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A Fallen Brother
An experience that really shook Samuel J. Battle was in the line of duty death of fellow patrolman Robert Holmes. Patrolman Holmes became the second police officer hired by the NYPD. Battle remembered having Holmes around and the great feeling of having someone to chat with.
On the night of August 6, 1917, Samuel Battle arrived 15 minutes early to his post to chat with and release Holmes from his duty. Before Battle’s shift began, Holmes, who had fifteen minutes left in his shift, heard gunshots and ran towards the scene. Holmes was shot to death while pursuing a burglar, therefore becoming the first African American to die in the line of duty that night.
Tragically, Holmes' parents passed away within 14 months of their son's death. Battle was remembered saying, "The bullet that killed Holmes made another wound which took their [his parents] lives within fourteen months."
To read more about this and other stories, check out One Righteous Man by Arthur Browne.
To read more about this and other stories, check out The Black Shields by Roger L. Abel.
View other stories told by today's police
In collaboration with the Black Police Experience (BPX) and the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc (NABLEO), we want to commemorate the heroics of Samuel J. Battle by asking black law enforcement to share their stories. If you find a story on the Battle Continues.. timeline that you can relate to, please share.
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Our timeline of untold stories is a collection of black law enforcement stories that will serve to illustrate their lived experiences and the need to transform police policies, practices, and consciousness. The Battle begins with Samuel J. Battle but continues as we commemorate the 110th year of blacks in law enforcement in NYC. Submit your story and help to create a pathway to justice.
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A Fallen Brother