Former Omaha police lieutenant James Perry told a private investigator funded by Nebraskans for Justice that he pushed for the arrest of Ernie Chambers for the 1970 murder of policeman Larry Minard, Sr. A 2002 interview with Perry, conducted by Thomas Gorgen, was made public for the first time on Jan.7, 2014, at Examiner.com. Nebraskans for Justice is a grassroots group formed to help the Omaha Two, Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice), obtain justice.
Nebraska State Senator Chambers scoffs at suggestions he was involved in the bombing murder of Minard and has been the most vocal champion of the Omaha Two, who are serving life sentences at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln. The imprisoned pair were leaders of Omaha’s Black Panther affiliate chapter and targets of COINTELPRO, a clandestine counterintelligence operation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The men’s trial was tainted by COINTELPRO manipulation of evidence and also marred by conflicting police testimony.
James Perry maintained the FBI had no role in the investigation except in locating Duane Peak, the confessed bomber. “No they didn’t have anything to do with it. I take that back they did get an informant to tell where Peak was hiding out.”
J. Edgar Hoover had targeted Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa, so Omaha Special Agent-in-Charge Paul Young carried out a secret plan to withhold a report from the FBI Laboratory on the identity of the 911 caller who lured officer Minard to his death in a vacant house. However, Young’s plan to get the Omaha Two convicted for the crime needed the help of local police.
U.S. District Court Judge Warren Urbom has cautioned listening to Lt. Perry on the case and explained in detail why he does not trust what Perry had to say in a published court decision in Mondo’s appeal.
“Given these facts I simply cannot credit this testimony of Lt. Perry,” declared Urbom. “On the basis of the entire record before this court and having heard and seen Lt. Perry testify, it is impossible for me to credit his testimony in the respects mentioned. “
James Perry is now deceased. During his 2002 tape-recorded interview, Perry said he believed Ernie Chambers was behind the killing.
“What you want to do is get Rice to talk and (unclear) Ernie Chambers,” said Perry. When asked if there was a connection between the two, Perry was quick to answer. “Oh I know it is. He is the guy that turned him in.”
Perry described a large conspiracy to kill a policeman including all the Peak family and Raleigh House, treasurer of the Omaha Panther chapter, as well as Ernie Chambers. Perry said, “Tell Rice to start talking he’d get out of jail.”
“He doesn’t even have to show remorse. You know there is a lot of guys, the Raleigh House and Ernie Chambers and oh what is that other guys name, a couple of other guys, all friends, and some white gal and that whole bunch of them should have been there [prison],” said Perry.
“And they had a guy here in town before. You know they had other bombings before that,” said Perry. “I worked with Intelligence, me and Swanson,” Perry said referring to Jack Swanson who testified at trial that he found dynamite in Mondo’s basement. “At the time there was a guy by the name of Crutch Holiday from the Oakland Chapter of Black Panthers in town. First he went up to, he was in Des Moines and shortly after there they had a booby trapped suitcase, or not a suitcase but toolbox that was left under a interstate viaduct or something up there.” Perry added, “But the police were a little smarter than ours. They didn’t come up and kick it or anything.”
Jack Swanson, the Omaha police liaison with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, also had his mind on Ernie Chambers. Swanson added Chambers to a list he prepared of suspects for questioning.
Perry elaborated on his suspicions about Chambers. “And the first time I ever seen Ernie Chambers in my life other than we’ve had him under surveillance, and he was around that Black Panther Headquarters all the time but the first time I seen him in person is I went up to the Panther Headquarters there to interview Poindexter and I was talking to Poindexter and about that time here comes Ernie Chambers skidding to a stop and he advised him not to talk to us. And at that time Ernie Chambers was a Black Panther candidate for school board.”
Perry continued, “So if you connect all the dots the reason Rice is keeping quiet is cause he figures Ernie Chambers is going to pop him someday.”
Perry was asked what led the police to the Black Panther leadership. Perry replied sarcastically, “You would have to be a sap sucking idiot not to know who was responsible for the bombing you know.”
Perry told of a discussion he had with a prosecutor about prosecuting Chambers and others. “And I talked to Sam Cooper. I wanted him to charge them all.”
Perry closed the interview, “Yeah get Ernie Chambers…get him charged.”
Ernie Chambers continues to be a vocal defender of Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa. Both men remain imprisoned for a crime in which they both deny any involvement. Supporters of the Omaha Two call the men political prisoners.
For further information see CRIME MAGAZINE
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