Friday, February 06, 2009

Constable James Quinn,CPD Gets Justice - Well Done Mr. Rick Barrett and Ald. Ed Burke!

Justice may come to a Chicago Constable, James Quinn, who died in the line of duty, but denied the simple justice of recognition since 1853. Two men former DEA agent Rick Barrett and Chicago's most well-read public servant Alderman Ed Burke have championed the infamy of past and present Chicago Administrations to do simple honor to a law enforcement officer. Well done gentlemen!

Constable Quinn succumbed to injuries sustained in two previous incidents in which he was attacked and severely beaten while in the discharge of his duties.

The first attack occurred after he served a warrant on a man in a notorious hideout for criminals known as the Sands. Constable Quinn was walking the prisoner to the Watch House when the man asked to return inside to retrieve his property. As the two walked back inside the establishment's owner attacked him, breaking one a rib and injuring his jaw. The prisoner escaped during the attack.

The following evening an arrest warrant was delivered to Constable Quinn to be served on the subject who had escaped his custody the previous evening. Upon his return to the Sands, Constable Quinn came upon the subject who had assaulted him the night before, and was again attacked by this man. Quinn was thrown to the ground and kicked several times suffering fractured ribs and a punctured lung.

Despite being critically injured, Constable Quinn reported to roll call the following morning. He returned to the Sands a third time, resulting in the arrest of the original suspect and the owner who had attacked him.

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.Constable Quinn's condition worsened throughout the day, causing congestion of the brain. He succumbed to the injuries the following day.

The suspect was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison for killing Quinn.

Constable Quinn had been elected Constable of the Ninth Ward only 9 months earlier. In 1853, the Constable served a dual role as police officer during the early stages of the Chicago Police Department.

Constable Quinn's widow and three children were compensated $50 from city funds after the Police Department ruled that Quinn was "killed in the discharge of his duty."

Today's Tribune recounts the possible turn-around in justice denied to one of the many who go in harm's way in the public good.

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 Burke (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.' ",0,7750774.story

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