Woodrow Wilson Daniels

Background

Daniels, 37 years old, was arrested and detained by Yalobusha County sheriff J.G. “Buster” Treloar on charges of reckless driving, drunkenness and possession of whiskey. While incarcerated, he was repeatedly assaulted by Sheriff Treloar. After his wife bailed Daniels out, he was sent to a Memphis hospital where, on July 1, he died of a stroke. An autopsy reported he had suffered severe head injuries. Two white witnesses who were at the jail reported that Sheriff Treloar beat Daniels. The Sheriff did not deny he hit Daniels, but said he did not hit him on the head. He hit him because he refused to go to the “Negro cells.” When he did not leave the white cells, Treloar claims he hit him with his slapstick on the “seat of his pants, and told him to go to the [Negro] cell.” After the trial and acquittal of Treloar, Annie Margaret Daniels left Mississippi. “I’m hurt and I’m scared” she said. “I don’t know how I’m ever going to pay Wilson’s medical and funeral expenses and take care of our five children.”

Legal Status

Sheriff Buster Treloar was tried for manslaughter before Judge Curtis Swango, who had presided at the Emmett Till trial in 1955. The trial of Treloar took place before an all white male jury in a courtroom built in 1913, with Negroes sitting in the balcony and whites in the courtroom proper. Whites filled the courtroom. Two witnesses identified Treloar as the man who beat Daniels. The jury deliberated 28 minutes before acquitting Treloar.