Saturday, October 30, 2010

Prison interview with Ed Poindexter on COINTELPRO and the Omaha Police

Oct. 28, 2010 by Michael Richardson

Ed Poindexter is serving a life sentence at the Nebraska State Penitentiary for the 1970 murder of an Omaha policeman. Poindexter’s co-defendant, Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice) has also been imprisoned 40 years. Both men were leaders of the Black Panthers in Omaha and targets of the clandestine Operation COINTELPRO and deny any involvement in the killing.

Federal Bureau of Investigation director J. Edgar Hoover conducted a massive, illegal and secret war on domestic political activists codenamed COINTELPRO that targeted thousands of groups and individuals around the nation for years. Hoover went after the Black Panthers with lethal ferocity.

Hoover had been pressuring the Omaha FBI office to get the Panther leadership off the streets for nearly a year before the August 1970 bombing death of Larry Minard. Poindexter had been targeted for harassment and had been the victim of a slanderous anonymous phone call campaign by FBI agents, the target of anonymous letters, and constant surveillance before the death of Minard gave Hoover his chance to pin the crime on the two Panthers.

Hoover ordered the withholding of evidence, a FBI crime lab report on the identity of the 911 caller that lured Minard to his death, and the jury that convicted Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa never got to hear the voice of the killer nor did they know anything about the COINTELRO crimes committed by the FBI agents.

Ed Poindexter tells what it was like as a COINTELPRO target.

“Part of the COINTELPRO project was to harass party members around the clock, seven days a week. Never let up, try to break us or cause us to snap or drop out under the pressure, or start shooting at them to give them a reason to shoot at us. But they didn’t need a reason because there were forty-some members killed nationwide.”

“At no time not a single day went by that the police didn’t threaten to kill us. I can remember always keeping in the back of my mind be careful about what you eat, what you drink, who prepares it. Fred Hampton was drugged. Where I spent the nights to lay my head and sleep, I would be careful not to be at the same place every night, to be so predictable that they could pull that same stunt on me.”

“What I did was establish myself about a half-dozen crash pads and every night I would sleep at a different place and every week I would alter them around so they couldn’t establish a pattern.”

“One of the hottest and muggy Augusts I can recall was in 1969. I’d left headquarters on 24th Street but decided to vary my usual route to my mother’s house. Since it was unusually quiet that evening in terms of police harassment, I decided to walk north on 24th Street instead of cutting through alley ways as usual. As I got two blocks away from headquarters a cop car cruised by and looked at me with surprise. I instantly knew there was going to be some stuff, pity the soul caught alone on a side street with no witnesses. What was going to happen was they would shoot me or beat me senseless.”

“About half way up the street I looked back to see the patrol car screech around the corner in pursuit of me. I ducked between two houses and cut through an alley. This left me about a half-block from home. Out of immediate sight, I heard the patrol car halt, the door open and slam shut, and the familiar but frightening sound of a riot pump shotgun lock and load.”

“I waited for the cops to pass. Moments later the patrol car cruised slowly past the house with its search light passing over the hedges and house. That was the longest ten seconds of my entire life.”

Permission granted to reprint

Write: Ed Poindexter, #27-767, P.O. Box 2500, Lincoln, NE 68542

1 comment:

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall said...

I can sure identify with the 24/7 phone harassment and stalking. I also experienced break-ins - and several attempts to kill (or seriously injure me) - mainly with vehicles. In my case it related to the occupation of an abandoned school in Seattle to convert it to an African American Museum (1985-2002). I write about this in my recent memoir THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY ACT: MEMOIR OF AN AMERICAN REFUGEE ( I currently live in exile in New Zealand.