Arc of Justice

Arc of Justice

by

Kevin Boyle

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Norton Schuknecht Character Analysis

Norton Schuknecht is a detective inspector with the Detroit Police and the commander of the precinct in which the house on Garland Avenue lies. He commands the police force protecting the house on the 8th and 9th of September 1924. Because he feels sympathy for the plight of the neighborhood’s white homeowners—easily imagining the supposed danger a Black man poses to their daughters and all too aware of the threat a Black family poses to local property values—Schuknecht quickly settles on a version of events that downplays the size and danger of the crowd outside the house on Garland Avenue on the night of the shooting. He sticks to this story, telling it to Assistant Prosecutor Ted Kennedy and later repeating it on the witness stand in both Sweet trials.
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Norton Schuknecht Character Timeline in Arc of Justice

The timeline below shows where the character Norton Schuknecht appears in Arc of Justice. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Where Death Waits
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Norton Schukenecht , the commander of the local police station, and his brother-in-law, Otto Lemhagen, guard the... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
The sudden gunshots shock Inspector Schuknecht. He knows that the dozen officers on the street will be overrun if the crowd... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Outside, as Schuknecht learns about Leon Breiner’s death, the crowd grows more volatile. The fearful flee, and those... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
When Schuknecht rings the doorbell again, Gladys answers it. Immediately, policemen flood in, turning on the lights... (full context)
Chapter 5: White Houses
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Undercover officers attend the rally and report on it to Inspector Norton Schuknecht, a life-long east-sider. Garland Avenue lies in his precinct, and he has ties to the... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
...at Bristol’s urging, Ossian contacts the police to ask for protection, although he goes above Schuknecht’s head and speaks directly with Robert McPherson, head of the Black Hand Squad that polices... (full context)
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
Inspector Schuknecht finds out about the Sweets’ move-in date from Inspector McPherson less than 24 hours in... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Letter of Your Law
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Meanwhile, back on Garland Avenue, Schuknecht’s 200-man reserve holds back the crowd until it dissolves, its hatred and anger spent. He... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
...confirmed that the Sweets had reason to be afraid. But when Ted Kennedy interviews Inspector Schuknecht, the policeman swears that he saw no more than a dozen people in the street... (full context)
Chapter 9: Prejudice
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Then Prosecutor Toms calls his first witness, Norton Schuknecht. Schuknecht cuts a fine figure in his dress uniform. He provides curt answers to Toms’s... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
...witnesses. Darrow focuses his efforts on witnesses likely to undermine the prosecution’s case. In cross-examining Schuknecht, Darrow’s questions reveal at best incompetence—the inspector didn’t investigate the Waterworks Association’s intentions, and he... (full context)
Chapter 10: Judgement Day
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
...cross-examination. When they can’t expose the lies, they expose the liar. One example is Inspector Schuknecht, who casually takes the witness stand, confident in the authority that proximity to the city’s... (full context)