Pigs Bust Panther Chairman


Fifth Estate # 87, September 4-17, 1969

This time it’s Bobby Seale.

With Eldridge in exile, and Huey in jail, the punk-ass power-structure has turned its racist wrath on the Black Panther Party Chairman. Seale’s troubles are simply the latest government attempt to crush the Panthers by ripping off their leaders and vamping on their headquarters.

Brother Seale was literally snatched from the streets of Berkeley, August 19, in a Gestapo-style arrest by 20 armed FBI agents. Now being held without bail on a variety of charges including murder, chairman Seale was already under indictment as a member of the Conspiracy—the 8 Movement figures who will soon come to trial on riot charges stemming from last year’s confrontation at the Democratic convention.

As a result of this most recent arrest Seale may face extradition to Connecticut on charges of murder, kidnapping and conspiracy in the death of Panther Alex Rackley.

Seale insists he knows nothing of the killing of New York Panther Rackley, and, in fact, had never met or seen the man. At the present time, 14 additional Panthers are awaiting trial on this same case.

On August 20, Seale was allowed to post $25,000 cash bond on a federal charge of “unlawful flight to avoid prosecution” only to be immediately re-arrested on the Connecticut charges.

When Seale was brought before San Francisco Municipal Court Judge John O’Kane for a preliminary hearing, it was learned that police there had not yet received a warrant for Seale’s arrest, but were holding him on the basis of a phone conversation between Connecticut authorities and the San Francisco district attorney’s office.

O’Kane refused to consider bail until August 25 when the Connecticut warrant was to arrive.

The entire hearing was marked by such blatant suspensions of justice as to defy belief. Panther minister of culture Emory Douglas was charged with Assault. He was leaning on the courtroom wall at the time.

Two white supporters of the Panthers were given fines and jail sentences for saying “Power to the people” in the courtroom. Chairman Seale, of course, bore the brunt of the shit-storm.

Francis McTernan, Seale’s lawyer, charged that his client’s arrest without a Connecticut warrant was illegal, especially in light of the fact that Seale’s $25,000 federal bond had just been accepted and he had been told that he was free.

As Seale was leaving the courtroom, Several U.S. marshals told him to return to the detention area to pick up his be- longings.

Inside, he was placed back in a cell, handcuffed, and turned over to two San Francisco plainclothesmen who said they had a warrant on the Connecticut charges.

The pigs who pulled this despicable ruse snuck Seale away too quickly for anyone to intervene. It is all too clear that the “unlawful flight” charges were a tactic used to detain Seale until the San Francisco pigs could arrest him.

Seale cannot be freed until his trial, it seems, as murder is not a bailable offense. To compound Panther problems, if Seale is extradited to Connecticut, as he will in all likelihood be, he will be virtually isolated from the party and its affairs.

Attorney McTeran told the press he has reliable information that the Justice Department (a monumental misnomer) had engineered Seale’s calamity.

“There is a special section in the Justice Department,” he said, “that has been set up especially to harass the Panthers.

Panther Chief of Staff, David Hilliard, said that the action proved “the system is totally bankrupt. It is clear that members of the Black Panther Party and radicals cannot get fair trials in this system. The only way to maintain justice is to move against all the pigs…from (black U.S. Attorney) Cecil Poole to Richard Nixon.”

Tell the Truth!!

The charges lodged against Seale and the 14 others stem from the May 21 murder of Rackley in New Haven. Pigs have used this case as an excuse to break into a score of panther offices around the country, destroying valuable materials and terrorizing the occupants.

According to an FBI affidavit, Seale was implicated in the case by George Sams, Jr., a Panther who was arrested in Toronto three weeks ago in connection with the case.

In April 1968, Sams was expelled from the Party “for stabbing a brother in the leg,” Seale reports. Only at the insistence of Stokely Carmichael, who has since left the Party himself, was he re-admitted as a member.

The San Francisco “Chronicle interviewed Seale in jail on August 22. Seale told Chronicle reporter Tom Findley, “I never saw Rackley in my life.” Of police informer Sams, Seale commented: “Sams is an agent. He’s clearly the one who murdered this person.”

While Seale sits in jail, 21 Panthers are being held in New York City in connection with an alleged plot to destroy several public areas—among them the Bronx Botanical Gardens and police stations. Rackley is said to have informed on the New York 21, thus marking himself for death according to the police version.

New Haven officials claim that they have a taped record of a “kangaroo court” in which Panther members sentenced Rackley to death. Supposedly, Rackley was “tortured” May 16 and murdered on the 21st.

Seale was in New Haven on a university speaking engagement at some time during these dates. He said he arrived in New Haven late in the afternoon of May 19, spoke at Yale at about 8 pm., paid a visit in New Haven and returned to California the next day.

“My probation officer has records of all my travels and can back that up,” Seale said.

With Seale arrested, Hilliard is one of the few remaining national Panther leaders still free and he has just posted $20 thousand bail on attempted murder and assault charges as a result of a police-Panther shootout in Oakland on April 8, 1968 that killed Panther Bobby Hutton and sent Cleaver into exile.

As Hilliard says the fascist pigs cannot destroy the black liberation movement. “Our party and our movement are being taken over by the people. There is nothing the system can do to stop our movement.”

Right on.