Thursday, December 03, 2009
40th Anniversary Of The Raid On Chicago’s Black Panthers
Chicago, IL—It was a very cold morning at 04:45 hours on 4 December 1969 when 14 Chicago cops assigned to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office executed a search warrant on a filthy premises at 2337 West Monroe.
The officers were looking for a large stockpile of weapons including three shotguns stolen from the Chicago Police Department, three highly illegal sawed-off shotguns and some 50,000 rounds of ammunition. That intelligence information was provided to police by a BPP associate who was cooperating.
Officers were rightly concerned they were being led into a deadly trap and took all necessary precautions to insure their own safety. This was a period before SWAT teams and police body armor were part of law enforcement resources.
The officers carried their service revolvers. In addition five carried 12 gauge Shotguns. Officer James Davis had a .30 caliber carbine and Officer Joe Gorman carried a .45 Thompson submachine gun also known, as the Chicago Typewriter.
Before the sun would rise, two men, Black Panther Party Chairman, Fred Hampton of Maywood and another BPP official from Peoria, Mark Clark were dead. Four other occupants of the large two-bedroom apartment were wounded
Hampton was a violent thug who was out on a appeal bond following a conviction and prison sentence for robbing an ice cream vendor in Maywood. Today the bail laws have changed and Hampton would have been kept safe behind bars where he belonged.
The Black Panther Party was founded in 1966 in Oakland, CA by several radical Communists including, Eldridge "Soul On Ice" Cleaver and Bobby “Burn Baby Burn” Seal.
There was a Illinois chapter that was violent, heavily armed and dedicated to the murder of policemen and the overthrow of our nation. The Panthers had various alliances with the Students for a Democratic Society and numerous street gangs such as the Black Stone Rangers and Vice Lords.
The common and redundant slogans of The BPP included, “Kill The Pigs” and that infamous Maoist quote, “Political power flows from the barrel of a gun”.
The BPP murders of numerous police officers nationwide along with their constant verbal and written terrorist threats made it abundantly clear that the BPP was at war with America.
The defense minister of the BPP was current U.S. Congressman, Bobby Rush. It was several months before the December raid that Rush and two other BBP members were arrested after a wild shootout that left six wounded in Robbins, IL. The future (and present) Congressman was found to be carrying a loaded .45 ACP semi-automatic pistol in a shoulder holster when arrested.
In the raid's aftermath police seized 19 Panther weapons that included an Ithaca 12 guage shotgun, marked, “Property of the Chicago Police Dept.” reported stolen earlier from a police vehicle and a sawed off shotgun banned by federal and state law. Also included, were several of what they describe today as “assault weapons”.
The radical element came out in full support defending the dead and wound panthers. Police arrested all seven BPP survivors on various charges including Armed Violence and various weapons charges.
The Cook County Coroner conducted post-mortem examination on Hampton and Clark. Later charges would surface along with a mistaken toxicology report that indicated Hampton had ingested sleeping pills and was asleep at the time of death. That was later thoroughly debunked as BPP race-baiting propaganda.
Aside from a Blue Ribbon Coroner’s investigation, a Chicago Police Internal Investigation there were no less than five unofficial parallel investigations groups including Renault Robinson and Howard Saffold’s Afro-American Patrolman’s Association.
There were two additional official investigations. One was the Federal Grand Jury investigation looking into possible civil rights violations against the BPP members. They declined to charge officers suggesting the 14 police officers were victimized by a political climate of “police persecution”. The Grand Jury also criticized the propaganda and fundraising done by the radicals to celebrate the heroic martyrdom of Hampton and Clark.
The next investigation was conducted by a private lawyer, Barnabas F. Sears who was appointed as a special prosecutor by Presiding Cook County Circuit Court Criminal Judge, Joseph A. Power. Sears was able to indict the 14 policemen along with the sitting States Attorney, Edward V. Hanrahan and Lt. John Meade for a multitude of offenses including Obstruction of Justice and Official misconduct. Mead was a lawyer as well as a Chicago cop.
The Panther related litigation lasted for decades. All criminal charges against the surviving BPP members and law enforcement officials were dropped in a bizarre simultaneous ending. Apparently the surviving Panthers, cops and prosecutors entered into an obvious quid pro-quo agreement.