Former Ill. gov blasts LBJ, Daley

Walker: Secret '68 tapes reveal president, mayor were uninformed
December 5, 2008 1:59:20 PM PST
Defending himself against a shot from the past, former Illinois Gov. Dan Walker on Friday said that Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley and President Lyndon Johnson were wrong in 1968 to criticize him as a "bad man."Pres. Johnson and Mayor Daley are heard discussing Mr. Walker on secret White House tape recordings that were made public Thursday by the LBJ Library. In one conversation that took place 40 years ago this week, LBJ told Daley that he was distressed about Walker, whose investigation of the 1968 Democratic Convention violence had determined it was a "police riot."

"What's the back-background on this fella Walker?" Johnson asked Daley

"He's a, uh, one of the these fellows always on the left and the fringe and always against everyone," Daley responded.

Daley said Walker was "one of these pseudo-liberals ya know, lives up in Kenilworth who comes in and sheds his crocodile tears to the people in Chicago. He did a helluva hatchet job. I knew when they appointed him we were dead. He's a bad man."

"Just totally false," former Gov. Walker told the ABC7 I-Team in a phone interview from his retirement home in Mexico.

"Obviously, LBJ never read it. It's a strictly factual report" Walker said of his investigation into the causes of clashes between anti-war demonstrators and Chicago police in 1968.

Walker was an attorney and business executive at the time and had served on numerous civic boards and commissions. Ironically, he had been appointed by Daley himself in early 1968 to study the West Side riots that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was that position that led to Walker's role in examining the violent events during the Democratic Convention.

Walker defends the 1968 report, which was hundreds of pages long, as complete and fair.

"Anybody who takes the time to look at the report, knows that it was," he said.

"There was a summary that I wrote, which summed up the whole thing," Walker remembers. "I used that phrase 'police riot,' but what I said was 'the majority of the policeman did a good job but the minority engaged in unrestrained violence. It was a police riot'."

"We took the best basis for the report," Walker recalls. "We had eyewitnesses - over 1,000 statements taken from FBI eyewitnesses. I had to go to Attorney General Clarke to get them released? he made the FBI give me those reports. They were a large part of the material."

In the private conversations with LBJ, Daley was sharply critical of Walker for just repeating what other people said about the violence. Mr. Walker counters by saying that Daley never really understood him.

"Daley never understood people like me. I was an independent Democrat. Daley believed the only Democrat was a Democrat like him. He said, 'I don't understand this independent Democrat thing. You're either with me or against me,'" Walker siad.

Walker says that attitude carried over into his reign as Illinois governor. He served one term beginning in 1973. In 1987, Walker was convicted in a federal bank fraud case and went to prison. When he was released, Walker moved to San Diego and worked as a paralegal, having lost his license to practice law because of the felony conviction. Now 86, Walker spends his days in Baja California, Mexico


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