Neice Brown

Background

On June 10, 1945, Officer George Booker of Selma severely beat Niece Brown, a grandmother, inside her Summerfield home.  Two days later, Mrs. Brown died at the Good Samaritan Hospital from a crushing blow to the base of her brain.

Officer Booker, 26 years old, was off duty but in uniform when he drove to the Brown residence in search of Josephine, Mrs. Brown’s daughter. Booker was not pursuing any legitimate police business when he went to the Brown home. When Mrs. Brown refused to allow Booker into her home or to inform him of the whereabouts of her daughter, he kicked down the front door and assaulted her.

Mrs. Brown’s husband, Elijah “Lige” Brown, and two young grandchildren were in the house at the time of the attack on Mrs. Brown. At some point during the altercation Mr. Brown shot Officer Booker in the shoulder.

After his wife’s death, Mr. Brown hid in the woods for weeks before returning to the family home.

Legal Status

Officer Booker underwent treatment for the gunshot wound and Elijah Brown was formally charged with assault with a weapon and later posted bail.

Alston Keith, acting judge of the county court, issued a warrant for Officer Booker’s arrest. After his release from the hospital, Booker was ordered held without bail to await the proceedings of the Dallas County grand jury. He was charged with the first degree murder of Niece Brown.

At a trial in October 1945, Officer Booker was represented by Arthur Stewart and A. M. Pitts. In his closing statement, Pitts justified Officer Booker’s conduct, noting his bravery in “upholding the banner of white supremacy by his action.”  Booker was acquitted by a jury of all-white farmers.