Category Archives: Black Panther Party (BPP)

Chokwe Lumumba Elected Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi


Congratulations to Chokwe Lumumba! As a Southerner from the Deep South myself, let me say this is truly a groundbreaking event, and I welcome him winning the election. I hope he guards himself and remembers what happened to Medgar Evers, Marco McMillian, Emmett Till, Louis Allen, James Craig Anderson, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, George W. Lee, Lamar Smith, Mack Charles Parker, Paul Guihard and Vernon Dahmer.

All those listed were people, public figures or civil rights activists murdered in Mississippi. Medgar Evers and Marco McMillian were both elected to public office before being murdered. James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan and dumped in the Mississippi River.

— E.S.


Former Ward 2 Councilman and Chokwe Lumumba, 65, is the new mayor of  Jackson, Miss., winning the general election with 87 percent of the vote, reports Fight Back! News.

“I’m just delighted. I feel wonderfully well about the people and their vote. Our slogan has been the people must decide and the people gave us an outstanding mandate today for positive change in the city of Jackson,” Lumumba said. “We intend to work diligently and put all our hearts and efforts into that and we’re going to be calling upon the people to work with us. We’re not working by ourselves.”

As previously reported by NewsOne, Lumumba served four years on the Jackson City Council before running for mayor. He spent part of the ’70s and ’80s as vice-president of  the Republic of New Afrika, an organization which advocated for “an independent predominantly black government” in the southeastern United States and reparations for slavery.

“The provisional government of Republic of New Afrika was always a group that believed in human rights for human beings,” Lumumba told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “I think it has been miscast in many ways. It has never been any kind of racist group or ‘hate white’ group in any way…. It was a group which was fighting for human rights for black people in this country and at the same time supporting the human rights around the globe.”

As an attorney, Lumumba has represented legendary activist, poet, actor and Hip-Hop artist Tupac Shakur in several cases, and his godmother, Assata Shakur, whom Lumumba calls a “Black Panther heroine.”

Assata, formerly Joanne Chesimard, was a member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army.

She sought political asylum in Cuba after being accused of killing New Jersey state trooper, Werner Foerster, in 1977, and  recently became the first woman placed on the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorists” list. Medical evidence proved that it was “anatomically impossible” for Assata to kill Foerster after being shot by state trooper, James Harper, and forensic evidence proved that she had not fired a weapon. Even with that knowledge, the FBI recently raised the bounty on her head from $1 million to $2 million dollars.


America’s “Most Wanted” Terrorist: An Open Letter From Assata


My name is Assata Shakur, and I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex-political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984.

I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969 the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. Because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it “greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists.

In 1978, my case was one of many cases bought before the United Nations Organization in a petition filed by the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice, exposing the existence of political prisoners in the United States, their political persecution, and the cruel and inhuman treatment they receive in US prisons. According to the report:

‘The FBI and the New York Police Department in particular, charged and accused Assata Shakur of participating in attacks on law enforcement personnel and widely circulated such charges and accusations among police agencies and units. The FBI and the NYPD further charged her as being a leader of the Black Liberation Army which the government and its respective agencies described as an organization engaged in the shooting of police officers. This description of the Black Liberation Army and the accusation of Assata Shakur’s relationship to it was widely circulated by government agents among police agencies and units. As a result of these activities by the government, Ms. Shakur became a hunted person; posters in police precincts and banks described her as being involved in serious criminal activities; she was highlighted on the FBI’s most wanted list; and to police at all levels she became a ‘shoot-to-kill’ target.”

I was falsely accused in six different “criminal cases” and in all six of these cases I was eventually acquitted or the charges were dismissed. The fact that I was acquitted or that the charges were dismissed, did not mean that I received justice in the courts, that was certainly not the case. It only meant that the “evidence” presented against me was so flimsy and false that my innocence became evident. This political persecution was part and parcel of the government’s policy of eliminating political opponents by charging them with crimes and arresting them with no regard to the factual basis of such charges.

On May 2, 1973 I, along with Zayd Malik Shakur and Sundiata Acoli were stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike, supposedly for a “faulty tail light.” Sundiata Acoli got out of the car to determine why we were stopped. Zayd and I remained in the car. State trooper Harper then came to the car, opened the door and began to question us. Because we were black, and riding in a car with Vermont license plates, he claimed he became “suspicious.” He then drew his gun, pointed it at us, and told us to put our hands up in the air, in front of us, where he could see them. I complied and in a split second, there was a sound that came from outside the car, there was a sudden movement, and I was shot once with my arms held up in the air, and then once again from the back. Zayd Malik Shakur was later killed, trooper Werner Foerster was killed, and even though trooper Harper admitted that he shot and killed Zayd Malik Shakur, under the New Jersey felony murder law, I was charged with killing both Zayd Malik Shakur, who was my closest friend and comrade, and charged in the death of trooper Forester. Never in my life have I felt such grief. Zayd had vowed to protect me, and to help me to get to a safe place, and it was clear that he had lost his life, trying to protect both me and Sundiata. Although he was also unarmed, and the gun that killed trooper Foerster was found under Zayd’s leg, Sundiata Acoli, who was captured later, was also charged with both deaths. Neither Sundiata Acoli nor I ever received a fair trial We were both convicted in the news media way before our trials. No news media was ever permitted to interview us, although the New Jersey police and the FBI fed stories to the press on a daily basis. In 1977, I was convicted by an all- white jury and sentenced to life plus 33 years in prison. In 1979, fearing that I would be murdered in prison, and knowing that I would never receive any justice, I was liberated from prison, aided by committed comrades who understood the depths of the injustices in my case, and who were also extremely fearful for my life.

The U.S. Senate’s 1976 Church Commission report on intelligence operations inside the USA, revealed that “The FBI has attempted covertly to influence the public’s perception of persons and organizations by disseminating derogatory information to the press, either anonymously or through “friendly” news contacts.” This same policy is evidently still very much in effect today.

On December 24, 1997, The New Jersey State called a press conference to announce that New Jersey State Police had written a letter to Pope John Paul II asking him to intervene on their behalf and to aid in having me extradited back to New Jersey prisons. The New Jersey State Police refused to make their letter public. Knowing that they had probably totally distort the facts, and attempted to get the Pope to do the devils work in the name of religion, I decided to write the Pope to inform him about the reality of’ “justice” for black people in the State of New Jersey and in the United States. (See attached Letter to the Pope).

In January of 1998, during the pope’s visit to Cuba, I agreed to do an interview with NBC journalist Ralph Penza around my letter to the Pope, about my experiences in New Jersey court system, and about the changes I saw in the United States and it’s treatment of Black people in the last 25 years. I agreed to do this interview because I saw this secret letter to the Pope as a vicious, vulgar, publicity maneuver on the part of the New Jersey State Police, and as a cynical attempt to manipulate Pope John Paul II. I have lived in Cuba for many years, and was completely out of touch with the sensationalist, dishonest, nature of the establishment media today. It is worse today than it was 30 years ago. After years of being victimized by the “establishment” media it was naive of me to hope that I might finally get the opportunity to tell “my side of the story.” Instead of an interview with me, what took place was a “staged media event” in three parts, full of distortions, inaccuracies and outright lies. NBC purposely misrepresented the facts. Not only did NBC spend thousands of dollars promoting this “exclusive interview series” on NBC, they also spent a great deal of money advertising this “exclusive interview” on black radio stations and also placed notices in local newspapers.

Like most poor and oppressed people in the United States, I do not have a voice. Black people, poor people in the U.S. have no real freedom of speech, no real freedom of expression and very little freedom of the press. The black press and the progressive media has historically played an essential role in the struggle for social justice. We need to continue and to expand that tradition. We need to create media outlets that help to educate our people and our children, and not annihilate their minds. I am only one woman. I own no TV stations, or Radio Stations or Newspapers. But I feel that people need to be educated as to what is going on, and to understand the connection between the news media and the instruments of repression in Amerika. All I have is my voice, my spirit and the will to tell the truth. But I sincerely ask, those of you in the Black media, those of you in the progressive media, those of you who believe in truth freedom, To publish this statement and to let people know what is happening. We have no voice, so you must be the voice of the voiceless.

Free all Political Prisoners, I send you Love and Revolutionary Greetings From Cuba, One of the Largest, Most Resistant and Most Courageous Palenques (Maroon Camps) That has ever existed on the Face of this Planet.

Assata Shakur Havana, Cuba


FBI adds 65-year-old Black Panther to Most Wanted Terrorists list

Joanne Chesimard

Joanne Chesimard

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has announced that Joanne Chesimard has been added to its Most Wanted Terrorists list. Thursday’s bulletin gave Chesimard, a black nationalist, the dubious distinction of being the first woman to be placed on the list.

Chesimard, better known as Assata Shakur, was a member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army when, on May 2, 1973, she was driving through New Jersey with two others. The car was pulled over for a broken taillight and a gunfight ensued with police. One officer and one man from Shakur’s group were killed. 

Despite being injured, she managed to flee from the scene but was eventually arrested and, in 1977, convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. But in 1979, The New York Times reported, she “escaped from Clinton Correctional Institute for Women after three male visitors drew handguns, kidnapped two guards and seized a prison minibus in order to drive out of the grounds to two getaway cars. They left the guards handcuffed but unharmed.” 

It’s been widely speculated that Shakur was aided in her escape by the Black Liberation Army. William Kunstler, her trial lawyer, told reporters at the time that Shakur’s health had declined in prison.

I was very happy that she escaped because I thought she was unfairly tried,” he said, as quoted by the Gothamist. 

Her surviving accomplice, Sundiata Acoli, born Clark Edward Squire, is still held in a federal prison after being denied parole several times. 

In 1984 Shakur was granted asylum by Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who called the charges against her “an infamous lie.” Originally from the Queens section of New York City, Shakur explained her situation on her website.

1 (4)

My name is Assata (“she who struggles”) Olugbala (“for the people”) Shakur (“the thankful one”), and I am a 20th Century escaped slave,” she wrote. “Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984. I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the US government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one.” 

She went on to admit involvement with the Black Panther Party and described the FBI’s intention to “destroy it and its leaders and activists.” 

Federal and New Jersey law enforcement announced during Thursday’s news conference that they had doubled the reward for information leading to Shakur’s capture from $1 million to $2 million. Along with being the first female named to the list, she is only the second domestic ‘terrorist’ on the list, which was assembled to identify those responsible for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. 

We would be naïve to think there’s not some communication between her and some of those people she used to run around with today,” said Aaron Ford, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Newark, New Jersey. 

He did not elaborate on the reasoning behind the seemingly sudden decision to add Shakur, now 65 years old, to the list. New Jersey law enforcement has previously campaigned for her extradition, appealing to Pope John Paul II when he traveled to Cuba in 1998.  

State Police superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes may have shed light on authorities’ reinvigorated motivation to apprehend Shakur, however. 

To this day, from her safe haven in Cuba, Shakur has been given a pulpit to preach and profess, stirring supporters and groups to mobilize against the United States by any means necessary,” Fuentes said. “We also have reason to believe that she has established association with other international terrorist organizations.” 

Fuentes did not mention what evidence the New Jersey state police had connecting Fuentes to international terror syndicates, but Ford was careful to note that the US – still struggling to reform its relationship with Cuba – has little hope the country will comply with American requests. 

Currently it’s not good,” Ford said during the press event. “We don’t enjoy a great extradition status with that country.”


The Black Panther Party’s Free Breakfast Program


The Black Panther Party did some amazing things getting food to the people. Little known trivia : the school meal program that we know in American schools today was copied from The Black Panther Party. They started a free breakfast program for children in poor neighborhoods and fed 10,000 children every morning before school. The Panthers believed that “Children cannot reach their full academic potential if they have empty stomachs.” The Federal government instituted a program of their own when they saw the impact it was creating on neighborhoods. Some say the creation of the government program was due to politicians feeling shamed for not doing enough for families but more likely, the government was afraid of the power it gave the Black Panther Party. 

Obit.: Edward V. Hanrahan – Prosecutor Oversaw Fatal 1969 Raid of Black Panthers in Chicago

By Patricia Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 12, 2009

Edward V. Hanrahan, 88, the former Cook County, Ill., state’s attorney under whose oversight a squad of police officers raided the Black Panther Party headquarters in 1969 and killed two of its leaders, died June 9 of complications from leukemia at his home in River Forest, Ill., a Chicago suburb.

Fourteen police officers assigned to his office, acting on a tip from an FBI informant, burst into the West Side Chicago apartment early Dec. 4, 1969, in search of illegal weapons. Police had raided it three times before, but this time they were armed with a map that showed where Panther leaders Mark Clark and Fred Hampton slept. In a fusillade, Clark and Hampton were killed.

Mr. Hanrahan, who had made his name as a law-and-order prosecutor unafraid to pursue organized crime figures, defended the police tactics, saying the black activists shot first. Later probes showed that one of the Panthers had fired at least one shot, and the multiple bullet holes that Mr. Hanrahan pointed to as evidence of more were exposed nail heads. The police fired between 82 and 99 shots in the four-room apartment.

Black and white Chicagoans were deeply enraged and frightened by the event. Some considered the raid a massacre and blamed J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI Cointelpro covert intelligence program for setting it up. Others thought Hampton was a dangerous radical — just before his death he had told the Chicago Sun-Times that he was “at war with the pigs.” The radical Weathermen two months earlier had staged the Days of Rage, an anti-Vietnam War demonstration that attempted to spark revolution. And no one had forgotten the riots at the Democratic National Convention a year before.

Along with the police, Mr. Hanrahan was indicted on charges of conspiracy to present false evidence and obstruction of justice, but all were later cleared. A protracted civil suit ended in 1982, with the survivors of the raid and families of the deceased receiving an award of $1.85 million. A judge ruled that the government had conspired to deny the Panthers their civil rights.

Mr. Hanrahan, who had often been talked about as a possible mayor or Illinois governor, never recovered his political career. He lost a 1972 reelection campaign, two mayoral races in the 1970s and a campaign for alderman in the early 1980s. He went into private practice and often defended suburban governments as well as police and fire officials, said his nephew, Tom Wheeler.

He was not bitter about what transpired, Wheeler said, nor was he a bigot, an accusation that dogged him for years. The Black Panthers, originally organized to protect minority communities from police brutality, created medical clinics and provided free food to schoolchildren before becoming a Marxist organization. Clark and Hampton were held up as martyrs to the cause, and Hanrahan was excoriated as a racist.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. At the end of his life, he traveled, he learned two foreign languages, he studied philosophy and the Bible, he learned to play the piano and joined a book club,” Wheeler said. “He served meals to the homeless” through a church shelter program.

Edward Vincent Hanrahan was born in Coconut Grove, Fla., and moved to Chicago with his family when he was a boy. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame. During World War II, he served in the Army Signal Corps in the United States, and in 1948 he received a degree from Harvard Law School.

Mr. Hanrahan ran for Congress unsuccessfully in 1960 and worked in the district attorney’s office until the powerful Mayor Richard J. Daley sponsored him to President Lyndon B. Johnson as a candidate for U.S. attorney, the leading federal prosecutor for northern Illinois.

“Let me say, Mr. President, with great pride and honor, he’s a precinct captain,” Daley told Johnson. “You got him, you got him,” Johnson responded.

In the all-power-is-local world of Chicago politics, the lowly job trumped any other qualification. Four years later, in 1968, Daley “promoted” Mr. Hanrahan from U.S. attorney to Cook County state’s attorney. But after the Black Panther raid, the Daley Democratic political machine tried to drop Mr. Hanrahan from the ticket in 1972. He won the primary, but largely because of the anger of black voters he lost the general election to a Republican.

Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Geraldine Hanrahan of River Forest; four children, Edward Hanrahan of Milwaukee, Gerald Hanrahan of Austin, Kathleen Hefner of Oak Park, Ill., and Julie Danaher of Chicago; and 10 grandchildren.


Omaha judge to rule on prosecutorial misconduct in 1971 COINTELPRO case against imprisoned Black Panther leaders

By Michael Richardson

June 1, 2007

Douglas County District Judge Russell Bowie will rule next month on Ed Poindexter’s request for a new trial after review of six volumes of 1971 trial records according to the Omaha World-Herald following four days of often emotional testimony and 160 new exhibits.

Poindexter, head of a Black Panther spin-off group, the National Committee to Combat Fascism, was convicted along with David Rice, now Mondo we Langa, for the bombing murder of Omaha police officer Larry Minard on a hot summer night in August 1970.

The Black Panthers and other radical groups were the targets of an illegal Federal Bureau of Investigation operation called COINTELPRO. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had ordered FBI agents assigned to COINTELPRO to get the Panthers off the streets and in jail. COINTELPRO tactics included withholding evidence and witness manipulation.

The FBI had already been working with the Omaha Police to solve a series of bombings in the Midwest when a late-night emergency phone call about a woman screaming in a vacant house lured police to a deadly booby-trap where a suitcase bomb killed Minard and injured other officers responding to the call.

A police dragnet soon snared 15 year-old Duane Peak who confessed to the crime after incriminating statements were given against him by family members. However, the targets of COINTELPRO were not Minard’s killers, but Poindexter and Langa. Peak gave multiple versions of his confession implicating various people. After Peak denied Poindexter and Langa were involved during his preliminary hearing and was removed from the courtroom his story changed and he implicated the two NCCF leaders. When Peak returned to his preliminary hearing, he was wearing sunglasses. When asked to remove the glasses by David Herzog, Langa’s attorney, Peak revealed tear-swollen red eyes. Peak then stated that Poindexter and Langa had built the bomb he used while he delivered the deadly suitcase and made the emergency call to the police.

Peak, in exchange for his testimony against Poindexter and Langa, was sentenced as a juvenile and has enjoyed freedom his adult life despite his confession to planting the bomb, is now living in Washington under the name Gabriel Peak. Poindexter and Langa are in the Nebraska State Penitentiary serving life sentences.

Testimony in early May in Poindexter’s hearing for a retrial centered on the emergency call and dynamite found in Langa’s house. The emergency tape was never used in the combined trial of Poindexter and Langa and was kept from the defense. The tape even turned up missing and has never been found. Meanwhile, the dynamite was never photographed inside the house in a crime scene evidence photo and only first showed up in the truck of a squad car. Conflicting police versions of where and who found the dynamite have been offered in sworn testimony at different times.

However, a secret FBI file, bearing fingerprints of COINTELPRO, discussing the emergency call tape as damaging to the police case emerged from a Freedom of Information request. Later, a duplicate copy of the tape was found and it became obvious why the tape would harm the official version of the case–the voice on the tape does not sound like that of Peak.

Tom Owen, a vocal analyst testified the voice was not that of 15 year-old Duane Peak. Owen then played the tape in the courtroom, contrasted with a tape of Peak, repeating the chilling call that drew police into the lethal trap. Peak says he disguised his voice, a claim disputed by Owen.

The dynamite testimony offers such sharply contrasting accounts of the alleged discovery of explosives in Langa’s basement that a question of perjury is raised. At the trial, the official version was that detective Jack Swanson found the dynamite and carried it upstairs where it was witnessed by fellow detective Robert Pheffer. However, Pheffer, testifying before Judge Bowie, now claims that he, not Swanson, found the dynamite. At the trial, Pheffer said he never went into the basement. At the recent hearing, Pheffer claimed he was the first one downstairs.

When Poindexter’s attorney, Robert Bartle, confronted Pheffer with his contradictory statements, he became angered. Pheffer also embellished his 1971 trial testimony claiming he discovered three suitcases with wires. The purported suitcases were never included in any police report, where not mentioned at the trial, were not included on the search inventory of the house, and not witnessed by anyone else.

David Herzog, the defense attorney for Langa at the trial, was the last witness in the retrial hearing. Herzog testified that he did not know of the existence of the emergency call tape and that he was only aware of a computer-generated punch card. “Today, I’m frankly appalled that I didn’t pursue the tape. I suppose to my grave I will regret not pursuing it.”

Herzog told Judge Bowie that in his opinion it was prosecutorial misconduct to have withheld the tape and that the jury may well have not convicted Poindexter and Langa had it heard the tape and realized that Peak’s story could not be trusted.

Poindexter’s attorney, Frank Morrison, was a retired three-term Nebraska governor serving as a new public defender. Before his death, Morrison would write an open letter to the Omaha World-Herald. “The self-confessed murderer was turned loose after a slap on the wrist. I now believe and always have believed that the true role of law enforcement is truth. Real justice can only be built on truth. I hope the Congress and other policy makers will reestablish this policy. I feel both I and the system failed Ed Poindexter.”


COINTELPRO prosecution of Black Panthers haunts Nebraska justice system while policeman’s killers go free

By Michael Richardson

June 30, 2008

On August 17, 1970, an anonymous caller to the Omaha, Nebraska police emergency hotline reported a woman screaming at a vacant house. Eight police officers responded only to find a booby-trapped suitcase instead of a crime victim. Officer Larry Minard, the father of five young children, was killed instantly when the suitcase bomb exploded in his face. The other seven police officers were all injured in the blast. Minard was buried three days later on what would have been his thirtieth birthday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation immediately responded to assist the Omaha Police track down the killers. However, what wasn’t known at the time was a secret directive from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to “disrupt” the Black Panther Party by any means possible called Operation COINTELPRO. The joint investigation, with a tainted agenda under the COINTELPRO mandate, targeted Omaha’s Black Panther chapter called the National Committee to Combat Fascism instead of a real search for Minard’s killers.

William Sullivan, Assistant Director of the FBI under Hoover, was the point person and chief architect of the covert COINTELPRO operation. Sullivan served as Hoover’s screener and selected Hoover’s daily reading list out of the thousands of COINTELPRO memoranda and field communications that flowed into FBI headquarters each year. Sullivan described COINTELPRO to a Congressional Committee on Nov. 1, 1975, as an operation where, “No holds were barred.”

Sullivan’s “no holds barred” policy was in effect when a decision was made and jointly-implemented by Omaha Police and the FBI Special Agent-in-Charge to let the unidentified caller who had lured Larry Minard to his death go free rather than endanger a plan to convict two Panther leaders, Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa (then known as David Rice). The two leaders had been COINTELPRO targets for two years before the bombing.

The story lay hidden for years behind a secrecy stamp at FBI headquarters in a COINTELPRO file and buried in little-known and long-forgotten testimony to the U.S. House Committee on Internal Security. Three days of deception in October 1970 that led to Minard’s killer’s going free are documented in records now available to the public.

Within days after the bombing, a 15 year-old dropout, Duane Peak, was identified as the bomber. Peak named a former Panther, Raleigh House, as the supplier of the dynamite and admitted to making the fatal call that lured Minard to his death. Police stretched out the interrogation for days as Peak gave a half-dozen different versions of the crime. Finally, Peak told the investigators what they wanted to hear, that NCCF leaders Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa helped him build and store the bomb.

But there were problems with the official version of the case. House, the supplier of the dynamite, was never formally charged or prosecuted for his role in the crime, raising suspicion that he was a COINTELPRO informant. House spent one night in jail and was released on his own signature without posting any bond. The whereabouts of Raleigh House today are unknown.

Further, the voice of the deadly caller was that of a middle-aged man, not that of a 15 year-old, leaving an unidentified accomplice on the loose. Poindexter and Langa, both in their 20’s, were never suspected or accused of making the call. Peak’s older accomplice was still on the loose because Peak, apparently to protect the older male caller, continued to maintain he made the fatal phone call.

Shortly after the bombing, Omaha detectives rushed a tape of the emergency call to FBI headquarters for vocal analysis. Police also made plans with the FBI to analyze other voice samples in an effort to identify the unknown caller.

At Peak’s preliminary hearing in September he persisted in his claim that he made the emergency call and that House supplied the dynamite. However, if the voice on the tape was not that of Peak the case against Poindexter and Langa, built upon the claims of Peak, would unravel. Assistant Chief of Police Glenn Gates conferred with his COINTELPRO liaison, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Omaha FBI office that led to deceit that would seal the fate of Poindexter and Langa and let the deadly caller walk away from the murder.

October 12, 1970, the first day of deceit, would bring William Sullivan’s first public admission that he had knowledge of the Omaha case in a rare public speech to a United Press International conference about the Black Panthers where he falsely denied FBI involvement in a “conspiracy” against the Panthers. About Minard’s death, Sullivan would say to the gathered reporters and correspondents, “On August 12, 1970 [sic] an Omaha, Nebraska police officer was literally blasted to death by an explosive device placed in a suitcase in an abandoned residence. The officer had been summoned by an anonymous telephone complaint that a woman was being beated [sic] there. An individual with Panther associations has been charged with this crime.”

Sullivan would go on to describe a variety of violent acts for which he blamed the Black Panthers including the deaths of rival group members in California that later would be discovered as COINTELPRO initiated shootings. Dismissing the growing body of evidence that there was some sort of a coordinated national effort against the Black Panthers that used illegal tactics Sullivan complained, “Panther cries of repression at the hands of a government “conspiracy” receive the sympathy not only of adherents to totalitarian ideologies, but also of those willing to close their eyes to even the violent nature of hoodlum “revolutionary” acts.”

October 13, 1970, the second day of deceit, would put Omaha Police Captain Murdock Platner in Washington, D.C. in a committee room of the U.S. House Committee on Internal Security investigating the Black Panthers. It would also be the date of a confidential memorandum from the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Omaha FBI office to J. Edgar Hoover stating: “Assistant COP GLENN GATES, Omaha PD, advised that he feels than any uses of this call might be prejudicial to the police murder trial against two accomplices of PEAK and, therefore, has advised that he wishes no use of this tape until after the murder trials of Peak and the two accomplices has been completed.”

The COINTELPRO memo continued, “[N]o further efforts are being made at this time to secure additional tape recordings of the original telephone call.” No more recordings, no more voice analysis, and no more search for the identity of the anonymous murderous caller.

In May 2007, voice analysis expert witness Tom Owen testified about the sophisticated tests he performed on a recording of the emergency call in a bid by Poindexter for a new trial. Owen testified before Douglas County District Court Judge Russell Bowie that to a “high degree” of probability the voice was not that of Peak.

October 14, 1970, the third day of deceit, would again find Captain Platner in a Congressional committee room but this time under oath and testifying, falsely, about the source of the dynamite that killed his fellow officer. Despite Peak’s repeated assertions that Raleigh House, the man with the get-out-of-jail-free card, supplied him with the dynamite and testimony against House several weeks earlier at his preliminary hearing, Platner boldly made a sworn false statement to the committee about the explosives to name Mondo we Langa instead of House.

“Duane Peak, a16-yearold boy who was arrested, testified in a preliminary hearing. It is from this preliminary hearing you are bound over to the district court to stand trial. In the preliminary hearing he testified that David Rice [Mondo we Langa] brought a suitcase filled with dynamite to his house or to somebody’s house, I’m not for sure just which place; that they removed all the dynamite from the suitcase except three sticks, made the bomb, the triggering device, and so on, and put it together; and then packed the suitcase with newspapers and that he left with this suitcase.”

But Platner was not the only member of the Omaha Police Department that would give false sworn testimony in the case. The questioning of the killer’s family and Delia Peak, simultaneous with the police search of Langa’s house, led to Lieutenant James Perry’s false testimony in court to justify the search. U.S. District Judge Warren Urbom best tells the story of Lt. Perry’s false sworn statements.

“Lt. Perry’s testimony that Delia Peak told him that Duane Peak, Edward Poindexter and David Rice were constant companions is in no way corroborated by the remainder of the record before me. The police report of her interview reveals nothing about Duane Peak’s being a constant companion of David Rice’s, and the rights advisory form she signed indicates that only Sgt. R. Alsager and Richard Curd were present for her interview. Moreover, her interview did not begin until the very hour police first approached David Rice’s house and was not completed until after the decision has been made to enter his house. The police report of her interview also reveals that she had seen Duane Peak at about 5:00 p.m. the night before. Thus, it simply is not so that Duane Peak’s family had not seen him in the two days before they had entered the petitioners house and is persuasive that Delia Peak’s family did not make a contrary statement. Finally, there is no indication in the police reports of interviews with Duane Peak’s family prior to the entry of Rice’s house that they were concerned that he might have been eliminated. On the basis of the entire record before this court and having heard and seen Lt. Perry testify, it is impossible for me to credit his testimony in the respects mentioned.”

Sergeant Jack Swanson testified at the murder trial that he went down to the basement and found the dynamite. Sergeant Robert Pheffer backed up Swanson saying he first saw the dynamite when Swanson carried it upstairs. Pheffer testified he never went down in the basement.

At an Omaha court hearing in May 2007 in Poindexter’s bid for a new trial, Pheffer testified that his trial testimony was not correct and that he, not Swanson found the dynamite. The dynamite was never seen in the basement by anyone else and only first appears in an evidence photo pictured in the trunk of a police squad car. Robert Bartle, Poindexter’s attorney describes the contradictory testimony in an appeal brief to the Nebraska Supreme Court where the case is now pending.

“At Poindexter’s trial, Sgt. Swanson testified that he found dynamite in Rice’s basement at 2816 Parker and that Sgt. Pheffer was also in the basement when Swanson found it. Contrary to Swanson’s trial testimony, Pfeffer testified at trial that he (Pheffer) never went down into Rice’s basement and that he (Pheffer) first saw the dynamite found by Swanson when Swanson carried it up from Rice’s basement. At Poindexter’s post-conviction hearing on may 30, 2007, Pheffer’s testimony about finding the dynamite in Rice’s basement was significantly different from his sworn trial testimony 36 years earlier. On May 30, 2007, Pheffer testified that he was the one who found the dynamite in Rice’s basement at 2816 Parker on August 22 , 1970. Pheffer claimed that Swanson was right behind him and that when Pheffer saw the dynamite, he became scared and told Swanson that they needed to ‘get the heck out of here.’ When confronted with the discrepancy between Pheffer’s sworn trial testimony in 1971 and his recent testimony of actually being the officer who found the dynamite, Pheffer swore that this trial testimony in 1971 was not correct, that ‘the court reporter, somebody got it wrong.'”

The unknown man who made the fatal call that lured Larry Minard to his untimely and tragic death was dropped from the case following the three days of deceit in October 1970 because his existence interfered with the story told by killer Duane Peak and further investigation would only undermine the state’s case against Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa, the COINTELPRO targets. Raleigh House, the supplier of the dynamite did one night in jail before being released on his own recognizance. Peak, the confessed bomber served 33 months of juvenile detention and was released

Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa are serving life sentences at the maximum security Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln. Both men deny any involvement in Larry Minard’s murder. The Nebraska Supreme Court is reviewing Poindexter’s request for a new trial. No date has been set for a decision sometime this fall.


Black Panthers: Omaha Two were Targets of a Secret Police Task Force Codenamed “Domino”

Added emphases in boldface.

Michael Richardson
Progressive Examiner | November 24, 2009

The Omaha Two, Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice), were leaders of the Black Panther Party chapter in Omaha, Nebraska. Today both men are serving life sentences for the 1970 bombing murder of an Omaha police officer, Larry Minard, and deny any involvement in his death.

Secret government documents, only uncovered after the trial that convicted the two Panther leaders, establish the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Crime Laboratory withheld a report on the identity of the anonymous caller that lured Minard to his death on Omaha’s newly installed 911 system with a false report of a woman screaming.

The secret files disclose that the Omaha FBI office Special-Agent-in-Charge, Paul Young, had been under orders from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to be “imaginative” in developing illegal tactics against the Panthers and that several plans were concocted and implemented under Operation COINTELPRO in the months before the bombing.

Hoover’s hidden war on political activists he didn’t like was national in scope but kept secret from outsiders, including the Attorney General and members of Congress. The secretive COINTELPRO directives forbid working with other federal agencies and fostered a bitter rivalry with agents of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Division of the Internal Revenue Service.

In the months before the flawed murder investigation, both Panther leaders were targeted by the Omaha Police Department, Hoover’s COINTELPRO operatives, the U.S. Attorney and ATF agents. Both men were constantly harassed by local police with frequent traffic stops and verbal abuse. Mondo was fired from his job with the Greater Omaha Community Action Agency and hauled before a grand jury. Ed was the victim of bogus letters to Omaha newspapers and an anonymous phone campaign.

The police campaign against the two Panthers was coordinated by a secret task force codenamed Domino, according to retired ATF Special Agent James Moore. Moore worked in the Kansas City ATF office and busted Black Panther Pete O’Neal on a firearms charge. Moore had worked closely with his counterparts in the Omaha office and followed the efforts to get the two Panther leaders.

Moore discloses the bitter rivalry between the FBI and ATF and breaks the code of silence about the secret Domino task force in his book Very Special Agents. Endnotes in the book explain Moore got his information primarily from ATF agent Thomas Sledge and the supervisor of the Omaha ATF office, Dwight Thomas. Moore learned details from Sledge and Thomas contemporaneously and in later conversations and interviews.

“Most law enforcement officers wanted to believe that the FBI lived up to its motto: ‘Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity.’ For some, disillusionment solidified in Omaha.”

Moore describes how Sledge worked a 12 year-old girl as his informant to obtain a federal search warrant of Panther headquarters in Omaha looking for Russian machine guns and dynamite only to have the Justice Department cancel the search because of the unreliability of the witness.

The U.S. Attorney, Richard Dier, had no comment on the matter at the time and speculation centered on the U.S. Marshal’s office as the probable source of the Justice Department intervention. However, Moore fills in the details with a different version, presumably telling the story from Sledge’s account.

“Sledge gathered enough corroboration to obtain a search warrant. Assistant U.S. Attorney J. William Gallup, United States Attorney Richard Dier and a federal judge agreed. Sledge summoned ATF agents, Omaha police, and U.S. marshals to plan a raid.”

While Sledge briefed the strike force, Dier called the FBI for information on any fortification of the Panther headquarters. Hours later Dier got a call from the Justice Department in Washington cancelling the raid. When Dier asked the reason the warrant was quashed he was told, “The FBI informs us it’s based on questionable evidence.”

“While the task force cooled its heels in the federal building, FBI agents went door-to-door in the Panthers’ neighborhood asking everyone whether there were weapons or explosives inside the headquarters.”

The Domino task force convened in a special meeting after the killing of Larry Minard, unaware that Assistant Chief of Police Glen W. Gates had already agreed with the FBI to let the unknown caller go in order to make a case against the two Panther leaders.

“Overcast skies reflected the morning mood of deputy sheriffs, police detectives, state troopers and federal investigators assembled for a special meeting of Domino–an informal Omaha venture hosting regular monthly meetings of lawmen to discuss problems and foster interagency cooperation. This meeting had one mission: to catch the cop killers.”

As the Domino team zeroed in on the Black Panthers as the targets of investigation, the FBI made a sudden announcement.

“The FBI representative stood up. ‘We have excellent informer coverage of the Panthers,’ he said, ‘and our key source advises us that two white males were observed running from the scene shortly before the blast.'”

The killer of Larry Minard who made the 911 call was never identified nor were the “two white males” cited by the FBI to the Domino group.

Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa are serving life sentences at the maximum-security Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln. Both men, targets of COINTELPRO and Domino, have continuously denied any involvement in the crime.


Black Panthers: Assassinated by the State – The Federally Sanctioned Murder of Fred Hampton

” … a much-needed corrective to a badly distorted mainstream narrative of a key event in the history of the left and African-American politics of the late ’60s … It is now clear that Hampton and Clark were victims of a plot hatched by the FBI and executed by the Cook County State’s Attorney and Chicago police officers. Nonetheless, conventional wisdom portrays the Panthers as the villains. … This book should alter the conventional wisdom that the Panthers were a dangerous threat that the police had to eliminate at all costs … “

By Salim Muwakkil
In These Times | November 25, 2009

Street door to the Black Panthers’ headquarters after the October 1969 police raid

It’s clear that Hoover’s designation of the Panthers as ‘the greatest threat to the internal security of the country’ provided law enforcement with a virtual license to kill. Jeffrey Haas tells a story that many of us have long waited to read. His book, The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther (Lawrence Hill Books, November), is a much-needed corrective to a badly distorted mainstream narrative of a key event in the history of the left and African-American politics of the late ’60s. Haas reveals just how deeply the Nixon Justice Department was involved in the Chicago police raid on December 4, 1969, that killed Black Panther Party leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. Hampton headed the Panthers’ Chicago branch and Clark the Peoria, Ill., branch.

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