Publisher: Kent State University Press
An extraordinary look at race and policing in late nineteenth-century Baltimore
In 1875 an Irish-born Baltimore policeman, Patrick McDonald, entered the home of Daniel Brown, an African American laborer, and clubbed and shot Brown, who died within an hour of the attack. In similar cases at the time, authorities routinely exonerated Maryland law enforcement officers who killed African Americans, usually without serious inquiries into the underlying facts. But in this case, Baltimore’s white community chose a different path. A coroner’s jury declined to attribute the killing to accident or self-defense; the state’s attorney indicted McDonald and brought him to trial; and a criminal court jury convicted McDonald of manslaughter.