[Ppnews] Prison Interview: Black Panther Mondo we Langa

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Jan 19 12:35:36 EST 2008


Original Content at 

January 18, 2008

Prison Interview: Black Panther Mondo we Langa 
talks about dynamite "found" at his home

By Michael Richardson

Imprisoned Black Panther Mondo we Langa, formerly 
David Rice, was recently interviewed at the 
Nebraska State Penitentiary where he is serving a 
life sentence for the bombing murder of Omaha 
Police officer Larry Minard in 1970.

Langa, and co-defendant Ed Poindexter, also 
imprisoned for life, were officers in the Black 
Panther group National Committee to Combat 
Fascism when police were lured to a booby-trapped 
vacant house in August 1970.  Langa and 
Poindexter were also targets of the FBI's secret 
and illegal COINTELPRO operation against the 
Black Panthers which had been working with Omaha police.
After a week-long sweep of Omaha's north side and 
over a dozen arrests, police finally identified 
15 year-old Duane Peak as the bomber.  Peak, who 
got a deal from prosecutors and only served a 
brief sentence as a juvenile, claimed the bomb 
was constructed at Langa's house and Poindexter 
gave him instructions.  Both Langa and Poindexter 
deny any involvement in the killing.

The primary evidence against the two Panthers was 
Peak's brokered testimony and dynamite allegedly 
found in Langa's basement.  Douglas County 
District Court Judge Russell Bowie heard 
testimony in May 2007 about the dynamite from 
retired detective Robert Pheffer who contradicted 
his own trial testimony about the dynamite.

At the 1971 murder trial, detective Jack Swanson 
testified he found dynamite in a coal bin in the 
basement of Langa's house and was backed up by 
detective Pheffer who testified he first saw the 
dynamite when Swanson carried it up the 
stairs.  In 2007, Pheffer changed his story and 
claimed under oath he found the dynamite not 
Swanson.  Crime scene evidence technicians took 
photos of the basement but no dynamite is 
present.  The first evidence photos that picture 
dynamite are of the trunk of a police squad car.

Incredibly, despite the contradictory police 
testimony Judge Bowie ruled it didn't matter who 
found the dynamite.  "Other than the conflicting 
reports about who found the dynamite in Rice's 
basement, there is no evidence to suggest that 
the dynamite was planted by police.  The bottom 
line is that dynamite was found in Rice's 
basement, who found it is immaterial."

 From the prison where he has been confined for 
36 years, Langa talks about the dynamite testimony.

"Swanson says when he and the other cops showed 
up at the house the door was open and the lights 
were on.  I don't really have a clue yet exactly 
what happened, but apparently what happened is 
police went through the house but they did not 
have a search warrant, that we know, they did not 
have a search warrant, what they had was an arrest warrant for Duane Peak."

"Aside from the fact he was in the party or 
associated with it, they had no reason to look in 
my house for Duane Peak.  Duane Peak was 15 years 
old.  He wasn't someone I hung with.  So what 
they did, according to police testimony, is that 
some of them remained at the house to secure 
it.  Some cops stayed at the house and secured it 
while others went to Judge Simon A. Simon's 
house.  They went with an affidavit to have him sign a search warrant."

"It is interesting to say the least that the 
police say we found dynamite in the basement next 
to the furnace.  But they took a picture, they 
took a photograph of my basement.  There is no 
dynamite in the photograph.  But they also took a 
photograph of a box of dynamite in the trunk of a 
police cruiser.  They took a photo of my basement 
and they claimed there is dynamite there, why not 
have a photo of the dynamite in the basement?"

In 1974, at an evidentiary hearing in federal 
court reviewing the search warrant, the Omaha 
Police once again took the stand to talk about 
finding the dynamite.  U.S. District Judge Warren 
Urbom ruled the search warrant was invalid but 
was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I don't remember which cops, I'm sure Pheffer 
was one of them, but there were about, as I 
recall, about three of them who were questioned 
about this dynamite.  I noticed the first cop was 
presented with a photo of my basement.  He is 
asked to identify where he is supposed to have 
found this box of dynamite.  So he has the photo 
before him and he is going like this and that 
[gesturing] probably trying to jog his 
memory.  Urbom notices it and hands him a pen and 
says, "Mark the specific spot in the photo where 
you found dynamite."  So he looks at it some more 
and takes the pen and marks a spot.  They are 
done with him, next cop comes up and he is asked the same thing."

"Same photo.  He is looking, finally he points to 
the spot that the first cop made a little 
box.  Same thing with one or two more cops.  Same 
thing.  They all eventually point to the marked 
in box.  I'm saying to myself something weird is 
going on around here.  Because my belief was that 
there were two ways that things could have come 
down.  Actually, three.  One, the business about 
my house being open and somebody had planted the 
dynamite.  That was one, but the one that made 
more sense to me was there was no dynamite there 
in the first place.  And the other being, with 
all this cloak and dagger stuff [COINTELPRO 
tactics] they actually brought a box.  See, 
because other people had been arrested in a car 
with dynamite, I'm thinking about a month before the bombing."

"I'm thinking maybe that they had brought 
dynamite to the house.  Those are the 
possibilities I was thinking about.  Anyway, we 
are in Urbom's court and I'm watching this thing 
about the photo.  There was a recess so I asked 
Herzog [defense attorney] "Man, let me see that 
photo."  I looked at the photo and I'll be 
damned.  It is a photo of my basement, but 
whoever took the photo took the photo of my 
basement lengthwise walking down the kitchen 
steps.  It is an unfinished basement, there may 
have been a concrete wall and the other walls 
were dirt.  And the photograph shows the one wall 
where I had my target up there, my target 
practice range.  Even showed the target with the 
bullet holes in it.  It is against kind of a dirt 
bank.  So if you walk down the steps, these are 
steps right there [gesturing], the basement is 
kind of like this.  There is a little area where 
my target was.  When you get to the bottom of the 
steps, whoever took the photo that way.  When it 
just so happens that the coal bin where the 
police testified they found the dynamite is over 
here, cut into the wall.  It is not even in the 
photo, it's not in the photo.  So, even though I 
couldn't prove the police planted the dynamite or 
that it wasn't there in the first place, it was 
obvious their testimony was perjured because even 
if they were telling
if they say the dynamite was 
in the coal bin and they identify a place in the 
basement that the coal bin isn't in, I mean that 
is perjured testimony.  I can't prove that they 
planted the dynamite but it is obvious the suckers are lying.

"So we come up to the present and here is Pheffer 
talking about we found a box of dynamite in David 
Rice's house facing next to the furnace.  I'm 
thinking about this.  Well, if a person was going 
to keep his dynamite next to the furnace and I 
imagine it is to keep it warm then it would also 
make sense that if there were blasting caps in 
the house then it would probably would been a 
good thing to have these kept like on top of the 
stove to be consistent with this kind of absurdity."

"There are all kinds of things about the case 
that are really pretty basic and pretty 
outrageous that are part of the record that people don't know about."

Authors Bio: Michael Richardson is a freelance 
writer based in Boston. Richardson writes about 
politics, election law, human nutrition, ethics, 
and music. Richardson is also a political consultant on ballot access.

Freedom Archives
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San Francisco, CA 94110

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