On this date in 1937, ten unarmed demonstrators were shot and killed by Chicago Police outside the Republic Steel mill. The demonstrators were members of the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC) of the Congress of Industrial Organizations. They were on strike against Republic and other steel companies that had refused to sign a labor agreement similar to one reached with U.S. Steel, the largest of the American steel companies.
On Memorial Day, hundreds gathered at SWOC headquarters and prepared to march on Republic Steel. As they neared the mill, their path was blocked by members of the Chicago Police Department. The protestors were told to turn back. When they refused, the police answered with tear gas, billy clubs and bullets. Ten of the protestors were killed, dozens more were injured.
A coroner’s jury would later rule the deaths as “justifiable homicide.”
If you’d like to judge for yourself whether deadly force was justified, check out this video of the incident. The violence starts about five and a half minutes into the video. Not a great moment in Chicago Police history.
Wikipedia: Memorial Day Massacre of 1937
Chicagoist – Flashback: Memorial Day Massacre of 1937