: This photograph captures a scene from the 1884 Cincinnati Courthouse Riot. A group of armed Ohio National Guard troops stands behind a barricade of overturned wagons on Court Street. The Cincinnati jail is visible in the background. The photo surface has two handwritten notes in white ink: "Court St. looking to Jail" (lower left) and "RAG Photos" (lower right).
"RAG" refers to Rombach & Groene, Cincinnati-based photographers and engravers.
In March 1884, public confidence in Cincinnati law enforcement was extremely low. The public believed that murderers and other serious offenders were not brought to justice promptly or received little punishment. Civil unrest was brought to a boil when seventeen-year-old William Berner was sentenced to only twenty years' imprisonment for manslaughter rather than murder. Berner had been charged with savagely beating his employer to death after being caught in the act of stealing $285. On March 28, 1884, thousands of citizens stormed the county jail and courthouse. The rioting, which lasted three days, required forces from the sheriff’s office, city police, and local and state militia to restore order. Fifty-four people were killed and more than 200 wounded. The courthouse and jail suffered enormous damage, and valuable records were destroyed from the assault and fire. The riot gained international notoriety and helped pave the way for removal of political favoritism and a larger police force. View on Ohio Memory.
: AL05826 Subjects
: Cincinnati (Ohio)--Riot, 1884; Riots; Riot control; Cincinnati (Ohio)--History; Ohio History--Military Ohio; Ohio. National Guard; Places
: Cincinnati (Ohio); Hamilton County (Ohio)