|Absolute filth In Every Room of the Monroe Street Rathole
|No more violence at least from Hampton
Chicago, IL—That was the top story on this day December 4, 1969 when war broke out at 2337 West Monroe Street.
The Black Panthers were at war with cops nationwide. Cops were being ambushed and murdered from coast to coast. The BP threat was very real and cops were understandably on guard for violence.
This chapter began when the FBI recruited a troubled fellow, William O’Neal who cooperated in order to mitigate his own crimes. O’Neal became a part of Hoover’s infamous COINTELPROprogram, as both a snitch and as an agent provocateur. O’Neal successfully created a rift between the Panthers and Black Chicago street gangs. That act alone was incredibly helpful for the safety and well being of Chicago cops.
It was O’Neal, who told police the Monroe Street apartment was being used by the Black Panther Party to store numerous illegal weapons and ammunition for future use against cops that instigated the raid.
It should be noted that in 1969 there were no specially trained SWAT teams with armored vehicles anywhere. The common bullet resistant Kevlar vests had not been invented yet. Raids like this were very dangerous for police.
At 4:45 AM fourteen cops assigned to Cook County State’s Attorney, Ed Hanrahan’s office raided an incredibly filthy apartment occupied by nine members of the Black Panther Party. Throughout the apartment, found with the occupants were 19 firearms and a huge quantity of ammunition. The Panther arsenal included a stolen Chicago police shotgun and an illegally sawed off shotgun.
Moments later BP Deputy Chairman, Fred Hampton who was a convicted armed robber and a Peoria, IL BP leader, Mark Clark were shot dead and four other Panthers were wounded. Two cops sustained minor injuries.
Since the described weapons were seized by police that completely validated O’Neal’s claims that were the basis of the Search Warrant.
Various Panthers and their supporters quickly claimed to the assembled Media that only cops fired weapons. However, during the follow up police investigation four surviving Panthers admitted firing shots at police, one of them in a signed and sworn statement.
The polarizing and volatile political climate that followed was epic. The litigation lasted for many years
A 1970 Federal Grand Jury’s exhaustive Investigation resulted not in Indictments but rather numerous recommendations that demanded reform of police and the Coroner’s Office investigative procedures.
A Cook County special prosecutor was appointed, Barnabas Sears and he quickly lead a Grand Jury to Indict all but one of the raiding cops and the sitting State’s Attorney Edward V. Hanrahan. Nearly three years after the raid Judge Phillip Romiti finally acquitted all charged. Finally the cops were vindicated.
The Federal civil lawsuits against the cops ended differently but the standard of proof is much lower in civil proceedings.
Today our nation is still divided simply because inviting cultural diversity in any society simply cannot work except in unusual circumstances. The evidence of that statement speaks for itself. None the less we still strive for that peaceful and happy melting pot we’ve created in the USA.
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