1968 protesters denounce police reunion
June 23, 2009
by Erika Slife
A protester who helped organize the anti-war demonstrations during
the 1968 Democratic National Convention spoke out Tuesday morning
against the planned reunion Friday for Chicago police officers who
were at the riots.
Don Rose, a former spokesman for the National Mobilization Committee
to End the War in Vietnam, condemned the reunion at a City Hall press
conference held by Chicago Copwatch, a community group that is
organizing a march to the Fraternal Order of Police hall -- where the
event is being held -- on the night of the reunion.
Rose took issue with the "provocative language" used by reunion
organizers, who are promoting the event on their Web site as a way to
honor and recognize the police "for their contributions to
maintaining law and order -- and for taking a stand against Anarchy."
"They seem to be seeking to rewrite history," Rose said. "These were
unprovoked assaults by the police."
Chicago Copwatch is planning to hold a rally at Union Park at Ashland
Avenue and Lake Street at 6 p.m. Friday before the march to the FOP
hall, 1412 W. Washington Blvd.
Also at the press conference were Fred Hampton Jr., son of slain
Black Panther leader Fred Hampton Sr. and head of the Prisoners of
Conscience Committee, and Patricia Hill, executive director for the
African American Police League and a co-convener of Black People
Against Police Torture.
Hill, a former Chicago police officer, said she was told by the
reunion organizers that she would not be allowed into the event
because it was a "private party."
"The names have changed but the game is the same," Hill said. "The
people will have to assert themselves again."
Organizers of the reunion could not be immediately reached for comment.
Reunion set for 1968 convention cops
June 18, 2009
BY KRISTEN SCHORSCH Staff writer
At 24 , what rookie Chicago Police officer Tom Flanagan witnessed in
August 1968 was far beyond his years.
Riots. Violence. Swarms of youth, men and women not much younger or
older than Flanagan, demonstrating on the streets of downtown Chicago
to protest the Democratic National Convention.
Working on the tactical unit, Flanagan, who grew up in Chicago's
Auburn Gresham community, helped chase sleeping demonstrators out of
Lincoln Park, then whistled and marched back to a bus with his fellow
officers to wait for their next command.
The next day he sat on the bus for about nine hours listening to
police radios, just waiting for the call.
"It was nerve-racking, to say the least," said Flanagan, 66, now a
retired officer who became a private investigator. "I always remember
how scared you get. We expected the bombs to come, but they never did."
The Chicago Democratic National Convention of 41 years ago when
hippies and yippies came to town to protest and urine rained down
from hotel rooms onto the heads of police guarding the event, has
become the stuff of legend - and history classes and books and pop
culture references galore.
Chicago became a fierce battleground, and what exactly happened
depends who you ask on either side of the thin blue line.
And for 41 years, police who worked the riots say they have been
misunderstood. One Chicago police officer wants to salute the Chicago
officers who he says fought to protect their city. That's why all the
riot police and then some are invited to the Chicago Riot Cops
Reunion June 26.
Got some old riot gear, log books or photos from the event? Bring
them. The more memorabilia, the better, organizer Mike Mattson says.
Just doing their jobs
Some 10,000 demonstrators from across the country descended on
Chicago in August 1968. That prompted Mayor Richard J. Daley to rally
police, hoping to preserve the peace and prevent disorder.
But what unfolded was chaos, people who were there recall.
Michael Kazin, a history professor at Georgetown University, was a
Harvard undergraduate and leader of the Students for a Democratic
Society student chapter at school when he came to Chicago to protest
Lucky for Kazin, 61, he didn't get hurt, but he did get locked up in
Cook County jail for two days. Police arrested him for walking near
Lincoln Park, which earned him a few bologna sandwiches and some
Kool-Aid in jail.
"Obviously being arrested for walking on a public street was a little
too harsh," Kazin said.
Looking back, though, Kazin said police were bombarded with rumors
that protesters were going to poison the city's water supply or strip
and make love in the streets.
"A lot of people ... on the left spent too much time I think blaming
the police," Kazin said. "Policies we didn't like weren't made by the
police. They were made by the government. The police were just doing
Then again, some of the ones roughed up by police weren't violent and
didn't need to be harmed, Kazin said.
Flanagan heard the rumors too, including that Chicago could be bombed.
"We were the good guys"
Times were tense. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated four months
before the convention. Cities across the country were erupting in
When the police couldn't squash the battles during the convention,
the state National Guard came in. With barbed wire on the front of
their vehicles, guardsmen lined up next to each other and pushed the
sea of protesters back.
"Working the riots in the '60s was probably the most scary thing I
ever did but also was something that made me, I think, I don't know,
probably almost made me what I was for the rest of my life," Flanagan
said. "The closeness and everything that you got with these guys."
And no one every said thank you to the police, Flanagan said. That's
why Mattson planned the reunion.
"And we were actually the good guys, believe it or not," Flanagan said.
If you go
What: Chicago Riot Cops Reunion
When: 7 p.m., June 26
Where: Chicago Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, 1412 W. Washington Blvd.
Cost: $30 a ticket
To buy a ticket: Eemail@example.com
For more information: Visit chicagoriotcops.com
Activists announce protest of 1968 police reunion
Coalition of police watchdog groups plan to march against the reunion
of police involved in 1968 convention riots
Bill KIssinger | WGNTV NEWS
June 23, 2009
CHICAGO - Community activists are planning to march on the streets of
Chicago to protest a reunion of police officers involved in the 1968
Democratic National Convention riots.
A coalition of police watchdog groups and other organizations
announced plans for the protest at a City Hall news conference Tuesday.
The reunion will be held Friday at police union headquarters on the West Side.
Activists say police are celebrating violent oppression of the 1968
demonstrators. They also delivered a letter to Mayor Daley's office
demanding that he condemn the event.
Reunion organizers say the police were taking a stand against anarchy
during the convention. They say the reunion is a chance for officers
to share their stories.
1968 Riot Cops Organize Reunion
Copwatch Group To Protest
Jun 17, 2009
Chicago Police officers who clashed with protesters during the 1968
Democratic National Convention are planning a reunion.
Members of the Fraternal Order of Police say the union will hold a
"Chicago Riot Cops Reunion" on June 26 to mark what until now hasn't
been considered one of the proud moments in Chicago Police Department history.
The union's Web site says the officers will be honored and recognized
for their contributions to maintaining law and order, and for taking
a "stand against anarchy."
"The Democratic National Convention was about to start and the only
thing that stood between Marxist street thugs and public order was a
thin blue line of dedicated, tough Chicago police officers," the Web
The union blames the "collective Left" for the historical impression
of the convention violence, which many sources characterize as a police riot.
"Chicago Police officers who participated in the riots continue to
endure unending criticism - all of which is unwarranted, inaccurate
and wrong," the Web site said.
The event will feature photos, displays, a guest speaker and food.
Former police Supt. Phil Cline will be a keynote speaker, and Chicago
Tribune columnist John Kass has also been invited.
Meanwhile, the watchdog group Chicago Copwatch is organizing a march
to the reunion site the same night of the police event, and is using
dramatic language to promote it.
"Officers who cracked heads at the Democratic Convention… will be
hobnobbing with today's police who are still occupying our
communities and phalanxing our rallies," the Chicago Copwatch
Facebook page said.
The group plans to rally at Union Park at Ashland Avenue and Lake
Street, and march to the FOP lodge with "effigies and dolls of riot
police." The group says they have filed a permit for the event.
At the start of the convention in August 1968, members of the
political activist group the Yippies and other protesters gathered in
Lincoln Park for what was billed a "Festival of Life" and a protest
against the Vietnam War.
Clashes with police began when officers tried to enforce a curfew in
Grant Park, and escalated in the days afterward.
On Wednesday night during the convention, video showed officers
beating protesters and bystanders outside the Chicago Hilton and
Towers. Some protesters threw objects and sprayed caustic substances
at officers. As the night went on, the situation worsened.
"Officers pushed people through a plate-glass window and then,
according to witnesses, attacked the dazed victims as they lay amid
broken glass," the Chicago Tribune reports. "A group of police
cheered a soldier as he bashed a demonstrator and attacked a
photographer who filmed the scene."
At the time of the clash between police and protesters, many
Chicagoans came out in favor of police actions. But during the
convention at the International Amphitheatre, U.S. Sen. Abraham
Ribicoff of Connecticut decried "Gestapo tactics" on the streets,
prompting an angry response from Mayor Richard J. Daley.
The incident led to charges of rioting and conspiracy to riot against
eight people, and the theatrical Chicago 7 trial.
March Against Police Violence At the 1968 Riot Cops Reunion
18 June 2009
Join Chicago Copwatch for a march against police brutality and in
celebration of murdered Black Panther Mark Clark's 62nd birthday.
Rally at Union Park Ashland Ave & Lake St
June 26th 6pm
March to Fraternal Order of Police Lodge
1412 W. Washington Blvd
The Chicago lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police will be hosting a
1968 Riot Cop Reunion. Officers who cracked heads at the Democratic
Convention (and at the Division Street riots of 1966, and murdered
Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark) will be hobnobbing with
today's police who are still occupying our communities and repressing
We're organizing hundreds of Chicagoans to rally and march, to speak
from personal experience about violence of the Chicago police in the
1960s, as well as their violence today. We will be marching to the
FOP lodge, and have filed for a permit to see if we can't make it a
bit safer for everyone attending (although we will rally and march,
permit or none).
Bring your friends, make effigies and dolls of riot police, and help
us let these cops who celebrate their sadistic violence know: We
can't forget, because we're still living it!
CONTACT US! (312) 402-7949, firstname.lastname@example.org, CHICAGO
COPWATCH, P.O. Box 81636, CHICAGO IL 60601