Black Panther Geronimo Pratt dies

This video from the USA says about itself:

Political prisoner Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt won what appears to be a final and definitive legal decision in his 27-year battle against frame-up by the Los Angeles police and prosecutors, as a California Appeals Court panel unanimously upheld the decision of a lower court judge who ordered Pratt’s release.

That was February 16, 1999.

From Associated Press:

Former LA Black Panther leader Pratt dies at 63


LOS ANGELES (AP) – Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt, a former Black Panther Party leader who spent 27 years in prison on a murder conviction that was later overturned, has died. He was 63.

Pratt died at his home in a small village in Tanzania, where he had lived for at least half a decade, lawyer Stuart Hanlon, who helped Pratt win his freedom, told The Associated Press from San Francisco on Thursday.

Hanlon said he learned of Pratt’s death through the former activist’s family members. He did not know what caused Pratt’s death, but said he had suffered from high blood pressure.

Hanlon said Pratt refused to carry any resentment about his treatment by the legal system.

“He had no anger, he had no bitterness, he had no desire for revenge. He wanted to resume his life and have children,” he said. “He would never look back.”

The Los Angeles Times, which first reported Pratt’s death, quoted a family member as saying he died Thursday.

Pratt was convicted in 1972 of being one of two men who robbed and fatally shot schoolteacher Caroline Olsen on a Santa Monica tennis court in December 1968. No one else was arrested.

Pratt claimed he was in Oakland for Black Panther meetings the day of the murder, and that FBI agents and police hid and possibly destroyed wiretap evidence that would prove it.

His lawyers, who included high-profile defense attorney Johnnie Cochran, blamed his arrest on a politically charged campaign by J. Edgar Hoover‘s FBI against the Black Panthers and other perceived enemies of the U.S. government.

Pratt’s belated reversal of fortune came with the disclosure that a key prosecution witness hid the fact he was an ex-felon and a police informant.

Superior Court Judge Everett Dickey granted him a new trial in June 1997, saying the credibility of prosecution witness Julius Butler – who testified that Pratt had confessed to him – could have been undermined if the jury had known of his relationship with law enforcement. He was freed later that month.

Cochran, best known representing such clients as O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson, called the day Pratt’s freedom was secured “the happiest day of my life practicing law.”

Prosecutors announced two years after the conviction was overturned that they would abandon efforts to retry him.

“I feel relieved that the L.A. DA’s office has finally come to their senses in this respect,” Pratt said at the time. “But, I am not relieved in that they did not come clean all the way in exposing their complicity with this frame-up, this 27-year trauma.”

He settled a false imprisonment and civil rights lawsuit against the FBI and city of Los Angeles for $4.5 million in 2000.

Angola Two ex-Black Panthers petition: here.

Black Panther’s Posthumous Writings Cover Activism’s Risks, Rewards. Eleanor Bader, Truthout: “Everyone wants to leave a legacy, whether through procreation or by creating a tangible testament to their existence. For some, it’s art, music, storytelling or writing. For others it’s the founding of an organization or the creation of a product. For Black Panther Safiya Bukhari, who died in 2003, the bequest included an ongoing community organization, the Jericho Movement to free US political prisoners; a daughter and grandchild; and an astute collection of essays written to encourage the always-uphill battle to win freedom and equality for the world’s disenfranchised and impoverished people”: here.

1969: The Year the Black Panther Party Was to Be Annihilated: here.

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3 thoughts on “Black Panther Geronimo Pratt dies

  1. Pingback: United States Justice Department nominee rejected for supporting Mumia Abu-Jamal’s rights | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Assata Shakur’s autobiography, new book | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Black Panther political prisoner Albert Woodfox free after 43 years solitary confinement | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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