LINE OF DUTY DEATHS
Roll Call of all Line of Duty Deaths. A Line of Duty Death is classified as the death of an active sworn member by felonious or accidental means during the course of performing police functions while on or off duty.
Patrolman Joseph Benson Isaacs
Patrolman Joseph Benson Isaacs, Star #5914, aged 28 years, was a 2 year, 3 month, 9 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 12th District - Kensington.
On October 9, 1931, at 4:00 a.m., Officer Isaacs was on furlough and in civilian dress in the Spanish Tavern Café located at 11851 South Michigan Avenue when he attempted to quell a fight. The officer was seated at the lunch counter and eating a late meal with two friends, Thomas Liskas, a cab driver with whom he had come, and John O’Leary, a night watchman who joined them at the tavern. An argument arose between some women at the back of the tavern when and a man identified as Thomas Scupino of 1610 South 51st Street, Cicero, Illinois warned them to keep quiet. Officer Isaacs left the counter telling Liskas the man, Scupino, was armed and drawing his own weapon approached the group. One of the women, Victoria Feltrin, grabbed his wrist and there followed a struggle in which Isaacs was disarmed and apparently shot with his own gun. Scupino and another woman escaped through a back door and fled in a taxi cab leaving his hat and coat behind. Officer Isaacs was transported to Roseland Community Hospital where he died of his bullet wounds the following morning at 2:30 a.m. on October 10, 1931.
Scupino fled to the Lexington Hotel located at 2135 South Michigan Avenue and at 6:00 a.m. he reported his car stolen to Cicero police. His automobile, the rear wheels in a grease pit, was found abandoned in a nearby lot.
Scupino was arrested on October 28, 1931 but would make no statement. He was exonerated by a Coroner's Jury on October 30, 1931 when Liskas or O’Leary could identify him as the person who actually fired the fatal shot. Captain Michael Grady, however, obtained a murder warrant and had Scupino re-arrested at the close of the inquest. On October 30, 1931, Victoria Feltrin was held to the Grand Jury by the Coroner as an accessory to murder before the fact. On November 4, 1931, Scupino was again held to the Grand Jury without bail, for murder, by Judge Leon Edelman. The December Grand Jury returned a No Bill in each case and they were both released.
Officer Isaacs’ funeral mass was held in Requiem at St. Bernard Catholic Church located at 340 West 66th Street and he was laid to rest on October 12, 1931 in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 6001 West 111th Street, Alsip, Illinois.
Patrolman Joseph Benson Isaacs, born March 29, 1903, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on July 1, 1929.
Officer Isaacs was survived by his wife, Alice (nee Monan Isaacs); children: Joseph and Robert; parents: Nellie (nee Shreve) and William J. and brothers: Charles and Francis.
Park Policeman Joseph Isola
Park Policeman Joseph Isola, Star #653, aged 46 years, was a 15 year veteran of the Chicago Park District Police Department, assigned to the West Section.On November 1, 1935, Officer Isola was patrolling his beat. While walking on Washington Boulevard Charles McGavin, former Illinois Congressman alerted him that his friend was being robbed and assaulted. Charles McGavin had been walking with his friend, Joseph Posch, age 50, owner of a café located at 1350 West Lake Street. The two men had just left Pasch’s café and while walking two armed robbers approached them on Ada Street just north of Washington Boulevard. The robbers honed in on Posch which allowed McGavin to run for help. The robbers beat Posch severely and took $28.00. After McGavin alerted Officer Isola, he rushed to the scene with McGavin to discover the robbery still in progress. The offenders saw Officer Isola approaching and immediately opened fire, striking the officer in the chest just below the heart. The robbers then fled the scene in an automobile. Posch sustained a fractured skull and was taken to Cook County Hospital and eventually recovered, but lost sight in his right eye from the beating. Officer Isola was rushed to Garfield Park Hospital where he died the next day on November 2, 1935.
Charles McGavin disappeared shortly after the shooting and did not remain on scene for questioning. He was later located at his residence, a hotel, located at 900 West Madison Street. He was taken into custody and transported to the Detective Bureau shortly before Isola’s death. McGavin was shown pictures of suspects, but was unable to identify any of the bandits from the pictures he was shown. Charles McGavin represented the 8th Illinois District in Congress from 1905 to 1909. His political career began when he was appointed Assistant City Attorney in 1903. He was, potentially, held in custody until he could testify at a Coroner’s Inquest into Isola’s death.
The two offenders were never apprehended.
Officer Isola was waked at his residence located at 530 North Curtis Street, his funeral mass was held at Christian Assembly Church located at 1350 West Erie Street and he was laid to rest on November 6, 1935 in Mount Olive Cemetery, 3800 North Narragansett Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
Park Policeman Joseph Isola, born February 20, 1889, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Park District Police Department in 1920.
Officer Isola served in the U.S. Army from August 26, 1918 thru August 26, 1918 serving only one day and was Discharged at the rank of Private. He was survived by his wife, Mary (nee Andreoni); sons: James and Lloyd; parents: Aurlia (nee Sbarbaro) and James and siblings: Albert, David, John, Lena, Louis, Mrs. N. Consentino and the late Abel and Louise.
The Chicago Park District Police Department, in the City of Chicago, was disbanded on December 31, 1957. On January 1, 1958, the remaining officers were transferred to the Chicago Police Department through an intergovernmental agreement. Fallen officers of the Chicago Park District Police Department are currently honored on the memorial wall of the Chicago Police Department as Chicago Police Officers. Their stars are displayed in the Honored Star Case located in the lobby of the Chicago Police Department at 3510 South Michigan Avenue.