This story is significant for one main reason, his role in the shooting deaths (or murder) of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. They were leaders in the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party. They were killed in a raid on Dec. 3, 1969 (almost 40 years ago).
Hanrahan was then Cook County State's Attorney and had already amassed a reputation for being tough on crime. He used to be in the same position Patrick Fitzgerald is now as US Attorney, immediately before becoming State's Attorney. It seemed he was on the rise politically.
Then the raid! I'm sure there have been many accounts of this raid. Of course in this article it was mentioned that whatever accounting of this raid of Hampton and Clark on Chicago's West Side back in 1969 it didn't add up. If you read Dempsey Travis' Autobiography of Black Politics that account of the raid makes it seem as if the raiding police was a bit out of control itself.
Well needless to say after that raid, Hanrahan who could have either been Mayor of Chicago or even Governor lost the State's Attorney post and was never elected to office again. Although he has made several attempts since his electoral loss in 1972.
I wonder what kind of feelings about him may come up now that we know that's he's passed away. How many people still remember that raid? Also, how many people might still either be upset at or supportive of Hanrahan?