which fuzz from five local, state and federal agencies busted more than 50 people. Headlines flared and cops basked in the light.

But when the dust had cleared, most of those arrested went home. No charges were brought against them. Only 13 prosecutions were begun as a result of the undercover operation, most of these involving miniscule quantities of pot.

Dope ring? Where were the toughs, the dark and forbidding underworld figures, the Chinese Communist conspirators, or anyone else we normally associate with the word “dope ring?” The only ones arrested were a bunch of people some of whom may have liked to turn on.

Police Commissioner Ray Girardin must have been hip to this. During the Louie Day ceremonies he didn’t throw out any bullshit of how this exemplary officer risked his life so this city would be a safer place to live. Instead, he commended Louie’s wife, Mrs. Detective Vahan Kapegian, for putting up with “that awful beard during the undercover period.

They gave him a plaque honoring his perfidy and, $100.

Meanwhile more than 200 hipper people crowded inside the Detroit Historical Museum auditorium trying to get a glimpse of the ceremonies.

Hell, they felt like they had made it all possible. And now cops were keeping them out.

If Louie hadn’t come to live among them, they reasoned, to smoke grass with them, break bread with them and finally to bust them--he wouldn’t have been there receiving honors.

The cops didn’t see it the same way. FIFTH ESTATE News Editor Frank Joyce, armed with impeccable press credentials issued by Commissioner Girardin, tried to get into the auditorium to join his other press colleagues. A big man wearing a cheap suit and brush cut barred his entrance. He identified himself as Inspector John Ware of the Special Investigation Bureau.

“Sorry, the place is filled to capacity,” lied the cop.

The rear 20 feet of the auditorium were vacant and even while the cops were barring Joyce, other newsmen came and went. “Are you discriminating against the FIFTH ESTATE?” an angry Peter Werbe, the paper’s co-editor, asked.

“Could be,” answered Inspector Ware.

Of course not, we were just concerned with a fire hazard,” the same lawman later told a representative of the overground press.

Anyway, everyone got bored with standing around for nothing. So most of the crowd went outside and gathered in front of the museum to chant the “Hare Krishna.”

They formed a double line so Louie would have an aisle to walk down when he left.

But Louie, the Cop of the Month, distinguished from among all his colleagues for recognition, lit out through a back door.

“I don’t know what they were afraid of, we weren’t going to get violent, that’s their bag,” someone said.

2. by Richard Lone Eagle

Suave, uxorious, man of the middle-east, Vahan Kapeghian, alias Louie the Grasser, received the tribute of the Detroit News June 1st at a dull ceremony in the basement of the Detroit Historical Museum.

For some unfathomable reason he also received full police protection: to shield him, no doubt, from the large group of charming criminal children who were on hand to express their disapproval of what was obviously misplaced sentiment on the part of the News.

For when has criminal activity on the part peace officer been so richly rewarded? Such awards are not usually apart of the public record. But, sad to tell, it is a commonplace fact that certain lubricous offerings, given at the right time, can save much unpleasantness in the courtroom.

The police, underbrained, underpaid, and harassed as they are, should not be singled out for any special criticism. They are, after all, merely the symbols of authority, not authority itself.

Last October there appeared among the extended family of Mr. and Mrs. John Sinclair a sly-eyed and bearded figure who all believed to be a maturing survivor of an earlier era of non-conformism.

After a short period of self- effacing ingratiation he was joined by his sophomoric young lady companion, apparently just inflicted upon the world by some college sorority. Together, they shamelessly wheedled their way into the very highest circles of underground activity.

Then, having brought their food to share, sharing the warmth and conviviality which they found, having performed household chores, feeding the dog, helping with the SUN, having even smoked and merchandised marijuana, they violated the laws of hospitality of this group of innocuous children and betrayed them. The Founding Fathers groan in their graves.

Last week we witnessed the continuation of that spectacle which if nothing else seems able to provide moments of low comedy. An officious detective stood on a chair to quell the children’s singing, subsequently informing them that they would not be allowed to enter the tribute-hall proper.

And, at the end, in order to escape the deadly flowers and rice of welcome waiting at the front exit, Louie fled by means of a rear door. Whisked away by his bloodless brothers-in-blue. A final flourish of banality and bad manners was the arrest and two-hour detainment of Mr. Sinclair for an apocryphal unpaid traffic ticket.

Caption for photo on page: Warren-Forest residents wait for Louie at Historical Museum June 1.