Subversive Historian – 03/05/09

The Tracy Trial

Back in the day on March 5th, 1917 the so-called Tracy Trial stemming from the Everett Massacre commenced. The prosecution in the two-month long court case tried to establish that Industrial Workers of the World member Thomas Tracy was responsible for firing the first shot in a confrontation between the radical unionists and Snohomish County Sheriff Don McRae and his deputies. A few months prior to the trail, hundreds of members of the IWW boarded two steamers headed for Everett, Washington from Seattle to support their fellow workers who were beaten in an attack by McRae’s men. Upon docking, the Wobblies were met by the Sheriff and his deputies who assembled to stop them from landing. After words were exchanged, a single shot was fired setting off an exchange of gunfire in which five union members were killed as well as two deputies.

The subsequent trial ended in the acquittal of Thomas Tracy and charges were dropped against 73 other IWW members. The law – not surprisingly – never sought to ponder if the first shot was fired by the Sheriff and his men.

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