The ''Dead Rabbits Riot''

  • General History
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

The ''Dead Rabbit's Riot'' was 2-day period of Criminal Unrest, which occurred on July 5th and 6th, 1857. It was seen(to that point), one of the worst cases of organized civil unrest in The United States. In involved the New York City criminal Street Gang dubbed ''The Dead Rabbits'' and was aimed against The New York City Police Department. Brought about by corrupt Police and City Political agendas, these often supported Street Gangs (to a point), in controlling both the Vote of immigrants and other elements of governing The City. At other times, when expedient, Gangs would be ''outlawed'' and arrested (often leading to great fights between Police and Gangs). When Police tried to stop a rise in Gangs terrorizing Business Owners (Tavern, Hotels, etc) to extort ''protection fees'' – Police moved in to stop them. What occurred was a ''full scale War'' in not only The Bouroughs of New York, but began to spill into The City (proper). As man as 1,000 ''Dead Rabbit'' Gang Members (and their Associates) launched the attack against Police Officers and their Precincts. Guns, Knifes, Clubs – all were brought to bear. Several blocks were set on fire, with Gang Members refusing to allow Firefighters to respond. Roughly 200 Police Officers were all that was available for ''The Fight'' So uncontrolled in fact, The Mayor requested that several State Militia Regiments be mobilized to support Police Operations. Now closer to 1,200 Police and Soldiers, moved from street to street and alley to alley, using both Volley Fire and Bayonet to maintain order. Estimates stated that between 30 to 100 Gang Members were killed, but these numbers were no doubt much higher (as they carried off their dead and wounded). Police casualties listed on 5, with no Guardsmen wounded or killed. While much of the influence of The ''Dead Rabbits'' appeared to have been broken, as a Criminal Organization – they continued, lessened but still ''active''. Overall Gang Crime, from them and other Gangs greatly decreased until the outbreak of The American Civil War in 1861.