Patrolman Nels Hansen

Patrolman Nels Hansen

Chicago Police Department, Illinois

End of Watch Monday, June 14, 1886

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Nels Hansen

Officer Nels Hansen was one of many officers detailed to disperse protesters near Haymarket Square on May 4, 1886. Suddenly, a bomb exploded and a gun battle ensued. Officer Hansen suffered severe wounds. Officer Hansen was the seventh of eight officers to die in this incident.

Officer Hansen had served with the Chicago Police Department for 16 months and was assigned to the 4th Precinct. He was survived by his wife and two children.

Eight men were arrested and charged with murder. Seven were convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The other one was sentenced to 15 years. On November 11, 1887, four were executed by hanging. The day before one of the suspects killed himself in his cell with a smuggled dynamite cap which he exploded in his mouth. The other three were pardoned by Governor Altgeld in 1893.

Eight police officers were killed during the Haymarket Riot labor dispute. The officers were at the scene of a civil disorder when the rioters opened fire and threw a bomb into the crowd. Eight police officers suffered fatal wounds and 70 other people were injured by the gunfire and explosion.

The officers who were killed included Patrolman Mathias Degan, Patrolman John Barrett, Patrolman George Miller, Patrolman Timothy Flavin, Patrolman Thomas Redden, Patrolman Nels Hansen and Patrolman Michael Sheehan. Patrolman Timothy Sullivan succumbed to his wounds two years later, on June 13, 1888.


  • Age 37
  • Tour 1 year, 4 months
  • Badge 822

Incident Details

  • Cause Bomb
  • Incident Date Tuesday, May 4, 1886
  • Weapon Explosives; Bomb
  • Offender Not available

bomb, crowd control, Protest

Most Recent Reflection

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Please know that no passage of time can erase your service and the sacrifice you made that day. Rest In Peace always.

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

June 14, 2020

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