Officer John Milledge became the first black officer in the history of Miami, Florida to be killed. Milledge was shot on November 1, 1946, and his killer, Leroy Strachan was arrested 43 years later for his murder.
Milledge was born on May 6, 1898, in Bamberg, South Carolina. At the age of 27, he married 17 year old, Edna Johnson, in 1925.
By 1944, Milledge became one of the original five black officers sworn into the Miami Police Department. At that time, the City of Miami police department trained the five black officers in secret at the housing project’s recreation center for fear of backlash at the men’s appointment. The officers were sworn in on Sept. 1, 1944.
On November 1, 1946, Officer Milledge chased several young boys away who attempted to climb over a fence to watch a high school football game at Overtown Park. The young boy’s left and went to a nearby friend’s home, retrieved a .22 caliber rifle and returned to the park.
The boys spotted Officer Milledge standing at his post at the front entrance, Leroy Strachan shot Milledge in the throat, killing him. Not only did he flee the scene, Strachan left the state and ended up in New York City for 43 years. He was arrested in 1989 and served 19 months in pre-trial confinement and then was freed.