Constable James Quinn

Constable James Quinn

Chicago Police Department, Illinois

End of Watch Monday, December 5, 1853

James Quinn

Constable James 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.

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.


  • Age 39
  • Tour 9 months
  • Badge 9

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Incident Date Friday, December 2, 1853
  • Weapon Person
  • Offender Sentenced to 5 years

Most Recent Reflection

View all 41 Reflections

Forever grateful to DEA Agent Rick Barrett for his passionate commitment that lead to the discovery of this remarkable historical discovery.

My Grandfather Thomas O'Brien was a descendant of Mary Quinn (3rd generation) and would have been deeply appreciative of the amazing effort that went towards this meticulous investigative research that lead to revealing this historical incident.

Thank you to all that share Constable Quinn's story and to those that are dedicated to continue keeping the stories of all heroic fallen officers alive.

Great, great, great, great grandaughter of Constable James Quinn, #9

May 27, 2018

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