Retired Chicago Police Lt. Bob Angone had been a cop just 31/2 years by August 1968. He was a veteran of the violence surrounding Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s open housing campaign in 1966 and the riots after King's assassination in April.
But neither event prepared him for the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
But the bigger problem, Angone said, was fatigue. He said he was placed on 12-hour shifts three days before the convention even started. And when the trouble did begin, and the police were called on to clear the parks after 11 p.m.; that meant he didn't get home until 5 a.m.
"That's what really killed us," said Angone, who retired in 1997 after 32 years on the force. "We were exhausted. Nobody took into consideration the fatigue. Every night was a battle and a half," he said, and the next day they had to return at noon to do it all over again. "It never ended."
So was it a "police riot," as the Walker Report claimed?
"We had everything imaginable thrown at us," he said. "But I have to say, and I'm going to get a lot of criticism for this, but (that assessment) was justified."
Yet there was a silver lining. Not only Chicago, but every department in the country, learned from what happened here, he said. The force now is "better trained, better equipped," he said.
He remembers one more thing vividly. He didn't get a real break to eat. He was given a bologna sandwich and little apple in a box lunch. The box sported a sticker reading, "Compliments of the 11th Ward Democratic Organization."
— Stephan Benzkofer