PART ONE: THE NEWSPAPER’S ACCOUNTS
Chicago Tribune, December 6, 1853
Constable Jas. Quinn was at one of the houses on the Sand, during Friday night, to look after some parties, when he was assaulted by Wm. Reese, the proprietor of the establishment, who knocked him down by a blow from his fist, and kicked him in the side, breaking one of his ribs, Quinn was led home, but during the next day he refused to obtain medical aid, and kept about his duty as usual. On Saturday evening, after he had retired, a warrant was brought to him for the arrest of a man supposed to be aty one of the houses on the Sand. On his arrival there, he was struck several times by Rees, and finally thrust out of the house. From the injuries received on both occasions, Quinn died at 11 o’clock yesterday afternoon. Coroner Hines held an inquest over the body of the deceased, and a verdict was rendered that James Quinn came to his death from kicks and blows inflicted by Wm. Rees, thereby causing congestion, and the breaking of his sixth rib. Rees was arrested and lodged in Jail to await examination.
Chicago Tribune, September 19, 1854
POLICE OFFICER MURDERED!
ARREST OF THE MURDERER.
Yesterday afternoon, about 2 o’clock, officer Casper Lower1, of the Day Police, arrested on Edina Place, between Polk and Taylor streets, an Irishman named Patrick Cunningham. He started with his prisoner for the Watch House, but on arriving at the corner of Jackson street and Edina Place, Cunningham suddenly grabbed the officer’s cane from him, and at the same time caught hold of a tree, thus refusing to proceed any further. We heard it stated during yesterday afternoon that the prisoner declared “he would be d—ed if he would go any further.”—A scuffle immediately ensued between the two, during which Lower received a mortal stab in the left side, between the fifth and sixth ribs, which caused his death in less than ten minutes afterwards. The wound was inflicted with a large bowie knife—the blade being eight and a half inches long, and one and a half inches wide.
After receiving the stab, Casper struck his murderer two heavy blows over the left side of his head with his cane—having previously recovered it from him. Cunningham was knocked into a gutter, bleeding profusely. An express wagon coming along, the dying officer was assisted into it by the driver, who was ordered to drive immediately to the nearest drug store.
During this time, a number of citizens were assembling near the spot, and Lower spoke to them, requesting that Cunningham should not be allowed to escape, and said, “he’s the man who stabbed me.” These were the last words he uttered. The officer had presence of mind enough to take the knife into the wagon with him, and also to wind his handkerchief around it. He was not probably aware how seriously he was stabbed, although he bled profusely from the moment he received the wound, and his clothes were soon saturated with blood. The knife is supposed to have struck the heart, and it drained his body of all its blood in a few minutes.
The express wagon was driven to the drug store of Dr. M. Jerome, on the corner of Adams and Clark streets. Dr. J. was called out, and found Mr. L. sitting on the seat, alongside the driver, leaning on him and vomiting. He was laid on the floor of the wagon, and Dr. Jerome proceeded to examine his wound. He found it still bleeding, and could penetrate it with his finger to the heart. Finding that no earthly power could save the man, the wagon drove to the police office at once. Mr. Lower did not make the least motion to speak from the first that Dr. Jerome saw him. It is supposed that he died immediately after leaving the store, as he he was dead on reaching the Watch House.
An immense crowd quickly collected in Court Square, and great excitement prevailed. All sorts of stories were being related, and it was at one time difficult to fully decide on the state of the case.
The intelligence soon spread, and officers were dispatched to the scene of the fight. They found Cunningham in the gutter, bleeding from the wounds on his head, and conveyed him forthwith to Jail.
The prisoner, in answer to questions from the Mayor and our Reporter, said that the officer was stabbed by some person to him unknown; that about an hour and a half previous to the fight, he had a dispute with another Irishman named McCann—Patrick, he believed was his christian name; that the trouble was in relation to different parts of Ireland, “and,” said he, “Irishmen you know are always disputing.” He also said that he and McCann had been acquainted about three weeks, that for the past few days they had been drinking together, and that McCann was a tailor by trade, lived on the West Side, but he didn’t know in what exact locality.This story however was not believed, as the prisoner when first put into his cell said that he did not know what name of the third man was, and made other statements altogether different from what we have related.
Coroner Hines having arrived, proceeded to empannel a Jury in the Watch House, and the prisoner was brought to confront the witnesses. The first one called was Henrietta Shattle. On being sworn, she related the following story:
I was standing on a door step, on the corner of Edina Place and Jackson street—the first I saw of the fracas was two persons standing on the corner, in a scuffle—thought they were boys fighting—one had a knife in his hand, and the other a pistol—both also had a hold of a cane, and ech was striving to get possession of it—the officer held his pistol in his right hand, the man with the knife held it in his left hand—this was when I first saw them.
The prisoner looks like a man who had the knife—saw him afterwards in the ditch, when the struggle was over—he is the man who lay in the ditch, till the officers came and took him away—the man held out his hand with the knife in it before he was struck with the cane—the man caught hold of a tree, and both men struggled for the mastery—when the man drew his knife, and made pass with it, the officer pulled out a pistol—the man said, “shoot me, and I’ll be safe”, —the reply was, “No, I’ll shoot you; I’ll take something else”—the officer then put his revolver in his right coat pocket,
Where Captain Nichols, of the Police, afterwards found it.
The man was endeavoring to use his knife—did not see the stab given—saw several blows given with the cane—saw the officer go away in the express wagon, and the crowd gather—knew he had been stabbed, but did not see the knife enter his side—there were no others in the affray, and no one standing near by.
The other witnesses were not examined. The knife made an incision through a thick coat worn by the deceased, also through his vest, making a clear passage to his heart—the blade of the knife fitted the cut in the garments.
The knife was produced before the Jury, and it was a wicked looking instrument. Its dimensions have been previously given. On the blade was the following inscription:
IXL—Geo. Wostenholm & Son—CALIFORNIA KNIFE.
The knife that killed officer Casper Lower was probably similar to this one.
The same name was also on the hilt, with the addition of “Washington Works.” The handle was a polished black, with a piece of silver on one side, and both ends covered with ivory.
The Jury returned a verdict that Casper Lower came to his death by a stab in the heart with a bowie knife, in the hands of Patrick Cunningham.
The deceased was the oldest Policeman in the city service, and was a most faithful and efficient officer. He was born in France, of German origin, and had been in the United States about 15 years. He had lived in this city 14 years, five of which have been spent with the Police service—
He leaves a wife and three small children in this city, but in good circumstances. He also has here three sisters and one brother. His mother resides in Buffalo.
The members of the Council, at their meeting yesterday, resolved to attend his funeral this afternoon, in a body.
PART TWO: THE CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT’S RESEARCH
Chicago Police Star, March 1989
Casper Lauer: First CPO officer killed
When the Great Fire devastated our city in October, 1871, virtually all Chicago Police Department records were destroyed . Thus, it is difficult to determine exactly how many Chicago police officers have died in the line of duty.
After extensive research it has been determined that the first Chicago police officer killed in the line of duty was most probably Officer Casper Lauer on September 18, 1854.
The first Chicago officer to have his star permanently retired and placed in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case was Officer Patrick O’Meara, killed in the line of duty on August 5, 1872.
How many, if any, officers died in the line of duty between Lauer and O’Meara? It is hoped continued research by the Chicago Police Star staff will reveal this information. (Preliminary research indicates that an Officer Stephen P. Harkenbrook2 was killed in the line of duty in April, 1857.)
Casper Lauer, of German descent, was born in France in 1820; came with his parents to the United States in the early 1830s; arrived in Chicago about 1840; and joined the Departmentin 1849.
About two o’clock in the afternoon on September 18, 1854, Lauer, a member of the Department’s “Day Police” ar· rested an offender named Patrick Cunningham. As Lauer escorted him to the watch house (police station), a struggle ensued during which the offender pulled out a knife.
The weapon was described as “a wicked looked instrument” with a blade eight and one-half inches long and more than one inch wide.
The offender stabbed the officer in the left side with the blade passing through Lauer’s thick coat and vest, between two ribs and into the heart which “drained the body of all its blood in a few minutes.”
A witness later testified that during the struggle the officer drew his service revolver but the knife-wielding offender said, “Don’t shoot and I’ll be safe!” (indicating he would cooperate). Lauer then said , “No, I’ll not shoot you” and placed his revolver in his right coat pocket (where it was found later by Lauer’s superior officer, Captain Nichols).
Despite the wound, Lauer was able to strike two heavy blows to his assailant’s head with his Department issued “cane”. The offender fell in the gutter, bleeding profusely.
The officer warned the gathering crowd not to allow the oftender to escape with his last words being, “He’s the man who stabbed me.”
Within moments, a wagon passing by took Lauer to the nearest drug store for medical attention . One account said:
The officer had the presence of mind to take the knife into the wagon with him.
The officer, vomiting and his clothes “saturated with blood”, was examined by Dr. M. Jerome who determined “that no earthly power could save this man”. Lauer died shortly after.
Fellow officers arrived at the scene of the murder where they arrested Cunningham, still lying in the gutter.
Justice was meted out quickly in those days. A hearing was held that same day in the watchhouse, a jury assembled, witnesses sworn in, and a decision rendered that Cunningham was guilty. (At a more formal hearing held a few days later, the offender admitted, “I stabbed him, and I am guilty”.)
Lauer’s funeral, held the day after his death, was attended by a large crowd including the mayor, Department officers and other law enforcement personnel, and members of the court. Lauer was survived by a wife and three young children.
According to Lauer’s great-great grandson Thomas C. Ryan , Lauer’s tombstone was inscribed:
This monument was erected by the City and County Officers as a tribute of respect to his memory. A Policeman of the City of Chicago killed in the discharge of his duty.
One account refers to Lauer as “the oldest Policeman in the city service” which is remarkable whether it refers to his age (34) or his length of service with the Department (five years).
Chicago Police Star, March 2003
A dedication ceremony was recently held for the installation of Casper Lauer’s marker. Lauer was the first Chicago Police Officer killed on duty. Installation ceremonies for the remaining sites are planned for the spring.
Superintendent Terry Hillard speaks at the dedication ceremony honoring Casper Lauer, the first Chicago Police Officer killed in the line of duty.
PART THREE: THE NEW EVIDENCE
In 2002, Rick Barrett, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s section chief for Mexico and Central America, stumbled across an obscure record while researching the careers of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather, all Chicago cops: On Feb. 27, 1854, a Margaret Quinn petitioned the city for widow’s compensation because her husband had been “deprived of life … in the honest and faithful discharge of his duty as an officer of the city.” The city government agreed, and authorized a payment of $50. Barrett’s research makes the case that bigotry of that era left Quinn expendable and forgotten. Barrett’s evidence, largely from primary sources, was published originally at ConstableQuinn.com (no longer active) and has been reproduced from web archives below.
11.1 Description of the Evidence
Common Council file number 1272 dated December 12, 1853 , “Report of Mayor and Clerk on Bills Audited to December 12th 1853 .” This file contained an entry showing a payment to Night Watch Lt. James Donohue for “Extra Services as Watchmen” for $26.00.”
To offer this newly discovered piece of evidence to refute the entrenched belief advanced by the Police Department’s historian that Quinn:
1. Never made any reports to his superiors.
2. Did not follow proper police procedures, policy, rules and regulations.
3. Rees was arrested AFTER Quinn died.
4. Rees was only arrested AFTER the Quinn family told the police about Quinn’s dying declaration that Rees kicked him.
5. Had the Quinn family not reported Rees after the Constable died, the police would have never known about the attacks on Quinn because Quinn failed to report the incidents because he was “off-duty involved in a personal matter that occurred in a tavern when they happened.”
Note: The historian never offered any specific reason for advancing these unfounded claims and in fact, even when pressed never articulated his basis for belief. Rather, he just threw these wild allegations out and never offered any credible evidence in support of his unexplained beliefs.
To follow up on the public statement made by William Bazarek, an attorney for the CPD, who said during the April 20, 2006, meeting of the City Council’s Committee on Police and Fire, that the Police Department “remained open-minded” adding, “If there’s new evidence, they’ll consider it.”
The evidence regarding the aforementioned Common Council document was discovered after the March 29, 2006, letter of First Deputy Superintendent, Dana V. Starks, in which he claimed the Awards Committee “reconvened” on March 22, 2006, to reconsider Constable James Quinn’s case and decided “not to approve placement of his star in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case’ because “no new evidence was presented at a January 9, 2006 presentation on the case .” In reality, much new evidence was presented but apparently it was just not considered.
Therefore, since this information is new, it is hoped that the Police Department will act honorably this time and stand by its April 20, 2006 , statement that they “remained open-minded” and “would consider new evidence.”
Police Rules of 1853
Rule 29: “He (City Marshal) shall keep a Pay Roll, or Time Register, in which he shall note, daily, the quantity of time served by every Police officer on regular duty, during the preceding twenty-four hours, and shall furnish extracts therefrom to the Mayor, or to any officer concerning his own time, whenever required.”
Rule 61: “The Policemen, and Police Constables when on regular duty as Policemen, shall be in subordination to the Captain of Policemen , whose orders and commands they shall obey.”
Rule 64: It shall be the duty of every Policeman to note every violation of any criminal law of the State, or Ordinance of the City , that may at any time come to his knowledge; and he must report all such violations immediately , with such information in regard to the same, as he may acquire.”
Rule 68: “The regular hours of duty for Watchmen shall be, from eight o’clock , P.M., until four o’clock , A.M., from the first of April until the first of October; and from seven o’clock , P. M., until five o’clock , A.M., for the remainder of the year.”
Rule 71: “At the regular hour for going off duty in the morning, the Watchmen must all report to t he officer in charge, at the Watch House; attend to roll-call , and receive the orders, (if any,) for the day – after which they will be dismissed.”
Rule 91: MISDEMEANORS …”The offenses embraced in this class are so numerous, that but a small portion can be mentioned here. The following will probably be the most likely to come under the observation of Police officers, while in the discharge of their duties: (several offenses named here) to include, “assaulting an officer in the execution of his duty…rescuing prisoners or assisting them to escape…”
“An Ordinance Creating and Regulating the Police Department” — May 12, 1853.
Section 5: The several Police Constables, whether elected by the people or appointed by the Common Council are hereby required to devote their attention to the preservation of the peace, quiet and good order of the city and the enforcing of the Ordinances thereof, more especially in their respective wards and districts. They shall severally report themselves for duty at such times and places as the Mayor or Marshal shall direct , and render such prompt and energetic assistance as may be required of them, or the exigency of the service demand. It shall be the duty of each and every constable, when required by the Mayor or Marshal, to do duty and serve as policeman or watchman, as the case may be, and every constable while doing regular duty and service as policeman or watchman, shall perform the same services, be subject to the same regulations, and receive such compensation as may be fixed by the Common Council and while so doing regular duty, shall not serve any civil process or do any other business, or service that will interfere with his duties as policeman or watchman.
Section 13: “The Common Council shall fix the compensation to be paid to the several police constables when on regular duty as policemen or watchmen, to the policemen and watchmen, and captains and lieutenants thereof; and may from time to time alter or change such compensation . The marshal shall keep a register of the number of days and parts of days actually served on regular duty by each police officer, as aforesaid, and shall certify such time served to the Mayor who shall draw his warrant or warrants on the City Treasurer for the amounts due, according to the rates fixed by the Common Council. All claims for extra services by any of said persons shall be presented to the Common Council for allowance , And no police constable of other police officer shall be entitled to any witness or other fees, or compensation for services rendered, while acting and drawing pay as policemen or watchmen, other than the regular compensation fixed by the Common Council and such allowances as may from time to time be made for extra services…”
Order of the Common Council of April 25, 1853
“The pay of policeman and watchmen increased…be allowed to each watchman and policeman ten dollars for each seven days service .” (This amounted to $1.43 per day or 14.3 cents per hour (Ten hour shifts were worked from October 1st to April 1st)
11.4 Facts for Timeline:
1. Saturday night Dec. 3, 1853 , after he had retired for evening, an arrest warrant was delivered to Quinn at his residence and he was ordered back to the Sands to find the man who had escaped from him the night before.
2. It is not clear at what time Quinn entered the house of Crosby & Perry. Crosby put it at 10:00 p.m . Perry puts it at 11:00 p.m.
3. Saturday before 12 o’clock midnight — Rees attacks Quinn in house of Crosby & Perry for second time in as many days.
4. Quinn departs just after midnight telling Rees he will see him another day.
5. Sunday near 1: 00 a.m. — Both Rees and Parmilee are still free men at this time.
6. Later Sunday early a.m. — Perry said he saw Quinn back at his house on the Sand .
7. Sunday forenoon –Quinn back at his residence in bed. (CJ 02/01)
8. Monday morning 0800 – Both Rees and Parmilee are in custody and appear in Police Court ….
The Missing Link: When, how & by whom were Rees and Parmilee arrested?
9. Rees discharged at 8:00 a.m. court call; Parmilee held on $800.00 bond.
10. Later that same morning, Rees rearrested by City Marshal Howe.
11. Monday, Dec. 5th 1853 — Quinn dies at 11:40 a.m.
12. Tuesday, Dec. 6th 1853 — DDP reported that Quinn had made arrest of individual who had escaped from him Friday night, Dec. 2nd.
13. Monday, December 12th 1853 , Common Council, Committee on Police, ORDER to Suppress Houses of Ill Fame in the North Division. Ordered the Mayor and City Marshal and entire police force to descend on the Sands to rout out houses of ill fame and to vindicate the honor of the Police because an officer has lately been killed there while in the discharge of his duty . (Common Council file # 1277, dated Dec. 12, 1853.)
14. Monday, December 12th Common Council receives an Approved Bill from the Mayor & Clerk and paid Lt. James Donohue of the Night Watch $26.00 for “Extra Services as Watchmen.” (File 1272)
15. The Missing Link Found: Common Council File #1272 dated December 12, 1853 — “Mayor and Clerk’s Report of Bills Paid and Duly Certified” for $26.00 points to the missing link . It suggests that all 26 men of the Night Watch performed “extra services” by going to the Sands Sunday morning, Dec. 4th to look for and arrest Rees and Parmilee. They each worked from 5:00 a.m. (the end of regular shift) to 12:00 noon …a total of 7 hours. Seven hours’ times 14.3 cents per hour equals $1.00 for each man…since there were 26 men, it makes perfect sense that the Night Watch was paid $26.00. It all fits.
16. It is interesting to recall that on December 18, 1853 , the entire Night Watch of 26 descended on Sands pursuant to the Dec. 12th Order (File 1277) and arrested about 20 persons.
17. The Night Watch consisted of 26 men at this time according to the Chicago Journal and Tribune Dec. 19th and 20, 1853.
Given the fact that both Rees and Parmilee appeared in custody in front of the Police Court Judge at 0800 Monday morning December 5, 1853, just how was it, by whom, when and where were they arrested?
At the end of watch roll call (held daily at 5:00 a.m. ) the Night Watch was briefed as to the assault on Constable Quinn which had occurred on the Sands just hours earlier. The Night Watch then was authorized to work “extra services” and descended en masse on the Sands to search for and arrest both Rees and Parmilee. Judging from the $26.00 payment made to the Watch for these “extra services,” this enforcement action had to have occurred during the seven hour period ( 5:00 a.m. to 12 o’clock noon ) on Sunday morning, December 4, 1853 . All 26 Watchmen had to have been assigned these “extra services” and were paid according to the hourly wage of 14.3 cents per hour . Each man got one dollar for his “extra services.”
Note: In December of 1853, the Night Watch consisted of 26 men. Since the hourly pay rate was 14.3cents per hour each man had to have worked extra services for seven hours ( 5:00 a.m. to 12 o’clock noon ) because 7 times 14.3 cents equals $1.00. 26 men times one dollar each equals exactly $26.00.
This is how both Rees and Parmilee appeared in Police Court at 0800 on Monday morning, December 5, 1853 .
Additional relevant facts:
Reference is made to the Daily Democratic Press article dated December 6, 1853 , that reported Quinn was killed during the discharge of his duty. Paragraph 2 of that article stated, “Saturday night , at the solicitation of a complainant he consented to go to the same quarter to arrest the same person (Parmilee) who escaped him the night before and made the arrest and was again assaulted by Reese and considerably injured.” The information that Quinn “made the arrest” was only corroborated by the fact that both Rees and Parmilee ended up in Police Court Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. but it was never clear until now as to how and when they got there…We now know from the aforementioned “missing link” that it was Quinn (as observed by Wilson Perry to have been on the Sands on Sunday morning; see CJ 02/01/1854 ) in the company of the Night Watch who together descended on the Sands and had to have effected the arrests at that time….as corroborated by the Mayor’s Bill which paid the Night Watch for these “extra services.”
Further proof that the arrests of Rees and Parmilee took place Sunday morning lies in the fact that it could not have occurred at any other window of time and had Quinn present. We know with 100% certainty that Quinn was too ill to have worked between 12:00 midnight and 8:00 a.m . Monday morning, December 5, 1853 . In fact, he was dying at that time. So we know for certain that Rees & Parmilee were not arrested during the first 8 hours of the day on Monday Dec. 5, 1853 .
This only leaves Sunday December 4, 1853 , as the only day in which they could have been arrested . We know Quinn was home in bed beginning around noon on Sunday Dec. 4th…so there was no way Rees and Parmilee were arrested after 12: 00 noon on Sunday….
Therefore, the only window of time that Quinn could have been present (as stated in the Daily Democratic Press of 12/06/1853 ) and have made the arrest with the Night Watch was sometime after 5:00 a.m. and before noon on Sunday, Dec. 4, 1853 .
In view of the aforementioned facts and circumstances, it is the ONLY window of time that fits with ALL of the pieces of the other evidence in this case. … and it makes perfect sense in light of the newly discovered evidence i.e., the Mayor’s approved payment of $26.00 for ‘extra services for the Watchmen.”
This all had to have transpired because Quinn had to have reported the Saturday night assault on him by Rees to the Captain of the Night Watch at the End of Night Watch roll call at 5:00 a.m. This was done by Quinn in accordance with all of the above cited Police Rules.
It is critically important to note & understand that the Mayor and Clerk had to have received the bill from the City Marshal and reviewed and approved the same during the work week of Dec. 5 to Friday Dec. 9th in order for it to have been on the agenda for the Common Council meeting held on Monday December 12th 1853 at which time it was, in fact, paid. Since the actual work was performed on Sunday morning, December 4, 1853 from 5:00 a.m. to noon ….the bill would have been processed during the coming work week of December 5 to 9, 1853 .
The simple fact is this: There occurred NO OTHER event in Chicago during this whole time period that would have caused the Night Watch to have been called into “extra services” The extra services relative to the Quinn case was the only possible reason the Night Watch was paid $26.00 at this time. It all fits.
Additional relevant information:
Paying the Night Watch for “Extra Services” was a real anomaly ….In fact, it only happened two other times in the political year which ran from March 1, 1853 to March 7, 1854 . Those “Mayor and Clerk’s Bills paid” were on September 19, 1853 , and again on March 6, 1854 …
The September 19th payment was made pursuant to the September 7th and 8th investigation of the shooting of the famous Mr . Alan Pinkerton , then a Deputy Sheriff for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, who was shot on September 7, 1853, at 11:30 pm at the corner of Clark and Monroe…The resultant investigation was pursued all night into the morning hours and the offender was never arrested. Mr. Pinkerton worked until about noon helping to try to find the offender but was too weak to work into the afternoon.
The “Mayor’s Bill” of March 6, 1854 , for “Extra services by the Night Watch” was relative to an incident that occurred at midnight February 28, 1854, with the arrest of a burglar that started a series of investigative events that rolled well into the morning of March 1, 1854 . These “extra services” resulted in a major burglary ring having been broken up by the Night Watch. Arrests started at midnight and subsequent search warrants were obtained and executed during the early morning hours of March 1, 1854 . Five men were arrested. From the newspaper articles it is clear that the investigative work developed over night and well into the morning. The leads were turned over to Casper Lauer of the Day Police when he began his regular shift at 9:00 a.m. Later in the morning , Lauer arrested fellow Frenchman, Eugene Lemier, the alleged chief of the burglary gang.
This new piece of evidence is very telling. It answers a question heretofore unsettled. It represents the final missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle that comprises this case. To be fully appreciated, it must be considered in concert with the totality of the other facts and circumstances of the Quinn jigsaw puzzle. It is new evidence that answers the question: How did Rees and Parmilee end up in jail such that they were presented in court in custody at 0800 Monday morning?
Further, it dispels the unfounded allegations advanced by the Police Department’s so-called historian, who alleged that Constable Quinn did not follow police policy, rules and procedures. Hopefully, the historian will somehow muster the integrity and courage to appear at the next meeting of the Committee on Police and Fire and at that time brief the Committee as to his basis for believing and advancing such unfounded charges.
An analysis of all of the Mayor and Clerk’s Bills approved under the 1853-54 Administration of Mayor Gray showed only three times where the Night Watch was paid for extra services….these events involved the shooting of an officer (Pinkerton) the beating of an officer (Quinn) and the breaking up of a gang of big time jewel thieves (Lemier and four others). The rarity of the Night Watch working “extra services” can not be overstated. In any fair analysis, it must be taken into account when examining this aspect of the Quinn case.
11.7 Final note for any “Doubting Thomas”
the fact that the Night Watch only performed “Extra Services” a total of three times during the period from March 1, 1853, to March 6, 1854, and two of those instances involved investigations (the Pinkerton shooting & the Lemier jewel thieves) that both began during the Night Watch’s normal working hours and continued long after the regular shift ended at 5:00 a.m. ask yourself: What other significant event, if not the Quinn case, occurred in Chicago during the first week of December 1853 that would have caused the Night Watch to engage in a real anomaly, i.e., working “extra services?”
: There was no other event that occurred during the first week of December that would have caused the Night Watch to perform “extra services” other than the Quinn case. In this case, the Night Watch was dispatched on early Sunday morning December 4, 1853 , to descend on the Sands and to find and arrest both Rees and Parmilee. This all had to have occurred because Quinn reported the assault perpetrated on him by Rees to the Captain of the Night Watch Owen McCarty and the Lieutenant of the Night Watch, James Donohue…as there was no way he would have reported it to his political nemesis, the Know Nothing Luther Nichols, Captain of the Day Police — whose informant was none other than the offender, William Rees.
Common sense tells us this is exactly what happened. The arrests of Rees and Parmilee can not be explained in any other way. It not only solves the mystery around the arrest of Rees and Parmilee but by the weight of the evidence, reveals the unfounded position and unsupported viewpoints of the police department’s historian as just as bogus as his many other revisionist theories . (See “Debunking Myths” at www.constablequinn.com for details.)
PART FOUR: THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT
Chicago Tribune, February 6, 2009
Police Supt. Jody Weis backs honor for cop slain in 1853
Circumstances of Constable James Quinn’s death have been long debated
By Angela Rozas, TRIBUNE REPORTER
Chicago police may soon have a new cop to honor as its first officer slain in the line of duty.
In an about-face from previous police administrations, Supt. Jody Weis has applied to add Constable James Quinn to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, saying he was killed in the line of duty in 1853. He was fatally beaten.
If approved Friday by a committee of the Washington-based memorial foundation, Quinn would bypass Casper Lauer, stabbed to death in 1854, as the first officer killed in Chicago.
Previous superintendents decided that the constable did not meet the criteria to be classified as an on-the-job death, rankling at least one city official and a former Drug Enforcement Administration officer, who have crusaded for years to include the officer.
Police officials have long debated the circumstances of Quinn’s death. Opponents believe that he died during a drunken fight in The Sands, a shantytown of brothels and saloons that is now the Streeterville neighborhood. Supporters insisted that the officer went to the area to arrest a thief and that unreliable witnesses concocted the fight.
In 2007 the Chicago History Museum conducted an 11-month investigation into the officer’s death at the urging of the City Council, led by Ald. Edward Burke3 (14th). Historians determined that he indeed died in the line of duty.
Weis said Thursday that the department’s Honored Star Committee, made up of senior department staff, recommended Quinn be added to the national memorial. Weis said he decided that there was enough evidence, even if not definitive, that Quinn was killed in the line of duty.
“No one will ever probably know exactly what happened” 150 years ago, Weis said. “It was definitely the preponderance of the evidence that convinced me that it was an in-the-line-of-duty death.”
“I’m just elated,” said Rick Barrett, the former DEA agent who has petitioned the Police Department for years to consider Quinn’s death for the honor. “We never gave up the fight because we truly believe in ‘never forget.'”
1Some sources incorrectly spell Lauer’s name as “Lower”, a phonetic spelling.
2Stephen P. Harkenbrook is not included in Alderman Edward M. Burke’s comprehensive “End of Watch.”
3Alderman Edward M. Burke’s End of Watch, published in 2007, provides the following additional motive regarding Constable Quinn’s death:
“In 1853 Quinn was elected to the office of constable by his neighbors and local residents of the 9th Ward. It was not, however, a good time to be either foreign-born or Roman Catholic in Chicago. Prejudices,particularly official municipal prejudices, were powerful and unforgiving. It was the era of “Know-Nothings,” a hate-based political party that pledged to exclude all those who were Catholic and not American-born from elected positions of public honor and trust. Quinn’s defeat of the Know-Nothing candidate in the area of the Sands made him a marked man, someone who had purposely challenged the status quo. With the city’s police Captain, Luther Nichols, the Cook County Sherif Cyrus P. Bradley, and many other officials all sworn members of the secret Know-Nothings Party, Quinn was a visible thorn-in-the-side of his biased opponents. The fact that he carried the election in his 9th Ward with a majority of Irish Catholic voters further alienated Quinn from the local political powerhouses. All of this is critical in understanding the circumstances of Quinn’s death and the ironic response he was to receive in death from Chicago’s official leaders.”