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Related Categories: U.S. | Police State & Prisons
50 yrs ago: Confessed bomber names Raleigh House as provocateur at Ed Poindexter's trial
by Michael Richardson, reposted by Jamal Journal
Monday Apr 5th, 2021 11:57 PM
Reprinted below with permission from the author is the second in a series of articles marking the 50th anniversary of Black Panther political prisoner Ed Poindexter’s trial. Ed is currently in very poor health. We will continue to feature Michael Richardson’s important series of articles this month. The Jamal Journal’s April 1 interview with author Michael Richardson marked the first article in Richardson’s critical series. The second article in the series is reprinted here in full.
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 Fifty years ago, April 5, 1971 marked the second week of testimony in the controversial murder trial of Edward Poindexter and David Rice (later Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa) charged with the bombing death of Patrolman Larry Minard. Confessed bomber sixteen year-old Duane Peak testified that Raleigh House, the treasurer of the National Committee to Combat Fascism, drove him to pick up the dynamite and suitcase used to construct the deadly device. However, House had an out in the prosecutor’s office, Deputy County Attorney Arthur O’Leary, and only spent one night in jail and was never charged in Minard’s murder.

Peak testified that he went with House to his home. “Rollie parked his car and went in the house and told me to wait.”

Peak said he waited about fifteen minutes until Raleigh returned to the car. “Rollie came from behind the house with a suitcase. He brought it out to the car and put it in the back seat. It was a large suitcase and it was gray.”

“We went down to the street behind David’s house….Rollie instructed me to take the suitcase over to the back door of David’s house….I knocked on the door and Edward Poindexter came from around the side of the house, and David opened the back door.”

“Ed set the suitcase on the floor and opened it.”

“There were sticks of dynamite.”

Another version Peak earlier told police had Raleigh House bring the suitcase out the front door instead of from the back. The discrepancy was not explored by defense attorneys.

House’s first appearance in the case was when he was picked up in the week after the August 17, 1970 bombing during a police dragnet of the Near Northside. Raleigh House was released from jail on a signature bond authorized by Arthur O’Leary after one night in custody. House had been held with $10,000 bail after being booked on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder. O’Leary would not comment on House’s release.

The preferential treatment of Raleigh House and lack of prosecution for supplying the suitcase and dynamite to Duane Peak suggests House was an informant. Mondo later wrote about House. “Of course, it’s possible he was an informant. I haven’t given that much thought, he was one of four people who could have been charged.” The four people mentioned by Mondo were Raleigh House, Donald Peak, Jr., Robert Cecil, and Frank Peak.

Raleigh House was well known by Omaha police and his name came up in Congressional testimony by Captain Murdock Platner in October 1970. Iowa Representative William Scherle asked Platner if he was familiar with House.

“Yes, sir; he is the treasurer, the original treasurer of the Black Panther Party, and he is the minister of finance in this National Committee to Combat Fascism at this time.” Platner failed to mention that Duane Peak had identified House as the supplier of the dynamite and suitcase for the bomb that killed a policeman.

Neither Duane Peak, who admitted planting the bomb in a vacant house, nor Raleigh House, who Peak said gave him the bomb-making supplies, were prosecuted for murder. Peak got off with a couple of years in juvenile detention and House only did a single night during the dragnet. Ed Poindexter, who denies any role in the crime, was sentenced along with Mondo to life imprisonment at hard labor.

Mondo died at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in March 2016. Ed Poindexter remains at the maximum security prison, now in his fiftieth year of incarceration. Poindexter has a commutation of sentence request pending with the Nebraska Pardon Board, however the chairman is Governor Pete Ricketts who says Poindexter needs to wait for a hearing next year because the panel must first hear restoration of rights requests from former prisoners.

More information on Ed Poindexter is available in the book FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two story, in print edition at Amazon and in ebook format. Portions of the book may also be read free online at NorthOmahaHistory.comThe book is also available to patrons of the Omaha Public Library.

§Book written by Michael Richardson
by Michael Richardson, reposted by Jamal Journal
Monday Apr 5th, 2021 11:57 PM
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§Billboard created by Black Votes Matter
by Michael Richardson, reposted by Jamal Journal
Monday Apr 5th, 2021 11:57 PM
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§April 1 interview with Michael Richardson
by The Jamal Journal
Tuesday Apr 6th, 2021 12:02 AM
50 Years of Injustice: Free Black Panther Political Prisoner Ed Poindexter Now! --An interview with author Michael Richardson 1

Ed Poindexter is in poor health! Every day counts! Please take action here.

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Fifty Years of Injustice: Free Black Panther Political Prisoner Ed Poindexter Now! --An interview with author Michael Richardson

Written by the Jamal Journal

Investigative journalist Michael Richardson is the author of the 2018 book Framed: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & The Omaha Two Story. Richardson's Feb. 5, 2021 article "Black Votes Matter Asks Nebraska Pardon Board to Release Former Black Panther Ed Poindexter," was published in the first issue of the Jamal Journal newspaper. In a new article published today, Richardson writes:

"Fifty years ago, April 1, 1971, was the opening day of the Patrolman Larry Minard murder trial in Omaha, Nebraska. Prosecutor Arthur O’Leary, Deputy Douglas County Attorney, used the opening statement to tell the jury false information. Co-defendants Edward Poindexter and David Rice (later Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa) were Black Panther leaders, officers in the local National Committee to Combat Fascism. O’Leary sought the death penalty in Nebraska’s electric chair for the two men who had been subjects of a year-long harassment campaign by the Omaha Police Department. Officer Minard was killed on August 17, 1970 when a bomb exploded at a vacant house where he and other policemen were searching for a screaming woman as reported by an anonymous 911 caller. The Black Panthers were blamed for the crime and the two leaders charged with murder. The bomb had been planted at the vacant house by a fifteen year old Panther wannabe, Duane Peak."

(Read the full article here.)

In our interview conducted earlier this week, author Michael Richardson discusses the role of the FBI's infamous COINTELPRO in the frameup of the Omaha Two and provides an important update on Ed Poindexter's urgent health situation. Richardson also explains how you can help Ed Poindexter, an elder in poor health who is a 50-year victim of an obvious and well documented COINTELPRO frameup. We highly recommend reading Michael Richardson's book to learn more about this extreme injustice that needs to end immediately. Free Ed Poindexter now!

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Jamal Journal:  When did you first hear about the case of the Omaha 2? 

Michael Richardson:  I lived in Omaha, went to high school and college there. I was also a VISTA volunteer in Omaha and came to be friends with David Rice, later Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa, who was convicted along with Edward Poindexter of murdering a police officer. I attended the 1971 trial.  

This case of injustice has haunted me all my adult life.

Jamal Journal:  Why did you decide to start researching and writing about the case?

Michael Richardson:  At the trial they made it seem like the two men, Black Panther leaders, were guilty. I wondered about their innocence for thirty-five years and one day wrote to my old friend Mondo in prison. He didn't even remember me. I guess he was a bigger person in my life than I was in his. Anyway, he wrote back and said if I was interested in learning about his case the only rule was to follow the truth.

Ten years of research and writing later, I was able to publish FRAMED: The J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO, and the Omaha Two story.

Jamal Journal:  Through your research, what role did you find that COINTELPRO played in their case?

Michael Richardson:  I had never heard of COINTELPRO until I started digging into the story. I guess I was too busy with other things when it was revealed. Needless to say, I was shocked to learn what I had missed.  

The size and scope of the clandestine counterintelligence operation was huge. By the time of the Omaha case, forty percent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation budget went to support the secret agenda of Director J. Edgar Hoover.  

In the Omaha case, Hoover ordered the FBI Laboratory to withhold a report on the identify of an anonymous 911 caller who lured Patrolman Larry Minard to his death. Hoover's priority was to destroy the Black Panthers, not catch police killers. The COINTELPRO tampering with the murder investigation and trial are well documented in once-secret FBI memoranda.

Jamal Journal:  We are saddened to hear that Ed Poindexter is in such poor health. What is the latest news in Ed's case?

Ed Poindexter:  My friend Mondo died in prison in March 2016. Ed Poindexter, whom I have come to know from prison visits and correspondence, is indeed in poor health. 

A half-century in prison has taken a heavy toll on Ed's health. Ed is a very private person who does not seek sympathy from anyone. Mr. Poindexter is a proud man and what he seeks is justice. Presently Ed has a pending application to the Board of Pardons to consider a commutation of sentence.  

However, the three-member panel, consisting of the Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State, infrequently meets and are planning on reviewing dozens of pardon requests to restore rights of persons already released from jail before they take up Ed's case.  

Simply put, they want him to die in prison.

Jamal Journal:  What are the different ways that our readers can support Ed?

Michael Richardson:  Ed likes to get mail.  His health, vision, etc. are such that he does not answer many people but he still likes to hear from the outside world. His mailing address is:

Edward Poindexter #27767

Nebraska State Penitentiary

P.O. Box 22500

Lincoln, NE 68542

People can call or write the Board of Pardons to request them to adopt a more reasonable and responsible approach to their priority scheme during this time of the Covid virus which is raging through America's prisons and hear commutation requests before pardons.

The Board of Pardons is composed of Governor Pete Ricketts, Attorney General Doug Peterson and Secretary of State Robert Evnen, Nebraska Board of Pardons, PO Box 95007, Lincoln, Nebraska, 68509, Phone (402) 540-2906 or Email ne.pardonsboard@nebraska.gov.

Jamal Journal:  What is the best way for our readers to learn more about your book and to read your articles about the case?

Michael Richardson:  More information on Ed Poindexter is available in my book FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two story, in print edition at Amazon and in ebook format.  Portions of the book may also be read free online at NorthOmahaHistory.com.  The book is also available to patrons of the Omaha Public Library.

Jamal Journal:  Anything else to add for the interview?

Michael Richardson:  Ed's COINTELPRO tainted trial was fifty years ago.  To most people that is ancient history, for many that was before they were even born.  Yet for Ed, caged to the past, the prison experience is a fresh new shock every time he wakes up, every time an order is given, every time he is told what to do or where to go.  Ed told me during one visit, “You never get used to it.”

For Ed Poindexter the past is his present, let us all help to give him a future with freedom. It is long past time to end this wrongful imprisonment.

--The Jamal Journal is published by the uncompromising International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Visit www.jamaljournal.com to learn more about our website and newspaper.

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(Click on the flyer to view a larger version.)

§April 1 article by Michael Richardson (reprinted with permission)
by Michael Richardson, reposted by Jamal Journal
Tuesday Apr 6th, 2021 12:09 AM
Fifty years ago, April 1, 1971: An Omaha prosecutor told falsehood to jury about Black Panther leader Ed Poindexter in murder trial opening statement

Written by Michael Richardson

 Fifty years ago, April 1, 1971, was the opening day of the Patrolman Larry Minard murder trial in Omaha, Nebraska. Prosecutor Arthur O’Leary, Deputy Douglas County Attorney, used the opening statement to tell the jury false information. Co-defendants Edward Poindexter and David Rice (later Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa) were Black Panther leaders, officers in the local National Committee to Combat Fascism. O’Leary sought the death penalty in Nebraska’s electric chair for the two men who had been subjects of a year-long harassment campaign by the Omaha Police Department.

Officer Minard was killed on August 17, 1970 when a bomb exploded at a vacant house where he and other policemen were searching for a screaming woman as reported by an anonymous 911 caller. The Black Panthers were blamed for the crime and the two leaders charged with murder. The bomb had been planted at the vacant house by a fifteen year old Panther wannabe, Duane Peak.

The murder trial opened at the Douglas County Courthouse where half a century earlier Will Brown was lynched after a mob stormed the building. The fifth-floor main courtroom was under tight security as visitors were searched before entering.

O’Leary explained to the jury the two men were “militants” and conspired to kill a policeman with a suitcase bomb. O’Leary said, “The evidence will show writings by the Defendant Poindexter and the Defendant Rice as to the political tenets and the aims of that particular party.”

O’Leary stressed the case would depend largely on the testimony of confessed teen-age bomber Duane Peak. O’Leary said that Peak’s testimony would be verified through the statements of other prosecution witnesses along with scientific evidence. As O’Leary summarized Peak’s story for the jury he told how Raleigh House supplied the suitcase for the bomb, adding that Poindexter was present when House picked up the suitcase. “As a matter of fact, Duane Peak…was driven by a Rollie House with Mr. Poindexter to another residence.”

However, Peak’s testimony would contradict O’Leary as Peak claimed only he and Raleigh House went together for the suitcase and dynamite. Public Defender Frank Morrison, a retired politician and rusty in a courtroom, never required O’Leary to explain the discrepancy after Peak’s testimony failed to implicate Poindexter in the acquisition of bomb-making supplies.

O’Leary’s false statement that Poindexter collected bomb-making supplies with Duane Peak and Raleigh House is a bitter irony. Poindexter was sentenced to life in prison, where he still is caged fifty years later; while House spent one night in jail and was never prosecuted for providing the suitcase and explosive; and Peak, who planted the bomb, served a couple of years in juvenile detention and never spent a single night in prison.

Was O’Leary’s false charge to the jury against Poindexter a slip of the tongue that he failed to correct or a deliberate falsehood? O’Leary’s conduct during the police investigation deprives him of the benefit of the doubt when he announced, in front of a court reporter, that the truth did not matter.

One of Duane Peak’s interrogations was actually a deposition where O’Leary browbeat the sixteen year-old Peak. In a post-trial hearing O’Leary said he couldn’t remember what he told Peak but did concede he asked some poor questions. The transcript tells an ugly story about O’Leary’s little regard for the truth.

O’Leary to Peak: “I want to go over it once again. As a practical matter, it doesn’t make any difference what the truth is concerning you at all.”

O’Leary continued his attempt to extract information: “It doesn’t hurt you one bit to tell me the rest, if there is any more.”

“You realize now that it doesn’t make any difference whether you did or didn’t. That doesn’t really make one bit of difference at all at this stage of the game but I want to make sure concerning somebody else that might have been involved. Because you see what it amounts to, Duane, is that eventually you are going to have to testify about everything you said here and it isn’t going to make one bit of difference whether or not you leave out one fact or not, as far as you are concerned.”

Ed Poindexter, in poor health, is imprisoned at the maximum security Nebraska State Penitentiary where he continues to maintain his innocence. Poindexter has a commutation of sentence request pending before the Nebraska Board of Pardons although the Board has announced it will hear pardon requests from ex-prisoners seeking restoration of rights before considering the case of Poindexter and other prisoners seeking commutation. The Board policy flies in the face of Covid virus recommendations to reduce inmate populations.

Co-defendant David Rice was also convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Rice later changed his name to Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa, made up from four different African languages. Mondo died at the prison in March 2016.

A citizen campaign to urge the Pardon Board to commute Poindexter’s sentence to time served is underway and has held news conferences, paid for a billboard campaign, had a march and prayer vigil, and demonstrated at the home of Governor Pete Ricketts who chairs the Board.

This article is excerpted from FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two story, in print edition at Amazon and available in ebook. Portions of the book may be read free online at NorthOmahaHistory.comThe book is also available to patrons of the Omaha Public Library.

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