Nelson started checking department records, old news articles and state documents. He tracked down Edward Mamola and phoned to get more information on the case, but instead ended up imparting long lost details to an eager son.
Memorial in Sacramento, which honors the state's fallen officers back to the mid 1800s.
"When Sgt. Nelson called me and said he was from the sheriff's department, I said, 'OK, how much money do you want?' I thought he was raising money for the policemen's ball or something," Edward Mamola joked. "Instead he told me all about my dad."
And he got to know his father for the first time.
But on April 12, Mamola and Johnson were in Oakland, giving the Maryland Dance Hall a routine once over and they were recognized. Joe Agrella, Nike Hoodie Running the brother of a man arrested in a raid the week before, told his friends, "'Hey, that's the stool pigeon who arrested my brother last week,'" Nelson said.
At some point, Mamola drew his revolver and shot Agrella in the hand, and the wrestling match began. Agrella and his pals jumped Mamola, going for the gun. They fell to the ground, and several shots were fired in the scuffle. One bullet hit Mamola in the leg, severing a major artery.
Though the murder made splashy headlines in the Oakland Tribune and the Oakland Post Enquirer, Mamola's line of duty death somehow fell through the cracks of law enforcement history until now.
The story came to light a couple of years ago, when a Fresno County sheriff's historian, researching an unrelated item, came across an old news article about a slain Alameda County Prohibition agent. He phoned Nelson, who realized Mamola had not received the proper recognition.
Life had changed dramatically for Rita. She had very little money about $22 to her name, news reports said. She lost the house. She had no job, and two small mouths to feed. The state provided her with about $48 a month.
On the way, Johnson's car ran out of gas. Agrella and company saw their chance, pulled over and confronted the agents, yanking Mamola out of the car.
The 23 year old lawman was good at the job. Far too good from a bootlegger's perspective, running raids and sending juice joint crooks up the river on a regular basis. So on the night of April 13, one of them took him out killed him with his own revolver during a violent hand to hand scramble in the middle of San Pablo Avenue in Richmond, leaving Mamola's wife a widow with two young sons.
Slain law enforcer finally honored
Indeed, their mother, Rita Mamola, had always been fearful for her Nike Jacket Pink
It was a good gig, money wise, especially for a man with a family. The agents were paid $5 a day, and the Mamolas bought a house on 109th Avenue in East Oakland. But Rita hated her husband's job and often pleaded with him to find another line of work, Nelson said. For agents, threats of violence were Nike Dri Fit Long Sleeve Red
"I'm very confident that Joseph Mamola was a good and honest man, or Earl Warren wouldn't have had anything to do with him," Nelson said.
The suspects took Agrella to Highland Hospital for treatment for his hand. There, all four were arrested by Oakland police. In a couple of months, the case went to trial in Contra Costa Superior Court, with prosecutors pushing for first degree murder. But the jury wouldn't go for it. Agrella and his cronies had confessed the plan to beat up Mamola, but said they never intended to kill him. So the men went free which may have played into Rita Mamola's fear and decision never to tell her boys.
"My mother said, 'Don't you touch that!' She did tell me he had been killed, but would never talk about him ever again," he said.
Agrella and friends jumped back in their car and took off. Mamola was taken to a local hospital, but pronounced dead in the early hours of April 13.
In 1927, Prohibition was in full swing, and so was bootlegging. Supreme Court viewed much of local law enforcement as corrupt at the time. So he created his own squad of agents, who were basically undercover investigators vice cops of their day.
common. Just that month, another undercover agent had been kicked and pummeled with blackjacks.
So on Wednesday, Edward Mamola, who was only 6 months old when his father died, was presented with a framed certificate of recognition by Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern, in Ahern's downtown Oakland offices. And on Thursday, he and his wife of 57 years, Mary, attended the Sacramento ceremony.
Joseph Mamola had apparently worked for Warren before, and Warren trusted him.
OAKLAND Back in the day, Joseph Mamola was part of an elite squad of Prohibition agents, hand picked by Earl Warren himself and freshly sworn in as a deputy constable for the Oakland Township in the spring of 1927.
Because of specific threats on Mamola, Warren set him up in a hotel in Richmond with his partner, Lewis Johnson, under assumed names. Mamola moved his wife and children to San Jose, where other family members lived, Nelson said.
By chance, Alameda County Sheriff's Department historian and public information officer Sgt. Nelson came across the story, researched it and verified it. And on Thursday, after a long process of petitioning the state, Joseph Mamola's name was finally added to the California Peace Officers'
sons, Edward Mamola, now 80 and living in San Jose, and his brother Harold who died last year at 82 had been kept in the dark their whole lives.
"All the years growing up, my mother wouldn't talk about it. She wouldn't tell us anything about our father," Edward Mamola said, his eyes moist as he accepted the honor and shook the sheriff's hand in Oakland. "My mother was all hush hush all the time," he said. "All I knew was he had been a police officer. But nothing else."
family because of her husband's dangerous line of work, and perhaps wanted to protect her boys from that world. So she never spoke about it. Only once did she reveal he had been shot, but that was only because a small Edward had found his dad's blood stained wallet when rummaging through a dresser drawer one day.
The truly amazing thing is, however, that the details of Mamola's life and death had never been revealed to his own children. Because of their mother's stubborn silence. His Nike Windrunner Women Blue
Near midnight, as Mamola and Johnson headed back up to their Richmond hotel, driving up San Pablo Avenue, Agrella and his three buddies followed, planning to beat up Mamola.
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