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In October 1936, Boston police Officer John Lynch was on patrol in Jamaica Plain when he tried to arrest a man for drunkenness — a powerful, far younger man who had been a boxer. Lynch, an Irish native and veteran of World War I, was viciously beaten, sustaining serious head injuries.
Lynch was never the same. He continued on his beat, but became forgetful, and needed constant assistance from his partners. In time, it was hard for him to recognize fellow officers, even longtime friends. By 1940, he could no longer work, and he died four years later.
Now, 70 years later, Lynch is being honored for dying in the line of duty, his sacrifice brought to light by researchers with the Boston Police Department.