[Pnews] Omaha 2 - FBI Cointelpro order called off search for Omaha policeman's killer
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jun 17 15:08:28 EDT 2015
COINTELPRO order called off search for Omaha policeman's killer
June 17, 2015 9:46 AM MST
J. Edgar Hoover personally gave his approval to withhold evidence with
an "OK" and his initial "H"
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The 1970 bombing murder of Omaha Patrolman Larry Minard, Sr. landed two
Black Panther leaders in prison where they are serving life sentences.
Minard had been lured to his death by an anonymous 911 caller who
reported a woman screaming in a vacant house. Without the knowledge of
prosecutors, the Omaha police sent a copy of the 911 recording to the
FBI Laboratory for vocal analysis under the unusual condition of no
written report. However, before the examination could be conducted the
Omaha FBI office cancelled the police request and no test was conducted
to determine the identity of the deadly caller.
and Mondo we Langa
then David Rice, had been targeted for counterintelligence action under
COINTELPRO <http://vault.fbi.gov/cointel-pro>, a massive clandestine
operation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Police, with the
assistance of both the FBI and agents of the Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms Division, focused their investigation on the leaders of the
National Committee to Combat Fascism, a Black Panther affiliate chapter.
The two men were convicted of murder and are now known as the Omaha Two
According to a confidential FBI memorandum to J. Edgar Hoover, written
the day of Minard’s death, August 17, 1970, Special Agent in-Charge Paul
Young and Deputy Chief of Police Glen Gates conspired to withhold a
report on a piece of crucial evidence the police had – the recorded
voice of the anonymous caller captured by the 911 system. Gates asked
Young if he could send the tape for FBI analysis to identify the unknown
caller. However, the testing was conditional; no written report which
might end up in court as evidence.
“[Deputy Chief Gates] inquired into the possibility of voice analysis of
the individual making the call by the FBI Laboratory. He was advised the
matter would be considered and that if such analysis were made and if
subsequent voice patterns were transmitted for comparison, such analysis
would have to be strictly informal, as the FBI could not provide any
testimony in the matter; also, only an oral report of the results of
such examination would be made to the Police Department. [Gates] stated
he understood these terms and stated the Police Department would be
extremely appreciative of any assistance in this matter by the FBI and
would not embarrass the FBI at a later date, but would use such
information for lead purposes only.”
“It should be noted that the police community is extremely upset over
this apparent racially motivated, vicious and unnecessary murder. In
slightly over three months this division has experienced more than ten
bombings, probably all but a few of them being racially motivated. Of
these bombings, four were directed at police facilities with extensive
damage,” wrote Young.
“Any assistance rendered along the line mentioned above would greatly
enhance the prestige of the FBI among law enforcement representatives in
this area, and I thus strongly recommend that the request be favorably
“In view of the foregoing, it is requested that the FBI Laboratory
examine enclosed tape recording and make an appropriate voice print to
be retained for comparison against other tape recordings of suspects to
be submitted at a later date,” ended the memorandum.
A cryptic, undated, partially illegible handwritten notation at the end
of the memo reveals that the Assistant Special Agent in-Charge in Omaha
cancelled the voice comparison before the FBI Laboratory even conducted
an analysis of the 911 recording.
“Exam canceled per call from ASAC Tom [illegible] Identity of unknown
caller determined [last three words and signature illegible]”
Years later, in post-trial proceedings, the three men who prosecuted the
case, County Attorney Donald “Pinky” Knowles, and assistant prosecutors
Arthur O’Leary and Sam Cooper, all denied any knowledge of the FBI role
in the case. The three prosecutors also denied knowledge of a front page
/Omaha World-Herald /article the day after the bombing about a
“voiceprint” being sent to the FBI Laboratory. None of the three were
able to explain their failure to submit a copy of the recording to the
defense despite two discovery requests.
J. Edgar Hoover’s dictatorial control of the FBI kept the headquarters
and field offices linked in a tight chain of command that prohibited
direct interaction between the laboratory and field without approval of
the administrative division. Young’s request was routed to a FBI
supervisor named William Bradley. Bradley wrote two letters to Ivan
Willard Conrad, the FBI Laboratory director, regarding the Omaha tape
recording and need to not issue a laboratory report. Both letters record
Hoover’s complicity in the withholding of exculpatory evidence.
On the first Bradley memo, the laboratory chief added a handwritten
notation that he talked with Hoover on the telephone and Hoover gave the
“OK to do it.” The second Bradley memo, three days later, updates
developments in the investigation and indicates Hoover’s approval. At
the bottom of the memorandum is Hoover’s characteristic “OK” and his
initial “H” meaning he read and approved of the text. The memo outlined
Paul Young’s telephoned request for the FBI Laboratory to send an agent
to Omaha to direct the police on obtaining vocal samples for the tape
Richard Anderson, the Chief of Police, was focused on an out-of-state
job hunt and stayed out of the case leaving Gates in charge of the
murder investigation. Gates worked closely with two subordinates,
Lieutenant James Perry and Sergeant Jack Swanson. Perry disliked the FBI
and was unaware of Gate’s arrangement with the FBI Laboratory. Swanson,
head of the Intelligence Squad, was the liaison for the police with the
FBI and worked closely with agents. COINTELPRO operatives had a direct
pipeline into the Omaha Police Department. Swanson was already getting
calls from a FBI agent named Hayes within hours of the bombing.
The decision to let the anonymous 911 caller get away with murder was
made the same day Minard died. Paul Young and Glen Gates conspired to
withhold a laboratory report to determine the identity of the 911
caller. Two days later, J. Edgar Hoover joined the conspiracy after a
telephone call with Ivan Conrad about the unusual request. Hoover
ordered Conrad to comply and not issue a written report on the identity
of the caller. Paul Young sent Hoover another memorandum in October 1970
reminding that the Omaha police did not want any use of tape before the
trial of the Omaha Two because the recording would be “prejudicial” to
the police case.
The 911 recording was withheld from the defense and never heard by the
jury that convicted the two men. The original recording was destroyed by
James Perry several years after the trial. In 1980, a copy made by a
dispatcher was located and in 2006 was submitted for scientific testing.
Internationally acclaimed audiologist Tom Owen tested the recording and
determined that 15 year-old Duane Peak did not make the 911 call as
claimed by police and prosecutors leaving an unidentified killer on the
loose and unravelling the case against the Omaha Two.
Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa remain imprisoned at the
maximum-security Nebraska State Penitentiary where both men are in poor
health and continue to proclaim their innocence. State and federal
courts have repeatedly denied the men a new trial despite the revelation
of J. Edgar Hoover’s tampering with evidence in the case.
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
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