Robert Phillips is a radical civil rights leader with a chip on his shoulder the size of San Francisco. He is accused of murdering a white shop owner during a black riot incited by Phillips. When it becomes clear that the evidence points towards Phillips and the city is at a boiling point, Commissioner Randall asks Ironside to prove Phillips innocent. He wants to be absolutely sure of Phillips' guilt before arresting and trying him.
Despite Phillips' obstinance and outright hostility towards the Chief, and the black community's refusal to cooperate with the investigation, the Chief pursues his task. The Chief's efforts are a testament to his honor and integrity as he is able to set aside all personal feelings towards the accused and his revulsion at the racism he encounters from the white community to do his usual excellent job.
I'm a little too young to remember desegregation and MLK and the civil rights movement, but I thought this was an excellent portrayal of what life must have been like in the 1960's and the racism that was prevalent across the country.