A History of Brutality, Racism,
and Corruption in the

Mayor Richard J. Daley and Summerdale

The scandal known as "Summerdale" was of unprecedented magnitude, even for wicked old Cook County. Summerdale was not your ordinary police scandal. For the first time uniformed police officers plotted and carried out burglaries while patrolling the streets of the "City of Big Shoulders."

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Collecting bribes, expecting "presents" and other emoluments from retail merchants at Christmas time, was something that Chicago residents had come to expect of its police officers over the years. Burgling stores after-hours in the company of the accomplished sneak thief like Richard Morrison who often served as the "lookout," was quite another to the citizenry of Chicago. The public was outraged.

Read the Chicago Tribune Feb 23, 1960 front page story: "Cops Turn Burglars. City Horrified!" (pdf)

Mayor Richard J. Daley, whose Democratic machine ran on a steady diet of poice corruption, needed a visible, dramatic, albeit symbolic action to take the heat off. Police "reform," while desperatedly needed, has also been a good way to keep things from changing.




A history of scandal in the Chicago Police, including the infamous Summerdale Affair

This scandal led to the appointment of O.W.Wilson as a "reform" Police Superintendent in a move that may have saved Richard J. Daley's job.

Read Chicago Daily Tribune, March 8, 1960 as O.W. Wilson brings in an Army Colonel to help reorganize the CPD (pdf)