Lieutenant Levi Parker
On April 27, 1856, between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., a cold and stormy night, Lieutenant Parker and Patrolmen William Harvey and William White, while on patrol, where drawn to the sounds of a woman crying outside the Lake Erie House on Front Street between Ludlow and Lawrence (which would not be west of the north end of the Central Bridge). They found their Mrs. Harrington, scantily clad, out in the weather because her husband, Henry (AKA Harry) Harrington refused her entry into their home. When the officers arrived, she invited them into the home and when she stepped in, Harrington shoved her away roughly. The officer knew Harrington well, having arrested him numerous times and never without a fight. Lieutenant Parker said, “Henry, you must not abuse your wife or we will arrest you.” Harrington asked, “Might I have a word?” Lieutenant Parker said, “Yes.” Harrington jumped behind the counter, grabbed a pistol, and shot, Lieutenant Parker. The ball entered his back left shoulder and lodged in the joint. Simultaneously, a dog living at the residence attacked Lieutenant Parker, biting him severely. While Lieutenant Parker exclaimed, “I am shot!”, Harrington was telling him, “It’s none of your God damned business!”.
Patrolmen Harvey and White were able to pry the pistol out of Harrington’s hand and, with great difficulty, get him to the Hammond Street Station. Lieutenant Lawrence Hazen, Chief of Detectives, responded and took Lieutenant Parker to his residence on Baum Street where he was attended by Doctors Dandridge and Foster.
The seriousness of the wound to Lieutenant Parker’s shoulder was immediately apparent. The doctors determined that at best he would not have use of his arm and that he was in danger of succumbing to the wound. He died eight days later at 12:30 a.m. on the morning of May 4, 1856. Immediately thereafter, a vigilante mob attempted to take Harrington from the jail, but they were unsuccessful.
He left a wife, Lucy (33), and two daughters, Julia Parker and Mary E. Parker His funeral was held from his home on Baum Street on May 6, 1856. The entire police force and nearly all municipal and county officials attended. Lieutenant Parker was buried in Section 52, Lot 161, Space 1, Spring Grove Cemetery.
Harrington was charged with Murder of the First Degree on May 5, 1865. His trial commenced on May 27, 1865. On July 30, 1856, he attempted to scale the wall at the Penetentiary, but was recaptured. Less than six years later, during January 1862, the Supreme Court of Ohio ordered a new trial for Harrington on the ground of some legal informality. He was again convicted, this time of Murder in the 2nd Degree, and again sentenced to life. A few years later, Harrington’s friends tried to convince Ohio Governor Rutherford B. Hayes to grant him clemency, but he refused advising there were no grounds for Executive Clemency. But, during the next administration, during August 1872, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, “it remained for Governor Noyes, the felon’s liberator, to set him free to prey on the society he once outraged.” Harrington’s only actions worth writing about was an arrest for Robbery in 1897.
This narrative was revised on April 20, 2013, by retired Cincinnati Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society. If anyone has information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding this officer or the incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Director@police-museum.org.