On March 26, 1938, Berry Lawson, a twenty-seven-year-old African American waiter staying at the Mt. Fuji Hotel located on Yesler Way in downtown Seattle, Washington, was reportedly asleep in a chair in the hotel lobby. He was spotted by three Seattle Police Department officers, who approached Lawson to arrest him for loitering. An altercation ensued, and 90 minutes later, Lawson was pronounced dead at City Emergency Hospital with a fractured skull. According to the Seattle Times, the three officers, Patrolmen F.H. Paschal, W.F. Stevenson, and P.L. Whalen, “declared Lawson apparently was under the influence of a stimulant and broke away from them and plunged headlong down a flight of stairs.” Continue reading BERRY LAWSON CASE (1938)