[Ppnews] Omaha Two story: (Part 12) - Police arrest 3 men with stolen dynamite

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Mar 28 10:16:00 EDT 2011


Omaha police arrest 3 men with stolen dynamite and impose media blackout

    * By 
Richardson, COINTELPRO Examiner
    * March 27th, 2011 8:40 pm ET

Omaha Two story: July 28, 1970

Several days after a blotched federal raid on the 
headquarters of the Omaha Black Panther affiliate 
chapter, renamed the National Committee to Combat 
Fascism, the Omaha Police Department got a lead 
on stolen dynamite being sold in the city.

Agents of the Division of Alcohol, Tobacco & 
Firearms had sought to search the headquarters 
looking for machine guns and explosives based on 
a tip from an adolescent informer.  Omaha was on 
edge after a series of bombings including one at 
a police sub-station in North Omaha.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation put a stop to 
the search and initiated their own investigation. 
Omaha police were working their informants and 
learned of three men selling dynamite.  On July 28, 1970, a buy was set up.

Omaha Police Captain Murdock Platner later 
testified in Washington, D.C. to the U.S. House 
Committee on Internal  Security that the dynamite 
had been stolen in Des Moines, Iowa and was 
suspected to be the source of explosives used in recent Omaha bombings:

“We received information from a party that had 
been approached to buy dynamite.  We had him buy 
it and he bought 10 sticks.  It was 2 and-a-half 
by 16-inch sticks.  He came back later and said 
he could buy more of this dynamite.  So we set 
for him to buy and then
we did move in and 
arrested three young men in a car.  In their 
possession they had 41 sticks of this same type of dynamite.”

Platner called the owner of Quick Supply Co. in 
Des Moines, Iowa where dynamite of that size was 
stolen earlier in the summer.  According to 
Platner, “he was almost positive it had to be 
their dynamite.”  Platner investigated further, 
“Sergeant Gladson checked back with the 
manufacturer of the dynamite, and they told him 
that was the only shipment of that size dynamite in the year 1970.”

Then something curious happened.  Despite banner 
headlines in the newspaper and regular television 
reports about the bombings, not a single media 
report was filed about the arrest of the three 
men.  Their arrest records were part of the 
public record reviewed daily by crime beat 
reporters.  The three men all appeared in open 
sessions of court following the arrest and not a 
peep out of the Omaha news media.

The reporters and editors sitting on the story 
had most likely been asked for cooperation by 
police trying to further trace the stolen 
dynamite.  Eager to escape felony charges, the 
three men, Luther Payne, Lamont Mitchell, and 
Conrad Gray, told police a story that found an interested audience.

The three men in jail denied any involvement in 
the Des Moines burglary.  Instead, they claimed 
they found the dynamite in the back room of a 
local anti-poverty agency.  A detective working 
the case was Sergeant Jack Swanson, who was the 
complaining witness against the men in court.

The day after the trio’s first court appearance 
in Omaha, the U.S. Senate Committee on Government 
Operations began hearings in Washington, D.C. on 
the Black Panthers and bombings around the country.

On August 7, 1970, in Marin County, California, a 
courtroom rescue attempt by Black Panther George 
Jackson’s brother, Jonathan, resulted in a 
shootout killing four people including Judge 
Harold Haley.  The bloody courthouse shootout 
captured national attention and helped demonize the Black Panthers to many.

Back in Nebraska on August 9, 1970, in Bellevue, 
a suburb of Omaha, a paper sack was found along a 
street with ten sticks of dynamite.  The news 
media, still ignoring the arrest of Payne, 
Mitchell, and Gray, snapped to action and duly 
reported on the sack of dynamite.

Two days later, on August 11th, 
we Langa, then David Rice, was fired from his job 
at Greater Omaha Community Action.  Mondo had 
worked at the GOCA anti-poverty agency for over a 
year as a community outreach worker but earned 
the animosity of his supervisor for his off-duty 
work as Minister of Information of the National Committee to Combat Fascism.

Poindexter, Chairman of the NCCF chapter, dropped 
by Mondo’s house the next day to commiserate his 
termination.  Poindexter’s own job at the U.S. 
Post Office slipped away after he was pictured in 
the Omaha World-Herald with other Black Panthers 
protecting a GOCA office during 1969 rioting in 
Omaha.  Poindexter’s visit was noted by police 
who stopped Poindexter for questioning near the residence.

Tensions between the black community and police 
were so strong the Commission on Church and Race 
held a forum at First Central Congregational 
Church on August 14th but did not invite police 
representatives to avoid a confrontation.

On August 15, 1970, Paul Young, head of the Omaha 
FBI office, was still plotting a smear campaign 
against Ed Poindexter using bogus letters under a 
mandate from 
Edgar Hoover.  Hoover was waging his own private 
war on the Black Panthers with a clandestine 
counter-intelligence operation code-named 
and had tasked Young with devising a plan to 
“destroy” Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa’s leadership of the Black Panthers.

The pair are now known as the Omaha Two and are 
imprisoned for life at the Nebraska State 
Penitentiary for their purported role in the 
bombing murder of an Omaha police officer.  Ed 
Poindexter and Mondo we Langa deny any role in the crime.

To view all the Omaha Two story articles click 

Permission granted to reprint


Michael Richardson

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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