August 18, 2011 by Michael Richardson , COINTELPRO Examiner
Forty-one years ago on August 17, 1970, a couple of hours after midnight, a 29 year-old police officer, Larry Minard, Sr., was murdered Officer Minard was killed by an ambush bomb, while responding to a 911 call about a woman screaming.
The father of five young children was one of eight Omaha, Nebraska policemen lured to a vacant house where death waited in a bobby-trapped suitcase. Officer Minard was killed instantly when the suitcase he was examining exploded in his face.
Almost immediately the homicide investigation began leaving the young policeman’s body lying in the blast debris for several hours while crime scene personnel searched for clues.
In the morning a task force codenamed Operation Domino was convened to coordinate the investigation. A week-long sweep soon began that would yield approximately 60 arrests as police sought to catch Minard’s killer. Governor Norbert Tiemann offered use of the State Patrol.
Investigators from the Division of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation in aiding the Omaha police. The entire city was on notice that the crime would not go unpunished.
But unknown to the uniformed officers searching the Near North Side for suspects, Paul Young, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Omaha FBI office was not interested in apprehending Minard’s killer or killers. Instead, Young would propose to Assistant Chief of Police Glen Gates that the Black Panther leadership be charged with the crime.
Paul Young had been under pressure from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to get the Panther leaders off the streets. Hoover was secretly directing a massive clandestine counterintelligence operation called COINTELPRO against domestic political targets he considered dangerous and had sent a series of memorandums to Young demanding results.
The only trouble with the FBI plan was the 911 recording of the killer’s voice which was not that of either Edward Poindexter or Mondo we Langa (then David Rice) the two Panthers targeted by Young. To get the incriminating tape recording out of the way Young convinced Gates to send the 911 recording to the FBI crime laboratory in Washington, D.C. for analysis.
However, Young requested no laboratory report be prepared and that test results be phoned to him only. When Ivan Willard Conrad, head of the FBI lab, got the tape and unusual request to not issue a report about the killer of a policeman he talked with J. Edgar Hoover over the phone about the tape from Omaha.
Hoover gave the okay to withhold a report on the identity of Minard’s killer which Conrad noted in a handwritten entry on the COINTELPRO memorandum which he initialed and dated, the only written record thus far released of Hoover’s treachery.
Larry Minard was buried the next day on what would have been his thirtieth birthday.
The jury that convicted Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa, now known as the Omaha Two, of the killing never got to hear the voice of the killer who made the murderous call.
The tape suppressed by Hoover was eventually destroyed by the Omaha Police Department. However, years later a copy, made by a dispatcher, surfaced and in 2007 was the subject of a post-trial hearing. A leading forensic audiologist, Tom Owen, testified the killer‘s identify caught on the 911 tape remains unknown,
Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa, denied a new trial, continue to deny any role in the bombing but remain imprisoned at the Nebraska State Penitentiary serving life sentences.
For more information about the Omaha Two click HERE