A burglary was reported at Peoples Cloak and Fur Store on State Street in Chicago on September 20, 1920. Then, the Chicago Defender reports:
Within half an hour Policeman John Shannon (white) arrived to investigate. The officer found Oscar Brown, aged 26, of Indiana Harbor, Ind., in the store and questioned him. Brown, it is claimed, became excited and made for the door. Officer Shannon apparently believing him to be one of the burglars, opened fire….
[The store owner reported that Brown was not one of the burglars. Attorney W.E. Momson was retained to prosecute the officer.]
Policeman Shannon is considered a faithful officer and has never been called to a trail board for misconduct. Brown at the time of his death was employed by Inland Steel company, having come from Indiana Harbor from Hurtsboro, Ala. He is survived by a widow and brothers, Aaron and Mose Brown.
— Chicago Defender, September 25, 1920, p.1
On October 9, the Chicago Defender reported that Officer Shannon had been exonerated by the coroner’s jury. The family instructed attorney Momson to “go before the grand jury and secure an indictment.”
Nothing more appears in the Defender archives. Searches of other databases and general internet search did not yield more.
KILLED BY POLICE; FAMILY PROSECUTES: Oscar Brown, Slain as Robber Suspects Proves Innocent Victim
The Chicago Defender (Big Weekend Edition) (1905-1966); Chicago, Ill. [Chicago, Ill]. 25 Sep 1920: 1.
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