Fifth Estate # 54, May 16-31, 1968

Indict Cops

A Federal indictment was returned May 3 charging three suspended Detroit cops and a private guard with violating the civil rights of ten persons during last summer’s uprising.

Included among those whose civil rights were violated were two of three black youths shot to death by the cops at the Algiers motel.

Named were Patrolman Ronald August, Robert Paille, and David Senak and the guard, Melvin Dismukes.

The indictments were returned under a Reconstruction era law which makes it illegal to deprive a person of his civil rights.

The unusual thing about the indictments is that the Federal government usually only begins prosecutions under this law when it feels justice is not possible in a state court such as when the state of Mississippi refused to bring charges against the Klansmen responsible for the 1964 deaths of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner.

August is awaiting trial on the charge of murdering Aubrey Pollard, one of the dead youths. Paille was charged with the slaying of Fred Temple. but charges were dropped against him by Recorder’s Court Judge Demascio. Later, the charges were reinstated by Judge Geraldine Ford.

Temple’s mother has begun a million dollar damage suit against Paille for the death of her son. He, Pollard, and a third youth Carl Cooper were shot at least twice at close range with a 12 gauge shotgun while in a kneeling or lying position.

August claims he shot in self-defense.

Sue Cops

A $265,000 lawsuit against the U.S. Government has been filed in Federal court in the death last July of a four-year-old west-side girl and the wounding of her aunt when their apartment building came under attack by national guardsmen during the Detroit uprising.

Attorneys for Mrs. June Blanding, mother of Tanya Blanding, and Mr. and Mrs. William Hood, aunt and uncle of the dead girl, charge the government with negligence in the shooting-death.

The Blanding girl died of massive hemorrhaging after a bullet pierced her lung during the withering fire from a tank-mounted-.50 caliber machine gun. One of the bullets, reportedly fired because guardsmen believed snipers were hiding in the building, struck Mrs. Hood’s arm, nearly severing it between the elbow and shoulder.

The shooting occurred in the early morning hours of July 26 as the Blandings and the Hoods huddled on the floor of their apartment building, located at 12th and Euclid. When one of the men lit a cigarette the guardsmen opened fire, later explaining that they mistook the match flare for a flash of a sniper’s rifle.

Bust Panthers

Oakland, Calif. April 29—(SCN, LNS)—Oakland Police and Alameda County Grand Jury, backed up by Oakland Mayor Redding, continue their concerted effort to smash the leadership of the Black Panther Party.

On April 24 the Alameda County Grand Jury indicated all the Black Panthers involved in the fracas with police, April 6 that resulted in the murder of Panther Bobby Hutton. Each Panther was charged with attempted-murder.

Eldridge Cleaver, one of those indicted, pointed out after the indictment that all the weapons that police claim were found at the scene of Hutton’s killing were actually found in the locked trunk of a Panther’s car several miles away from the scene.

Cleaver also told a reporter from a San Francisco newspaper, “I was never armed because Huey Newton had laid down orders that as a parolee I should not be armed. Cleaver is currently in prison without trial for violation of his parole.

In reference to the accusation that Oakland police had murdered Bobby Hutton, Cleaver said, “Before we came out of the house, I took Bobby’s gun and threw it out and the police saw me throw it out.

Then the cops told us to start running toward a squad car. Bobby started running. He ran about 10 yards. And they started shooting him. I heard about twelve shots; it was hard to tell for sure. He had his hands high in the air until he died.”

The Black Panther Party, through their attorney, Charles Gary, has filed a federal injunction against the Mayor of Oakland and the Oakland Police Chief, and the group of cops involved in the killing. The charge: murder.