Patrolman Harry C. Beasley

Patrolman Harry C. Beasley

Newark Police Department, Ohio

End of Watch Thursday, July 2, 1931

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Harry C. Beasley

Patrolman Harry Beasley was shot and killed when he interrupted several burglars attempting to break into a safe at a shoe store. The suspects were never identified.

Patrolman Beasley was a U.S. Navy veteran of WWI and was the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor as the result of his heroism during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico, on April 21th, 1914, while serving aboard the U.S.S. Florida. He had served with the Newark Police Department for seven years and was survived by his wife. He is buried Cedar Hill Cemetery, Newark, Ohio.

Bio

  • Age 41
  • Tour 7 years
  • Badge 17
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender Never identified

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Veterans column: Paying respects to veteran, Newark Ohio police officer Beasley in 1931

Posted on August 1, 2020
Newark Advocate News

When Officer Harry Beasley died from his wounds on July 2, 1931, two men were imprisoned in Chillicothe on suspicion of the robbery and shooting of Beasley. Morris Deer, 23, and Paul Murphy, 22, were held on technicalities while their fingerprints were compared with those found on the discarded safe from the Newark Shoe store. The same Newark Advocate article, which reported on Beasley’s death also had the announcement from the state bureau of investigation that the fingerprints did not match Deer or Murphy. Newark Chief of Police McMasters, was now back to square one.

The funeral for the slain officer was held on Monday, July 6. His body was at his sister’s house at 81 Day Ave. for family and friends to view. That afternoon the funeral procession formed at the home to escort the body to the First Methodist Church. The Chief of Police led the procession with a motorcycle escort, which was followed by Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Navy. The V.F.W color guard and the Knights of Pythias were next along with Major William Keller, who also had been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and represented the National Commander of the V.F.W. Ohio Governor George White and his escort followed the official cars. Next in the processional came the Officers of the Newark Police department and approximately 75 members of the V.F.W. and American Legion. A large number of police chiefs from other cities in Ohio were at the rear of the procession. They marched up Main Street then around the square and made their way to the church.

The stores in Newark were closed during the services. The Midland Theatre paused during their regular program while their organist played the hymn “Abide with Me.” Special lighting effects shone on the stage during the program, which concluded with the playing of “Taps.” At the conclusion of the church service, the casket was escorted to Cedar Hill Cemetery, where more eulogies were given followed by a 21-gun salute. The service concluded when Officer Jack Jones flew over in his airplane and dropped a wreath on the grave.

Through the weeks that followed, the investigation continued. A safe that had been stolen a week before Beasley’s murder, was found in the old canal behind the Zanesville, Ohio police station. Newark police believed both incidents were tied to the same individuals. However, months went by with no arrests. The months faded away into years as detectives tried to solve the Beasley case, hampered by the fact the case file has been missing for years. The missing file has led to conspiracy theories over the years, but nothing was ever proved. Beasley’s grave at Cedar Hill Cemetery is rather plain; no great monument marks his resting place. He had gained notoriety in Newark for his Medal of Honor, that notoriety was sealed further as he became only the second Newark Police officer killed in the line of duty. Perhaps as one stands by his grave, they can hear the hymn from the Midland organ and reflect on these words to honor the brave life of Harry Beasley.

Retired Police Officer
NYPD

August 1, 2020

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