Meet the police officer who was murdered just before Christmas – right after the American Civil War

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By Sheriff Scott Rose – Officer Down Memorial Podcast

Mathew Hamilton, a native of Ireland, had immigrated to Winona Minnesota and was serving as the Night Watch, a special policeman at the depot of the Winona and St. Peter Railroad just north of Lake Winona on East Mark Street.

It was December 2nd, 1874.  The beginning of the 4th coldest December Minnesotan’s had ever experienced.  The country was in the last few years of the Reconstruction Era following the American Civil War, and Republican President Ulysses S. Grant was fighting for the protection of African Americans in the South through the use of the Enforcement Act passed by Congress.

Christmas was just a few weeks away.  The depression had been going on for about a year, but the railroad business was strong, especially in Winona Minnesota.

Towns established along the tracks of the Winona and St. Peter Railroad provided a ready market for goods manufactured in Winona and channeled agricultural products into the city, spurring Winona’s growth as an industrial and shipping hub from 1870 to 1900.

Growth that made Winona, with a population of around 7000 people, the 3rd largest city in Minnesota for over three decades.

Hamilton had lived in Winona for 10 years. He had been hired by the city of Winona and the railroad to serve as their Night Watch, a Special Policeman at the depot of the Winona and St. Peter Railroad.

 At around 12:15AM while walking his beat, Officer Hamilton walked into the train depot waiting room and found a man sleeping in the seats.

Officer Hamilton approached the man and tried to wake him up, asking him to move so others could sit down.  Hamilton then called another Winona Officer, Officer Miller, who responded to assist removing the man from the seats and attempted to walk him outside.

The man sleeping in the seats was identified as Lorenz Bambuch.

He had come to Winona from Acadia Wisconsin with several friends and had been drinking throughout the night.  Friends say he had the reputation of being a quiet man, not one to cause problems.

Officer Miller asked Bambuch where he wanted to go.  Intoxicated and separated from his friends, Bambuch said he wanted to go to Trempealeau.

Officer Miller, trying calm down the intoxicated man, told him that if he would behave himself they might let him go back and sit down.  Bambuch again became abusive and started swearing and yelling at Officer Hamilton, who then instructed Officer Miller to take Bambuch away and lock him up.

When the two officers went hands on with Bambuch, he resisted and started to fight.  Herman Stiever, an employee of the depot, was in the baggage room when the fight started and was asked by the officers to help.  When they finally got Bambuch to the door, Bambuch grabbed Hamilton by the throat and started choking him.

In good health, Officer Hamilton was a strong, powerful man who could handle nearly anyone he came across.  Unfortunately, he had been ill the previous two weeks struggling with heart disease and this was Hamilton’s first night back on the job.

Stiever, who was behind the three men, pushed them out the door and they all fell onto the platform outside.

With Bambuch still choking Hamilton, he called out to Officer Miller to hit Bambuch to get him to let go.  Miller hesitated, but as Bambuch continued to hold onto Hamilton’s neck, Miller hit Bambuch and he finally let go.

At this point Hamilton got up of the floor and said, “I am gone Miller, I can’t do any more to help you”, and started walking away from the doorway.

Officer Miller was still dealing with Bambuch, with full intentions of arresting him and locking him up when another Winona man, John Stovall, ran up to Miller and said Officer Hamilton was dying and he was asking for him.

Officer Hamilton had walked away from the fight only to collapse a short distance away on the platform.  Miller left Bambuch and ran over to Hamilton.  The Yardmaster, Mr. Pierce, was with Hamilton, who took Miller by the hand and said, “Miller, don’t leave me; I’m dying.  Get me home if you can.”

Officer Miller asked others for help, and four citizens came to assist carrying Hamilton to an omnibus for transport.  An omnibus was typically a large, enclosed and sprung horse drawn vehicle, similar to what we think of today as a stage coach, with wooden benches along the sides of the passenger cabin and seating for several people facing each other.

While enroute to his home, Hamilton could barely speak, but at one point pulled Officer Miller down to him and told him he was going to die soon and asked Miller to send for his brother and sister.

The men carried Hamilton into his home, laid him on the floor, and placed pillows underneath him.  Officer Hamilton died a short time later.

An autopsy was conducted by local Drs. Staple and McGaughey.  They determined that Hamilton had heart disease that was sufficient enough to cause his death.

The doctor also indicated he was unable to find any damage to the larynx or other indications that his death had been caused by the choking.   They ruled the cause of death as heart disease, aggravated by overexertion from the fight with Bambuch.

Bambuch walked away from this incident with only a small fine for Disorderly Conduct.

Officer Hamilton was survived by his wife and two sons.

Officer Mathew Hamilton was the first recorded line of duty death in Minnesota and as of 2020, is the only officer down in the city of Winona.

He is one of nearly 300 fallen heroes remembered and honored every May during Police Week in Minnesota by the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association, and the first of over 40 fallen heroes honored each year by the Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation of SE Minnesota.

Many of the details of this story were gathered from articles in the Winona Daily News and the Winona Daily Republican.  You can listen to Officer Hamilton’s complete story on the Officer Down Memorial Podcast – the website link is available on the LET Podcast Network at https://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/l-e-t-podcast-network.

National company that protects cops and their families throws support behind “Re-Fund the Police” campaign

Editor note: If you want to get in the fight and help re-fund the police, click here.

If you’re interested in learning more about protecting your family with Officer Privacy – click here – proceeds to directly into the national “re-fund the police” campaign.

CALIFORNIA – Law Enforcement Today is delighted to share with our readers that OfficerPrivacy.com has generously joined us as a corporate sponsor in our campaign to “Re-Fund the Police.”

As a loyal reader of Law Enforcement Today, you are probably aware that we initiated a campaign to back the blue and support “re-funding” rather than defunding the police, while publicizing the detrimental effects of defunding the police and the countless positive contributions to our society that our brothers and sisters in blue make every day.

Corporate sponsor OfficerPrivacy.com has dedicated itself to the “Re-Fund the Police” cause with a generous contribution to the refunding efforts.

This company is the brainchild of owner, Navy veteran, and law enforcement veteran Pete James.

In the Navy, James honorably served on an aircraft carrier as an Intelligence Specialist.

After his military service, James moved on to a 25-year career in law enforcement in California, ultimately retiring at the rank of lieutenant.

 

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James is also a computer forensics expert who has testified in both state and federal courts, and he has worked on thousands of criminal, civil, and corporate cases as a private Open-Source intelligence investigator.

He also holds several college degrees and six computer forensics certificates.

James kept in close contact with his many former colleagues in law enforcement and actively followed changes in the law enforcement community. He repeatedly heard about incidents in which a criminal found an officer’s personal information online and would then harass and dox them and their family.

In his work in forensics and his private investigations, James utilized people-search websites, the very sites that were being used to collect the private information being used to attack officers.

These sites show officers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, the names of their relatives and are available to anyone performing an internet search.

Therefore, James married his expertise in law enforcement and computer forensics to create OfficerPrivacy.com, which protects officers by removing their personal data from the top 50 people-search websites and monitors those sites for any reappearance of that data.

James noted:

“After spending 25 years in law enforcement, I am using my experience, love and respect for the profession to make life safer for LEOs.

“My goal is to help provide a layer of privacy to all officers and their families.”

https://fundourpolice.com/

James and his team at OfficerPrivacy.com have created software that helps officers in all 50 states quickly and easily remove personal, private information from the most prominent people-search websites.

Furthermore, the software also monitors those websites, so if personal identifying information arises again, the officer can remove it quickly and easily.

Officers have two options for assistance at OfficerPrivacy.com.

One package features “Do-It-Yourself (with our help),” in which officers begin with a 14-day free trial of access to software that assists in removing personal identifying information.  Officers are also provided with direct links to the most prominent people-search websites, for ease of access.

Thereafter, monthly package fees allow for the officers’ continued and continuous monitoring of those people-search websites for reappearance of personal information.

The other package option is “We Do the Work for You.”  In this option, the OfficerPrivacy.com team removes officers from the top 50 people-search websites and continuously monitors those sites for personally identifying information.  Monthly package fees cover monitoring by the team for reappearance of that information.

 

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The OfficerPrivacy.com team is comprised of U.S.-based current and former law enforcement officers.

OfficerPrivacy.com is endorsed by The Deputy MagazineBlue Lives RadioBadge Boys PodcastThe Squad Room, Proud Police WifeSacramento LEO Chaplaincy, and the Police Officers’ Credit Union Assoc.

The impressive and protective benefits that OfficerPrivacy.com provides are not limited to law enforcement officers only.  In fact, approximately half of the clients are officers’ spouses or are employed in other professions, such as teachers, realtors, and lawyers.

OfficerPrivacy.com is not only committed to keeping personal information safe from the prying eyes of people-search websites, but it is also committed to limiting who can see information within the company itself.  Only vetted, active or retired law enforcement officers see client information.

Furthermore, the company keeps minimal data on clients, data which is protected by encryption and two-factor authentication.  Naturally, no client data is ever shared or sold.

Law Enforcement Today is immensely grateful to OfficerPrivacy.com for their tireless dedication to protecting the privacy – and safety – of police officers nationwide, and for generously walking along with us to “Re-Fund Our Police” in the face of political and media-based pushes to defund those who protect and serve.

OfficerPrivacy.com has also graciously offered to back the “Re-Fund” cause with their own media campaign efforts.

As LET’s Executive Director, Kyle S. Reyes, notes:

”In an age where countless officers are doxxed and their families are being targeted for no reason other than their service to the community, it’s crucial that we find a way to protect them from those who seek to do them harm. 

“Law Enforcement Today has partnered with OfficerPrivacy.com because there’s no greater way of helping put a digital shield of protection around them. 

“Every officer and their family need to sign up.  It’s perhaps the best ‘insurance policy’ we’ve seen yet.”

Pete James has honored Law Enforcement Today and our “Re-Fund the Police” campaign with these words:

OfficerPrivacy.com is honored to partner with Law Enforcement Today, a solid and dependable supporter of LEOs, to ‘Re-Fund The Police.’  

“Instead of cowering to those who scream the loudest, we must challenge with facts the anarchists and uninformed who want to destabilize and destroy our country by calling for defunding the police.  

“The ‘Re-Fund the Police’ marketing campaign will make great strides in educating policy makers while honoring those who stand for the thin blue line.”

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

Re-Fund the Police”: Law Enforcement Today launches nationwide campaign for Americans to back the blue

Originally published October 10, 2021

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – You back the Blue.  You support the police.  You quietly buy an officer a cup of coffee at your local coffeehouse.  You bring homemade cookies to your local police station.  You make it a point to thank an officer when you see one out in public.

You watch the news, aghast to see crowds of anti-police protesters and rioters committing acts of violence and massive property damage.  You pray daily for the Blue family.

And yet, you may feel quite alone.

Politicians and the mainstream news media would have you think that police support is at an all-time low.

Some of you may have found it necessary to take down your Thin Blue Line flags from your house, or to scrape off the Thin Blue Line sticker from your vehicles, due to the potential for violent retaliation by those who hate the police.

Yes, it is the loudest voices that are the ugliest.  They revile and attack those who back the Blue.  They call, “Defund the Police!” at every turn, fueled by the lie that police officers are racists who are out to kill.

But you are actually in excellent company in your support of the blue family.

According to a Gallup poll, 85% of Americans support law enforcement.  That means supporters of the Thin Blue Line are 285 million strong.

Meet the police officer who was murdered just before Christmas - right after the American Civil War
85% of Americans support Law Enforcement

That would be 285 million who, like you, refuse join in the calls to defund the police.

And that means you are in the company of those who have logic and reason on their side.

After all, we at Law Enforcement Today bring you stories daily of exploding crime in police-defunded areas such as Austin, Portland,  New York City, or Los Angeles.

Homicide rates since defunding are up 58% in Atlanta, up 533% in Portland, and up 37% in Philadelphia.

Shootings in post-defunded New York City are up 64%, and they are up 51% in Los Angeles and up 18% in Chicago.

In addition, you have also followed our disturbing and often tragic stories of attacks on police officers in the era of police defunding.

Felonious attacks on police are on the rise, as documented by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Data Collection.

According to LEOKA:

“The 50 law enforcement officers feloniously killed in the first 8 months of 2021 represent a 51.5 percent increase compared to the 33 officers killed during the same period in 2020.”

Meet the police officer who was murdered just before Christmas - right after the American Civil War
370 officers gave their lives in the line of duty in 2020

Also thanks to defunding, police departments across the country now lack training, resources, and equipment.  Ironically, calls for additional training in cultural awareness, de-escalation, and use of force often have to go unheeded due to the lack of financial resources.

Another irony is that the push to do away with less-lethal options such as Tasers and tear gas will simply lead to more fatal police shootings.

These alarming stories and statistics indicate beyond a doubt that defunding the police is absolutely the wrong move for this great country.  You know this, yet you and 285 million other voices are all too often silenced by social pressures as well as physical threats of violence.

You are even told, “Silence is violence,” when it comes to refusing to stand against law enforcement.

Your voice matters, and you need to be heard.

As Law Enforcement Today National Spokesman Kyle Reyes points out:

“Americans have stood by in disbelief as this ‘defund the police’ movement has spread across America and ravaged our communities. 

“We’ve watched our cities burn, our officers be attacked and violence skyrocket. 

“It’s time to come out of the twilight zone.  It’s time to fight back.”

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

Law Enforcement Today, the nation’s largest police-owned media outlet, has developed a way to make your voice heard and oppose those who would seek to remove funding from those who protect and serve.

It’s called the “Re-Fund the Police” campaign.

Reyes explains:

“We wanted to make the “Re-fund the Police” campaign something that everyone- whether you can spare $1 or $1 million – can be a part of.

“People will donate to politicians all day long in hopes that person will get elected and possibly make a difference.

“We are asking for people to come forward and support those who make a difference and save lives every single day.”

Through your generous donations, Law Enforcement today will direct a media and advertising blitz to rally other Americans who, like you, are done with attacks on law enforcement, both physical and financial.

Here’s what the funds go towards:

  1. We’ve assembled a “strike team” of researchers and reporters who will delve deeply into the devastating impact that defunding the police has on communities and families.  They’re going after not just the “leaders” in Congress who are pushing to defund the police… but they’re exposing everyone from the local politicians and city councils who are behind it.  They’re also tracing the money of exactly who is funding this “defund the police” movement.
  2.  We will focus on publicizing all the negative effects of defunding police while expressing support for our brothers and sisters in blue.  The advertising blitz will be a show of support for police officers all across America.

In addition, we will be sending a team of reporters into our communities to share positive stories of law enforcement, stories which are consistently ignored by the mainstream media.

As a thank-you for your generosity in standing strong for the blue family, we are offering access codes for Law Enforcement Today’s Wounded Officer documentary and Border Crisis documentary.  In addition, we offer additional perks such as stickers and Thin Blue Line face masks or yard signs.

Donors are also able to honor or memorialize a member of the blue family.

For those who cannot afford to contribute, we invite you to be a part of a nationwide chain of prayer warriors.

You can join our prayer chain along with other supporters who are willing to pray for our brothers and sisters in blue.

Meet the police officer who was murdered just before Christmas - right after the American Civil War
We support those who protect and serve.

Also, when you sign up for our newsletter, we will keep you informed on how we are continuing to back the Blue, and bring you the stories the mainstream media will not touch.

Now to small businesses who are sick and tired of watching our cities burn as the “defund the police” movement spreads.

For business donors, we are pleased to offer a unique opportunity to make a difference in police departments across the country.

Reyes explains:

“We wanted to make sure small businesses could get in the fight, so we are rolling out the ‘adopt a police department’ program.”

Your business donation will be used to cover stories in the community of your choice, and expose those who are attempting to defund the police.  Those stories, if you choose, will also include a thank you to your business and a link back to your business website.

In addition, your generous business donation will go toward advertising campaigns that highlight the negative effects of demonizing and defunding the police.

Meet the police officer who was murdered just before Christmas - right after the American Civil War
We’ve got your 6.

This will give you the opportunity to show to millions of Americans that, unlike “woke” anti-police organizations, you support and appreciate law enforcement.

Reyes points out:

“Corporate America rallied around the Black Lives Matter movement, donating hundreds of millions of dollars to a campaign that brought widespread looting and destruction in our cities. 

“This is an opportunity for businesses to show America that law and order and keeping people safe still means something to them.”

Please join your voice with Law Enforcement Today in this campaign to support all those who protect and serve us.

We invite you to visit the Re-Fund the Police website for further information.

If you have questions, or you want to start your own fundraising team, feel free to email us at med[email protected]

It’s time to get in the fight.

______________

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Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing!  (See image below.)  Thanks for being a part of the LET family!
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