Students appeal to CPD over fallen officer's misplaced star - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Students appeal to CPD over fallen officer's misplaced star

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A group of Chicago high school students are getting some unique insight and a real life lesson on social justice.

It's all about helping the first Chicago police officer killed in the line of duty back in 1853.

Just like the letters to Santa in the classic movie "Miracle on 34th Street," the students at Brother Rice High School are borrowing from that classic and they are hoping for a miracle on 35th Street. The star of Constable James Quinn is located inside what is called the "Superintendent's Honored Star Case" at Chicago Police Department headquarters. Police badges from officers who made the ultimate sacrifice serving the people of the great city of Chicago. But if you look closer you'll notice something is wrong.

The students at all-boys Catholic Brother Rice High School are out to remedy that. Call it a lesson in social justice. They have embarked on a letter writing campaign to police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

"The Chicago Police Department is something very close to my heart as my father has been on the CPD for over 27 years," one student said.

Brother Rice is brimming with police and firefighting families. In the last 15 years, three alums, John Knight, Alejandro Valdez and Thomas Wortham IV were killed in the line of duty as well. Their stars are located where they should be, in chronological order. Constable Quinn's sits far from where many people say it should. The first in line is now occupied by the star of patrolman Casper Lowry. Only after once thought lost city records were found several years ago and after a big battle with department historians did it recognize Quinn as being the first officer killed in the line of duty. That is when his star was placed in the case in 2010. For years the department has promised it would be moved to the head of the line but it hasn't. For the students at brother rice it's a matter of right or wrong, of life and death.

"My letter just kind of told Superintendent McCarthy do the right thing. We respect that because we don't want people from other cities to think that Chicago does not recognize and respect their first officer," another student said.

"It's kind of like as one of our teachers said you're walking into a classroom and you see George Washington placed in between two random presidents, and not to start the thing, so we just want his star to be where it rightfully deserves," another student said.

Thursday is the 160th anniversary of Constable James Quinn's death. He left behind three children and was paid $50 by the city of Chicago. An estimated 4,000 letter will be delivered Thursday by Brother Rice President Kevin Burns to the superintendent's office.

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