Federal Prohibition Agent Richard J. Sandlands

Federal Prohibition Agent Richard J. Sandlands

United States Department of the Treasury - Internal Revenue Service - Bureau of Prohibition, U.S. Government

End of Watch Friday, August 2, 1929

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Richard J. Sandlands

Federal Prohibition Agent Richard Sandlands was killed when his neck was broken while struggling with a suspect in a boat on the Detroit River in Detroit, Michigan.

Agent Sandlands was on a temporary assignment to Detroit for 60 days during a concentrated effort to stop rum-running between Canada and the United States. He and another agent spotted the boat and boarded.

When the second agent got off the boat to call for assistance the suspect attacked Agent Sandlands and killed him. When the second agent returned the boat was gone and Agent Sandlands could not be found. His body was found floating in the river several days later. The suspect and the suspect's wife were both charged with manslaughter. Charges were dropped against the wife. The suspect posted bond and was released.

In two different trials the suspect said he thought Agent Sandlands was a hijacker. The jury was deadlocked in each case. The sharges were dropped nine years later.

Agent Sandlands was survived by his wife, two children, and parents.


  • Age 26
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Location Michigan
  • Weapon Person
  • Offender Charges dismissed

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Rest in peace knowing that your service and sacrifice will always be remembered by your law enforcement brethren.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

August 2, 2020

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