[Ppnews] Gary Freeman to be extradited to Chicago
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jan 23 15:47:42 EST 2008
Gary Freeman's statement follows this article
Former Black Panther ends fight, to be extradited to Chicago
Suspect to be tried in Chicago in 1969 shooting of officer
By Monique Garcia | Tribune staff reporter
January 23, 2008
A former Black Panther who fled to Canada and assumed a new life
after the 1969 shooting of a Chicago police officer will no longer
fight extradition here, his attorney said Tuesday.
After nixing an appeal to Canada's supreme court, Joseph Pannell, 58,
could return to Chicago within the next 30 days to face attempted
murder charges in the shooting of Terrence Knox, now retired. He will
be held in the Cook County Jail until the legal process plays out.
"He is interested in meeting the charges, meeting Officer Knox,
coming to some sort of reconciliation and moving on with his life,"
said Neil Cohen, Pannell's lawyer. "It's been 40 years."
For decades, Pannell lived in Canada under the alias of Douglas Gary
Freeman. He married, started a family and worked as a library
research assistant near Toronto.
He was arrested in 2004 after the Chicago police cold-case squad,
with the help of the FBI and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, tracked
Pannell through fingerprint records. His prints matched those of a
man -- Freeman -- stopped at the Canadian border in 1983 for
smuggling a camera.
Pannell had been on the lam since 1974 when he skipped bail for a
second time while on trial for the 1969 shooting of Knox on the South
Side. Knox was on patrol near 76th Street and Drexel Avenue when he
approached Pannell, then 19, and asked why he wasn't inside nearby
Hirsch High School.
"That's pretty much all I remember," Knox said Tuesday. "For one
reason or another, I've pretty much blocked most of that day out."
Pannell is alleged to have shot Knox multiple times in the right arm,
striking a major artery and several nerves. While Knox still has
partial use of the arm, the injury eventually caused him to retire
from the police force and go into private business.
In the years since the shooting, Knox has learned to laugh at the
close call, joking that the one class he failed at the police academy
was "learning how to duck." He also has become an advocate for
victims' rights, pushing legislation that would prohibit suspects
accused of violent crimes from posting bail if they've skipped out before.
"I'm terrified some judge will once again grant him bail," Knox said.
"I've been let down by a stupid criminal justice system before, and
it doesn't just happen to me, it happens to others. So now, 40 years
after the fact, I'm reliving this and my family is reliving this."
<mailto:mcgarcia at tribune.com>mcgarcia at tribune.com
Gary Freeman today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day:
January 21, 2008 - Returning to Chicago
The day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated was easily the
worse day of my life. After attending my classes at Howard
University, I was in the home of a classmate and close friend
listening to some of her mother's jazz albums when the news burst
from the television.
We both sat shocked, speechless, semi-paralyzed, and unable to do
anything except watch the TV. Major cities quickly became engulfed in
the flames of despair and Washington joined them. It was something I
never could have imagined happening. But then, someone killing the
world's foremost prophet and disciple of non-violence was also
something I would never have imagined.
Later that year, when I came through Chicago, one of the first things
I heard about was Dr. King's march through the area a few years
earlier. He had come to focus attention on the plight of African
Americans who were ravaged by poverty and inequality in housing opportunity.
The magnitude and ferocity of the hate directed at Dr. King and his
fellow marchers was shocking. It moved Dr. King to remark that he had
never been to such a hate-filled place.
When Dr. King was assassinated and parts of black Chicago joined in
the flames of despair, the Mayor of Chicago issued instructions that
suspected looters and arsonists should be shot on sight. He later
rescinded the order but the mere fact the Mayor possessed the idea of
suspending due process and engaging in summary executions on the
streets of an American city spoke volumes about an ugly reality.
But a lot has happened in the world and America since then to move
humanity in the direction of fulfilling Dr. King's dream.
Apartheid in South Africa ended not with a military victory but with
the victory of the democratic process and the commitment of both
sides to engage in a process of peace, truth and reconciliation.
The Troubles in Northern Ireland have ended, not with military
victory but with the victory of non-violent conflict resolution and
the engagement of the democratic process.
The US Congress apologized in Senate Resolution 39 for not doing
anything to stop the terrible crime against humanity known as
lynching. And last year, a bi-racial, bi-partisan group of American
legislators put forward the End Racial Profiling Act of 2007 to put a
stop to that crime against humanity.
Meanwhile, the current Mayor of Chicago and the Democratic Party
establishment have endorsed an African American man to be the next
president of the United States of America. Underpinning that
endorsement rests a city that deeply desires to make a clean break
with the past and to create the kind of society Dr. King dreamed of.
I cannot ignore what is taking place. Nor do I want to. I desire to
be part of what must be acknowledged as a defining moment in history.
Ultimately, I know I have a responsibility to help create one nation
out of a fractured past.
My extradition fight has been first and foremost directed towards
having some truth revealed about many things, perhaps most
importantly an extradition process that remains a rubber stamp that
denies fundamental human rights. To that extent, it has succeeded. A
continuation of a legal battle in Canada would aim to get the courts
to acknowledge the truth and then to act accordingly. But our efforts
thus far, and those of others in a similar situation, tell us that
this isn't likely to happen.
Instead, I have decided to abandon my Supreme Court challenge of the
Ontario Court of Appeals decision. I will be returning to Chicago and
will be incarcerated at the Cook County Jail until such time as we
reach a final determination through the judicial process.
In the meantime, I look forward to what I hope will be a dialogue to
achieve a resolution in my 39 year old case, one that is grounded in
the spirit of peaceful conflict resolution.
Clearly it is time to make the much needed clean break with the past
and look to the future with eyes on the prize while clasping the
hands of those who have formerly been adversaries. If it can be done
in South Africa and Northern Ireland, if Israel and the Palestinians
can sit down and talk, certainly the opposing sides in this 39 year
old case can engage in a dialogue of resolution if for no other
reason than to allow for the healing of two families.
I have learned how much I and my family are loved and respected. Your
support has been an immeasurable gift. The past four years have
interrupted one of the most important parts of my family's life:
community involvement. After this episode is over, I certainly intend
to return to the community and engage in public works for the public
good for the rest of my life.
Above all, we must remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,
"Everybody can be great because everybody can serve".
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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