John Simpson

Born: 1889
Occupation: Police Officer
Killed: July 28th, 1919
Cause of death: Bullet Wound

John Simpson, an African American, was born in 1889 in Kentucky. After working as a railroad cook, Simpson moved to Chicago, ultimately living at 3910 S. Calumet Avenue. In Chicago, he found a job as a police officer and worked out of the Wabash Avenue police station. Simpson served in World War One, as a member of the 365th infantry, and was discharged on March 18th, 1919. After returning to the Chicago Police Department, Simpson was charged with a prohibition violation and was suspended from the Department. On July 28th, Simpson was shot by a band of Black men who he was attempting to place under arrest at 31st Street and Wabash Avenue because the group had been looting stores on S. State Street. The Chicago Commission Report, however, stated, “Simpson was shot by a negro keeper of a poolroom on account of a previous quarrel.” As with many of the killings, the circumstances and details of this confrontation remain uncertain. Simpson died of his gunshot wound at Mercy Hospital on July 28th at the age of thirty. Simpson was the only police officer killed during the riots. Simpson is buried at Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Island, just south of Chicago.

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