Monday, September 27, 2010

Larry Minard was the policeman betrayed by J. Edgar Hoover to frame Omaha Two

September 24th, 2010
by Michael Richardson

Omaha police officer Larry Minard was murdered by an ambush bomb on August 17, 1970. Minard and seven other patrol officers were responding to an anonymous phone call about a woman screaming at a vacant house.

The 29 year-old policeman was killed instantly when he examined a suitcase in the vacant dwelling. Minard was buried three days later on what would have been his 30th birthday with fellow officers serving as pallbearers. Three hundred Omaha policemen attended the funeral.

Minard had planned to go out and celebrate turning 30 with his wife Karen but instead was buried in Forest Lawn cemetery on his birthday. Minard’s children, ages 4 to 11, had already wrapped his birthday presents--gifts that Larry would never open.

Larry Minard, Jr. now proudly displays a tattoo of his father’s official police photo. Family members dutifully mark anniversaries, attend court sessions, and make media statements when Minard’s death is in the news.

Larry and Karen were married in 1958, the same year Minard joined the Navy. Serving on a destroyer tender, Minard made two long overseas trips before his discharge from the service in 1961.

Minard applied for the Nebraska State Patrol but missed the deadline by one day so he then applied for positions with both the Omaha Fire and the Omaha Police Departments. The police job opened up first and Larry put on the badge.

The day Larry Minard died, his boss Assistant Chief of Police Glen Gates and Special-Agent-in-Charge Paul Young of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, conspired to let the anonymous 911 caller that lured Minard to his death get away with murder.

J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, had been hounding Special Agent Young for months to get Black Panther leaders Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Longer (formerly David Rice) off the streets as part of the clandestine Operation COINTELPRO.

Young saw an opportunity to make a case against the two Panthers for the bombing but the unknown killer who made the 911 call stood in the way so a plan was hatched to send the 911 recording to Washington, D.C. where Hoover could intervene.

When Ivan Willard Conrad, the head of the FBI crime laboratory, got the tape and secret COINTELPRO memorandum from Omaha two days later he called Hoover to verify that he was to withhold a report on the identity of the 911 caller thus ending the search for Minard’s killer.

Hoover verified that no report was to be made on the 911 tape and that only oral information was to be shared with Paul Young at the Omaha FBI field office. Conrad noted his call with Hoover on the memo and initialed and dated it one day before Larry Minard was buried.

Hoover’s order held, the jury that convicted Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa never got to hear the voice of Minard’s killer. Nor did the jury know that the Omaha Two were targets of Hoover’s COINTELPRO program.

Larry Minard’s widow and children believe the official version of the crime. The awful truth that J. Edgar Hoover ordered the withholding of evidence about the identity of Minard’s killer didn’t come out until years later with the release of COINTELPRO documents and is too painful for the family to accept.

The Omaha Two, Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa, remain incarcerated at the maximum-security Nebraska State Penitentiary in their 40th year of imprisonment. Both men deny any involvement in Larry Minard’s death.

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