[Pnews] War week was fifty years ago when the FBI fought the Black Panthers in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Omaha

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Dec 11 10:38:11 EST 2019


  War week was fifty years ago when the FBI fought the Black Panthers in
  Chicago, Los Angeles, and Omaha

Michael Richardson - December 11, 2019

War week against the Black Panther Party fifty years ago, in early 
December 1969, took on lethal ferocity with the murders of Fred Hampton 
and Mark Clark in Chicago. The killings were orchestrated by Federal 
Bureau of Investigation agents under a clandestine counterintelligence 
operation code-named COINTELPRO 
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had declared war on the Black Panthers and 
wanted them eliminated. Hoover pushed the FBI field offices to get 
Panthers off the streets using any tactics necessary.

The Los Angeles FBI office sent a memorandum to Hoover that reported the 
Bureau was providing information to local police. “The Los Angeles 
office is furnishing on a daily basis information to the Los Angeles 
County Sheriff’s Office Intelligence Division and the Los Angeles Police 
Department Intelligence and Criminal Conspiracy Divisions concerning the 
activities of the black nationalist groups in the anticipation that such 
information might lead to the arrest of these militants.”

In Chicago, FBI agent Roy Mitchell erroneously informed State’s Attorney 
Edward Hanrahan’s special police unit that weapons had been moved into 
Black Panther leader Fred Hampton’s apartment.

On December 4, 1969, in a FBI orchestrated pre-dawn raid by Hanrahan’s 
special squad, Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were shot to 
death. Fourteen handpicked policemen, armed with twenty-seven firearms 
including a Thompson submachine and shotguns, converged on Hampton’s 
apartment at 4:45 a.m. The police fired a barrage into the quiet 
apartment killing the two Panther leaders and wounding all of the other 

Three years later a report from an independent Commission of Inquiry 
into the fatal shooting of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark was sharply 
critical of law enforcement officials. The role of the FBI in the deadly 
raid was not then known.

“The fact that neither the state’s attorney nor the police have been 
indicted for their roles in the planning and execution of the 
raid…raises disturbing questions about the degree to which improper 
police or prosecutorial conduct is presently subject to any orderly 
system of correction and control.”

“It is very difficult legally to justify the vast amount of shooting 
throughout the apartment by police when only one shot can be ascribed 
with confidence to any occupant.”

“The police who removed the bodies received their instructions from the 
State’s Attorney’s Office….By moving the bodies in the apartment from 
the locations in which they died, and then removing them from the 
premises entirely, the police on the scene severely hampered the 
coroner’s ability to perform his duty of determining the immediate and 
underlying cause of death. The inference is compelling that the State’s 
Attorney’s Office simply did not want a contemporaneous on-the-scene 
investigation by the Coroner’s Office.”

On December 8, 1969, a coordinated pre-dawn raid in Los Angeles resulted 
in the arrests of twenty people at three locations. The first-ever SWAT 
team attacked the Black Panther headquarters only to be repelled by 
gunfire. A gun battle raged for four hours before six wounded Panthers 
surrendered. Black Panther leader Geronimo Pratt was a target but 
avoided the gun battle by hiding in a safe house. Pratt was later 
arrested and wrongfully convicted of murder, spending twenty-seven years 
in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Attorney Paul Wolf has commented, “The similarities between the Chicago 
and Los Angeles raids are undeniable, with a special local police unit 
closely linked to the FBI involved in both assaults, spurious warrants 
seeking “illegal weapons” utilized on both occasions, predawn timing of 
both raids to catch the Panthers asleep and a reliance on overwhelming 
police firepower to the exclusion of all other methods.”

Two days after the raid in Los Angeles, J. Edgar Hoover was unhappy with 
a lack of action in Omaha. Hoover sent a stern memorandum to Special 
Agent in Charge Paul Young. 
“ As long as there are BPP activities, you should be giving 
consideration to that type of counterintelligence measure which would 
best disrupt existing activities. It would appear some type of 
counterintelligence aimed at disruption of the publication and 
distribution of their literature is in order. It is also assumed that of 
the eight to twelve members, one or two must surely be in a position of 
leadership. You should give consideration to counterintelligence 
measures directed against these leaders in an effort to weaken or 
destroy their positions. Bureau has noted you have not submitted any 
concrete counterintelligence proposals in recent months. Evaluate your 
approach to this program and insure that it is given the imaginative 
attention necessary to produce effective results. Handle promptly and 
submit your proposals to the Bureau for approval.”

Hoover’s command to be “imaginative” and “effective”has to be understood 
in the context of the shootings in Los Angeles and Chicago during that 
same week. Young would respond eight months later with his own lethal 
solution, the electric chair. After an Omaha policeman was killed in a 
bombing in August 1970 the FBI assisted the Omaha police in making a 
case against Ed Poindexter 
and David Rice 
(later Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa 
Prosecutors sought the death penalty against the two men who were 
convicted after a controversial trial in April 1971. The FBI Laboratory 
withheld a report on the identity of an anonymous 911 caller who lured 
police into a trap letting a policeman’s killer get away with murder in 
order to convict Mondo and Poindexter. Mondo died in 2016 at the 
Nebraska State Penitentiary. Poindexter remains confined forty-nine 
years later at the maximum-security prison serving a life without parole 

The FBI war against the Black Panthers was the Bureau’s top priority 
under COINTELPRO and misdeeds and crimes were committed by FBI agents in 
dozens of cities until the secret program was terminated in April 1971 
after the break-in of an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania. Although the 
war week stands out for its violence, in reality illegal 
counterintelligence operations were carried out all over the country 
every day under COINTELRO directives from Hoover.

/This article contains excerpts from/ FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, 
COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two story 
print edition at /Amazon 
in /ebook 
Portions of the book may be read free online at /NorthOmahaHistory.com 
/The book is also available to patrons of the Omaha Public Library./

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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