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Omaha World-Herald photo disproves police account in Omaha Two COINTELPRO case

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A photographer for the Omaha World-Herald snapped a photo of Mondo we Langa (then David Rice) as he surrendered to authorities on August 28, 1970. Mondo was wanted in connection with the bombing murder of Patrolman Larry Minard, Sr.

Because Mondo we Langa was voluntarily surrendering he was not placed in handcuffs while in public. The newspaper photo shows Mondo waiting for an elevator while surrounded by police. Mondo’s hands are deep in his pants pockets. The picture is significant because moments later Mondo was stripped of his clothes and his hands swabbed for traces of explosives. The hand swab was negative for dynamite.

However, at trial a chemist for Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Division, Kenneth Snow, testified he found dynamite particles in Mondo’s pants pockets. If Snow was telling the truth then someone powdered Mondo’s pockets with dynamite particles after he had his hands in them or he would have tested positive on the hand swab test.

Police reports state that after Mondo’s clothing was removed, a representative of ATF took custody of the garments. ATF agent Thomas Sledge earlier transported Ed Poindexter’s clothing and other evidence to Washington, D.C. for testing at the ATF Laboratory. Sledge was the brother of James Sledge, one of the patrolmen who responded to the MInard murder scene. Deputy Chief of Police Glen Gates accompanied Thomas Sledge on the trip to Washington, D.C. on Aug. 25, 1970. An ATF chemist said dynamite particles were found in Poindexter’s shirt pocket.

Gates was already conspiring with FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Paul Young to withhold a FBI Laboratory report on the identity of the 911 caller who lured Minard to his death. Young had been under orders from J Edgar Hoover, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to get “imaginative” against Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa. Hoover had targeted Black Panther leaders all over the country in a clandestine counterintelligence operation code-named COINTELPRO.

Glen Gates had two subordinate officers, Lt. James Perry and Sgt. Jack Swanson, who stored dynamite outside of the police evidence locker at a private quarry in Iowa. Perry is not to be trusted about the case according to U.S. District Judge Warren Urbom who said it was “impossible” for him to believe Perry’s testimony. Swanson, who claimed at trial he found dynamite in Mondo we Langa’s basement, was the FBI liaison for the police department. Either man could have supplied Gates with a small vial of dynamite particles from their cache in Iowa to sprinkle on clothing.

Mondo we Langa did not surrender until Aug. 28, 1970, three days after Gates and Sledge travelled together. It is not known from available records who transported Mondo’s clothing to the ATF Laboratory for testing.

It will likely be never known who powdered Mondo’s pants pockets with dynamite particles. One thing is clear however, the Omaha World-Herald photo establishes that the pockets were clean when Mondo surrendered.

For further information see CRIME MAGAZINE

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