100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Policeman Shot In Labor Dispute In Ohio

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Fireman was a labor union of railroad workers founded in 1873. They worked to provide insurance for sickness and funeral benefits for locomotive firemen, the stokers of the coal engines on locomotives. In 1881 labor leader Eugene Debs was elected general secretary-treasurer and magazine editor. By 1902 there are 615 lodges and 43,376 members in the union conducting labor negotiations for improved wages and working conditions on more than 50 railroads. In 1906 the name of the union was changed to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen.

In 1912 the first federal arbitration board is appointed under the “Erdman Act” to settle a dispute over wages and working conditions. Their decision is considered to have favored management and is a bitter disappointment to the BLF&E and locomotive firemen and enginemen. The BLF&E and other railroad unions vote to strike and the Pennsylvania Railroad asks for a federal injunction against the strike claiming a united effort of multiple unions is “illegal”. Unrest spreads among all railroad workers.

On June 19, 1912 Patrolman Edward Parker of the Cleveland Police department was attempting to disperse a group of workers who were striking against the Pennsylvania Railroad. Parker approached a man believed to be the ringleader and as the man grabbed Parker, Parker hit him over the head with his club, breaking it. Parker reached for his revolver in his right hip pocket and a man shot him over the heart. Rising on one knee, Parker fired 3 shots at his fleeing murderer. Parker’s last words were “My God” as he dropped under a railroad crossing gate. Parker’s revolver and broken club were found by his side.

4 men, among them thought to be the man who did the shooting, were followed by a boy who had witnessed the shooting when they fled through an alley after the riot. They eluded officers by catching a street car. The boy stuck with them and got on the street car notifying the conductor and motorman that the men were on board. When the car stopped, the motorman summoned an officer and the men were arrested. 31 others were arrested at the scene for rioting. Officer Parker died at the hospital survived by a wife and daughter.

 

The Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Society page of officer Edward Parker : http://www.policememorialsociety.com/Officer_pages/parker_edward.htm

Cleveland Police officer Edward Parker – killed on duty
June 19, 1912

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