Forty-eight years ago this week, I was there only hours after Black Panther Fred Hampton, 21 and Mark Clark, 22 were murdered by Chicago Police in conjunction with the FBI.
My editors called me at 3.a.m to go to Hampton’s Westside flat because they knew I knew him. He was not dangerous, not as nearly as dangerous as Trump’s militant gun toting terrorists of today.
The Panthers operated free feeding programs and medical care for the needy. When I arrived they had just carried out Hampton and Clark’s body, and taken Hampton’s wife, who was pregnant with Hampton Jr. to an unknown location.
There was blood on the floor and at least 100 bullets were all in the walls, the floor. While most papers reported only the police side that they were engaged in a violent gunbattle with the Panthers, from a police source, I continued with the story that this was a shoot-in, not a shoot out. I was at Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Push headquarters when Bobby Rush, a Panther turned himself in, at Operation Push headquarters to ward against his own assassination. I was in my 20s then and I thought Ed Hanrahan and the police who murdered Hampton and Clark would be charged with murder and imprisoned.
That never happen and as I saw police involved assassinations continue, watched the police involved murder of Dr. King—this was the conclusion of a civil trial in Memphis–. There was also an FBI Cointel Program to dismantle radical groups.
When I see those who murdered Travon Martin, Eric Grant, Brionna Taylor, 12-year-old Tamir Rice, Elijah McClain and so many others, we need someone who can relate deeply to our experience with police. I quickly say I am not ANTI- police at all, but I do know we must have trusted people as Attorney General. Hazel EdneyDorine BetheaHamil Harris