Cleaver in Jail


Fifth Estate # 53, May 1-15, 1968

Berkeley, April 16—On April 12, six days after Eldridge Cleaver was wounded in the foot by Oakland cops during the gun battle that preceded the killing of Black Panther Bobby Hutton, he was ordered to prison for three years by the California Adult Authority. The charge: parole violation.

Before the night of April 6, Cleaver, gifted author and Minister of Information for the Black Panthers, was serving the last eight months of his parole from San Quentin Prison.

Because of his much applauded articulation of the Black- White coalition between the Panthers and the Peace and Freedom Party, Cleaver has attained high respect and a leadership position in the Black liberation struggle. Unless he receives significant national support from Blacks and Whites who are working for Black Liberation, Cleaver’s leadership will be restricted to nothing more than whatever can be smuggled from San Quentin, a high security prison.

Most important in this however, is the fact that a Black Panther has been jailed for three years for an incident involving extremely questionable activities on the part of the Oakland cops before either the incident or the police have been investigated. According to Kathleen Cleaver, Eldridge Cleaver’s wife and Secretary of Communications for the Panthers, the swift and arbitrary action by the parole board is unprecedented.

The Black Panthers and the Peace and Freedom Party agreed that Cleaver’s imprisonment is another attempt by the police to systematically intimidate and destroy the Black Panther Party by liquidating or jailing its leadership. A previous attempt to provoke Eldridge Cleaver to arms occurred Jan. 16, 1968 at 3:30 a.m. in Cleaver’s San Francisco home. San Francisco police, apparently without motive, broke down the door of Cleaver’s apartment and searched the apartment without a warrant. Eldridge, his wife Kathleen, and Panther revolutionary artist Emory Douglas were present. No one was booked.