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  • David C. Hennessy was a police chief of New Orleans, Louisiana. His assassination in 1890 led to a sensational trial. A group of not guilty verdicts shocked the nation, and an enormous mob formed outside the prison the next day. The prison doors were forced open and 11 of 19 Italian men who had been indicted for Hennessy's murder were lynched. The leaders of the mob justified the lynching by claiming the jury had been bribed, but only six of those lynched had been put on trial. In addition to the 11 lynch victims, five prisoners were severely wounded in the attack and died soon afterwards. Charles Mantranga, believed to be a ringleader, survived. A grand jury investigated and cleared those involved in the lynching. The word "Mafia" entered U.S. popular usage due to newspaper coverage of the trial and lynchings. The U.S. government paid a $25,000 indemnity to Italy to repair and restore broken relations due to the anti-Italian sentiment raging across America. The lynchings were the subject of the 1999 made-for-TV movie Vendetta, starring Christopher Walken.

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