Omaha community activist Walter Brooks is calling for justice for two imprisoned Black Panther leaders. Brooks is speaking out in behalf of Edward Poindexter and Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice) who were convicted for the April 17, 1970 bombing murder of Patrolman Larry Minard, Sr. The two men in prison were leaders of the Nebraska chapter of the Black Panthers called the National Committee to Combat Fascism.
Brooks says, “COINTELPRO mowed them down with Nazi efficiency.”
J. Edgar Hoover, then director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, oversaw a massive, clandestine counterintelligence operation codenamed COINTELPRO that targeted domestic political activists for dirty tricks to “disrupt” their efforts. Hoover oversaw the counterintelligence actions against thousands of individuals from 1956 to 1971, when the program was formally abandoned. The Black Panther Party came to be the principal COINTELPRO target and Hoover went after Black Panther leaders all over the country.
Hoover had been hounding Paul Young, the FBI Special Agent-in-Charge in Omaha, to get Poindexter and Mondo off the streets. In a December 10, 1969 counterintelligence memorandum, Hoover told Young he needed to produce results and get “imaginative” against the Black Panthers. Half a year later when Minard was killed, Paul Young sprang to action and took over the investigation into the identity of the 911 caller who lured Minard to his death. Young told FBI Crime Laboratory director Ivan Willard Conrad to not issue a laboratory report on a recording of the 911 call. Hoover concurred and ordered Conrad to not issue a written report.
Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa were convicted without the jury ever hearing the voice of a killer, the 911 caller. Although the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for Mondo because of an illegal search of his house, Mondo never got his day in court because of a procedural limitation on the appeal rights of state prisoners in the decision Stone v. Powell by the United States Supreme Court.
Walter Brooks says the trial court was manipulated by COINTELPRO actions, including the withholding of the FBI lab report. Brooks says that modern judges need to relook at past mistakes of the courts in order to have a just society. Brooks is now seeking help for the Omaha Two to gain a new trial and is reaching out around the country exploring justice resources.
“All these guys need is another day in court and these cases fly out the window,” Brooks said. “It's never allowing them to get back into court that keeps them chained till death.”
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