In 1968, the Democratic National Convention was overshadowed by a massive civilian demonstration miles away from the International Amphitheater where it was being held. On the streets of Chicago, civilians engaged in passionate protests against President Lyndon B. Johnson's Vietnam War policies, and the police were sent to break up the gatherings. Tensions quickly escalated over the course of five days; the authorities resorted to violence, sweeping the streets using tear gas and batons, and protestors fought back by throwing rocks and bottles.
The Chicago police arrested a host of protestors and fellow officers, and eight of the demonstrators were taken into custody for criminal charges. Those eight men would go on to be tried in one of the most high profile court hearings in American history, coming to represent the spirit of activism and democracy for years to come.