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DPD unveils headstone for first African American officer killed in line of duty

DENVER — The Denver Police Department and the city of Denver honored Willie O. Steam in a ceremony at Riverside Cemetery Saturday.

Steam was the first African American Denver officer to die in the line of duty.

“In February of 1921 he was murdered by an angry citizen who accused him unfairly of shutting down a party the week prior,” a statement from the Denver Police Museum said.

“At the time of Officer Steam’s death, the city of Denver paid for Officer’s Steam’s funeral, which is not customarily done even today. As the Denver Police Museum did additional research on Officer Steam, we became aware that his grave lacked a marker. [Saturday’s] ceremony will correct that oversight,” said Michael Hesse, President of the Denver Police Museum.

A number of city leaders along with a large crowd attended the ceremony.

“As our nation recognizes the many leaders and heroes for black history month, the Denver Police Museum is honored to have this opportunity to recognize and honor the sacrifice of Willie O. Steam.  Officer Steam’s service and bravery was well documented at the time of his death.”

 

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