Fight for Rights: The Chicago 1919 Riots and the Struggle for Black Justice

Coroner's Report on First and Last Riot Deaths

Hidden amid the other news that Saturday, several papers briefly reported that the coroner, Peter Hoffman, had issued the autopsy report on Eugene Williams’ death. That report, prepared by the coroner’s physician, Edward Hatton, and endorsed by two other doctors, J.P. Simmons and Midian Brunsfield, a well-known Black physician, declared that there was no evidence that Williams’ death was the result of being hit by rocks. Commenting on the report, the coroner admitted that the rocks thrown at Williams and his friends might have interfered with his ability to save himself.

As momentous as it was, it was not the last riot-related event of the day. Late that Saturday evening, the last official death blamed on the riot was tallied when Henry Goodman, who had been attacked by a white mob on July 28, died from tetanus.

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