Black Panthers in Chicago commemorated the first anniversary of the December 4th, 1969, police raid on an apartment in which two Panther leaders were killed.
Black Panthers in Chicago commemorated the first anniversary of the December 4th, 1969, police raid on an apartment in which two Panther leaders were killed. As the Panthers' supporters held several meetings on Friday (December 4) it was announced that a special County Grand Jury would be opening the third investigation into the shooting to be held during the year.
The first investigation was conducted by a Special Coroner's Jury which, after 12 days of hearings, ruled that the killings were justifiable homicide. The second, conducted by a Federal Grand Jury, lasted five months before adjourning in May without returning an indictment, although their report was critical of the police who carried out the raid. In pointed out that there were numerous conflicts between what police claimed and what evidence actually showed. One example was that police claimed they had been fired at from different rooms in the apartment -- by shot guns, rifles and pistols. But they did not produce evidence of bullet holes or shells to substantiate this claim. Only one bullet hole, one shell and one other projectile were found that could be directly attributed to the Panthers -- and this bullet was fired through the front door. Evidence shows that this one bullet was fired through the open door -- while police maintained it was fired as they crashed through the door.
In view of these -- and other -- discrepancies, the State Attorney dropped all charges against the Panthers for lack of evidence; but no indictments were made against the police.
As Black Panthers and their supporters met for the anniversary of the raid, they publicly ridiculed the past investigations and insisted that little would be gained from a new one. However, their case is weakened itself by the fact that survivors of the shooting have repeatedly refused to testify and it is not known if they will do so when the Grand Jury convenes next week.