Weather Underground: Honoring the Cops They Killed
Chris Cosgriff / PoliceLink
October 13, 2008
Picture L-R: Sgt. Brian McDonnell, Officer Waverly Brown, Sgt. Edward O'Grady
Editor’s Note: With the recent headlines mentioning the Weather Underground, the focus has been on who said what and who did what when. What has been overlooked, and seemingly forgotten, is the sacrifice of three real American heroes. This article’s only purpose is to honor those three fallen heroes.
If you’ve been keeping up with the presidential race then you’ve likely heard mention the accusations and denials from both campaigns about alleged ties between Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate for president, and Bill Ayers. Plenty has been written about their relationship from both sides of the campaign, and I have absolutely no interest in exploring that relationship further.
I am interested only in honoring the memories of three fallen police officers and holding responsible those who actually planned and committed these murderous attacks against the American people and our criminal justice system.
Ayers, who has long held a position as a college professor in Chicago, has a surprisingly nefarious past. He happens to be the founder of a domestic terrorist group called the Weather Underground, which he has written about extensively in his own memoir, Fugitive Days: A Memoir.
The Weather Underground was responsible for bombing several government targets throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, including the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, and a building used by the New York City Police Department. To finance their domestic terrorism activities the group also conducted “traditional” robberies, which occasionally led to murder.
What you don’t usually hear in modern-day news coverage of the group, is that three of those murders were of police officers killed in the line of duty.
On February 16, 1970, a bomb exploded at a San Francisco, California, Police Department substation, fatally wounding Sergeant Brian McDonnell. McDonnell died of his wounds two days later. A second officer, Robert Fogarty was partially blinded by the bomb’s shrapnel. Although the case has never officially been solved, members of the Weather Underground, including Bill Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, were prime suspects.
On October 20, 1981, several members of the Weather Underground undertook the robbery of a bank to finance their terrorist activities. During the robbery the group murdered an armored car guard and two members of the Nyack, New York, Police Department – Officer Waverly Brown and Sergeant Edward O’Grady,. a Vietnam War veteran. Unlike with Sergeant McDonnell’s murder, this case was quickly solved and several members of the group were sentenced to lengthy prison terms.
Sergeant McDonnell, Officer Brown, and Sergeant O’Grady were just three of over a dozen law enforcement officers killed by radical, domestic terrorist groups during the 1970s and 1980s. Their memories may be forgotten by those who killed them and walk free – whether through lack of arrest and prosecution in McDonnell’s case or having served their sentences in Brown’s and O’Grady’s cases – but they will never be forgotten by their brothers and sisters in law enforcement.