Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Past Never Really Dies -OR- That's Just How He Rolled.

Turn the page?

Chicago in the 60s was a volatile place gripped by baser instincts. Whole swaths of the city pulled up stakes, lit out and built the suburbs; taking EVERYTHING with them.

It wasn't a melting pot, it was a cauldron. Authority was exerting its might with a cowering public's proxy standing shakily behind them. The "uppities" had to be dealt with. An example must be set that, IN CHICAGO, protest will not be tolerated. Questioning authority will not be tolerated. Popular uprisings will be quashed.

Mayor Daley the elder is the most remembered face of the era, but there were others.
Edward Hanrahan was the Cook County State's Attorney. Top of the law enforcement food chain, leader of the upright brigade. The Col. Nathan Jessup of Chicago's Badland isolation outpost. It was his job to make Uppities think twice about starting shit in Chicago. Might makes right. Good is never evil and evil must be stopped.

That all went terribly awry on December 4th, 1969.


December 4, 1969, at 4:15 a.m., gunfire suddenly erupted and fourteen officers, working under the direction of Cook County State's Attorney Edward V. Hanrahan, burst into the home of 20-year-old Fred Hampton - the leader of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party. When the sound of gunfire faded, Hampton lay dead in his bed, with Panther member Mark Clark nearby. Several other occupants of the apartment survived gunshot wounds. The police emerged unscathed. Police had pumped at least 98 rounds into the apartment. The falsification of ballistics and other evidence, and so on, led to the indictment of State's Attorney Hanrahan, and a dozen Chicago police personnel for conspiring to obstruct justice. This was dropped by Chicago Judge Phillip Romitti on November 1, 1972 as part of a quid pro quo arrangement in which remaining charges were dropped against the Panther survivors.

In November of 1982 - the City of Chicago, Cook County and the Federal Government entered into a settlement agreement that awarded 1.85 million dollars to the nine survivors and the relatives of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. Cf. Hanrahan v. Hampton, et al., 446 U.S. 754, 100 S.C. 1987 (1980). Ballistics experts determined that only one of the bullets was fired from a weapon belonging to one of the apartment's occupants. In addition, the experts said, the "bullet holes" in the front door, which the police said showed that shots had come from within, had actually been made by nails used by the authorities in an effort to cover up the facts of the raid. Not a single officer or anyone at the State's Attorney's office or the FBI ever spent a day in jail for the murders of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. Some of the officers involved in the raid are still members of the Chicago Police Department. Thirty years later, Richard M. Daley (Richard J.'s son) is Mayor of Chicago and former Illinois Black Panther Bobby Rush is a member of the United States Congress. In 1999, Rush ran for mayor of Chicago. He lost.

Hanrahan lost his reelection bid to Bernard Carey in 1972. People who normally voted democrat turned out in record numbers to vote a republican into office.

Edward Hanrahan died today at the age of 88.

Hanrahan Obit


driftglass said...

Thanks for remembering things as they were, not as people wish they might have been.

Rehctaw said...

Being there has a way of warping one's view of events. When I hear old timers talk about da old neighborhood and they're talking w/ their friends who all moved out at the same time, it's a bit eerie.

"And the place turned into a ghetto!"

None seem to be willing or able to connect the dots. Chicago's Islands, that rode out the exodus, are mostly intact today. Those that didn't bite at the panic peddling, can BE in their old neighborhood and talk about the old days.

But what do I know?