by Will Kohler
The Dover Hotel was a five-story brick building in downtown Los Angeles. The hotel operated as an early version of the soon to become popular bathhouse scene. Gay men checked in, removed their clothing, and laid on their beds with the doors open waiting for others to walk by.
It was, not surprisingly, the scene of a number of raids by LAPD’s vice squad. During the raid that fateful day, Howard Efland, a male nurse who checked into the hotel under the pseudonym of J. McCann, was brutally beaten and kicked to death outside the hotel, in front of witnesses.
LA vice officers Lemuel Chauncey and and Richard Halligan claimed that Efland groped them so they arrested him, drug him out into the street, and in front of several witnesses the two police officers started beating the unarmed, unresistant gay man to death while he screamed “Help me! My God, someone help me!” as the officers kicked him, did knee drops on his stomach, and stomped on him to death.
Howard Elfland died in front of the Dover Hotel of massive internal injuries
The LAPD at first informed his parents that their son had merely died of a heart attack. The L.A. County Cororner ruled Elfland’s death an “excusable homicide” and the story was withheld from the mainstream media. However the Advocate responded by calling the LAPD “psychotics” and Rev. Troy Perry led 120 marchers in a rally at the site of Efland’s murder to commemorate his fatal beating.
No one was ever held accountable for Howard Elflands his murder.