Chicago, IL—It was a typically hot summer Chicago day in July of 1955 when a troubled 16 year-old Ron Dean was detained in the Shakespeare District lock-up. He wanted out and found a can opener in his cell. With a little luck he was somehow able to open the cell door.
Dean wandered out to the booking area and found the unoccupied desk of the lock-up keeper, Chicago police officer Albert Brown, 57. In the desk he found Brown’s loaded service revolver. Officer Brown surprised Dean who then shot and critically wounded the cop.
Dean was able to flee the station and Brown was removed to the Alexian Brothers Hospital where he died some ten days later.
Two days later Dean was spotted at the North Avenue Beach where he was arrested. Brown was a juvenile and paid the low price juveniles paid for murders. Dean was given his freedom perhaps much earlier than any cop killer would deserve.
I hate cop killers and have attended and been part of the honor guard for too many fallen officer’s funerals. I’m still horribly haunted by the unbelievably hysterical screams of two-time police widow Johanna Crowley when she buried her second cop husband Pat Crowley in 1976. She married and buried both cops in that same Catholic Church. Her first husband was the fallen police hero, Mike Kelly.
Ron Dean somehow was able to turn his life around and was never again involved in that kind of sordid behavior.
Dean found he loved acting and was lucky enough to land an agent and an acting career that began in the mid-1970’s through today.
The irony here was that Dean actually landed roles as Chicago cops! Including one in the wildly successful Andrew Davis film, The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford. Dean was believable in that film and worked alongside of real cops hired as extras all unaware of his shocking past.
Dean’s dark and distant past soon surfaced understandably angering many Chicago cops. Some took it in stride and others expressed hatred for the cop killing thespian.
I have to ask; if Dean paid his debt and left his criminal past doesn’t he deserve to enjoy life with the law-abiding? After all it’s a rare event when a criminal emerges from the dark side to become a productive citizen.
I really wonder what the surviving members of Brown’s family would have to say about this? I also would love to land an interview with Dean.
Can a juvenile delinquent and cop killer get forgiveness some 65 years after such a horrific crime?
Dean is 80 years old today and has enjoyed the fruits of a thriving acting career. I know cops universally loathe any cop killer.
Can and should Dean be recognized for turning his life around for becoming a productive and taxpaying citizen? If not, who can?
Could Dean have done anything that would have somehow undone the damage aside from changing his ways?
Dean easily could have stayed in the abyss of career criminals. Somehow I can forgive Dean and applaud both his acting performances and important personal achievements.