December 4, 2019 will mark the 50thanniversary of the shooting death of Black Panther Party (BPP) deputy chairman, Fred Hampton Sr.
As a tribute to Hampton, there is a mural painted on the wall of a three-story building that was once the district office of U.S Representative Danny Davis. The mural was finished a decade ago. According to Fred Hampton Jr., the project was intended to help bring attention to the work that he did.”
Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton Sr. worked to foster peace among rival gangs and to provide free breakfasts for the poor, among other anti-poverty and social-justice efforts. The mural highlights his work. https://t.co/uWd65wrzEt
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) August 23, 2019
The Chicago Sun-Times states that:
Hampton’s face looms down, along with the words “Chairman Fred.” While the Black Panther Party had a militant, Marxist edge and drew the attention of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies during the Civil Rights Era, Hampton worked to foster peace among rival gangs and to provide free breakfasts for the poor, among other anti-poverty and social-justice efforts.
And while those two areas of work may have been true, there were other areas of the Party that were not nearly as charitable as community minded. Hampton was climbing the ranks of the BPP rapidly.
Just days before he died, the national leadership offered Hampton a position as Chief of Staff as well as national spokesman.
While the events of the night of Hampton’s death continue to be debated, one thing remains true, the Black Panther Party was never a humanitarian group. The night of the raid, authorities found 19 guns and well over 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
This has been a group of radical militants since their inception. And their hatred for law-enforcement is well documented. At least 35 police officers have been shot and killed by individuals known to be affiliated with the BPP.
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Even the Chicago Sun-Times, who ran the tribute mural article earlier today, wrote an article back in 2007, stating that it was a “group known for revolutionary politics and killing cops.” In the two years prior to the raid, police and members of the BPP had engaged in gun battles eight times around the country, with half of those being in Chicago.
In fact, a few weeks before the raid, members of the Chicago-based chapter were involved in a deadly shoot-out with Chicago police. In this shooting, 9 officers were shot, with 2 succumbing to their injuries.
Here are just are the five officers killed by members of the Black Panther Party prior to the death of Hampton.
Officer John Frey
October 28, 1967
Oakland Police Department
Officer John Frey was shot and killed after making a traffic stop.
During the stop he requested backup. When the backup officer arrived, they removed the two occupants of the vehicle and separated them for questioning.
During the questioning the male suspect opened fire, striking both officers. During the stop he requested backup. When the backup officer arrived, they removed the two occupants of the vehicle and separated them for questioning. During the questioning the male suspect opened fire, striking both officers. Officer Frey was struck in the chest, stomach, and leg. He succumbed to his injuries while being transported to a local hospital. The other officer was struck in the chest but was able to return fire and wound the suspect, who was later apprehended. The suspect served three years in prison and was later killed in 1989.
Officer Frey was survived by his wife and daughter.
Officer Thomas Johnson and Officer Charles Thomasson
Nashville Police Department
January 16, 1968
Officer Thomas Johnson and Officer Charles Thomasson were shot and killed after Officer Johnson stopped a vehicle at 15th Avenue and Herman Street that was wanted in connection with passing false money orders. As Officer Johnson exited his patrol car the five occupants of the vehicle opened fire with a 30-30 rifle and other guns, striking him in the chest.
As Officer Thomasson arrived on the scene to backup Officer Johnson, he was shot seven times. Officer Thomasson succumbed to his wounds two months later. The ensuing investigation revealed that the five suspects were connected to the Black Panther Party.
Officer Johnson had served with the agency for 10 years and had previously served with the United States Army. He was survived by his four children. Officer Thomasson was a US Air Force veteran and had served with the Metro Nashville Police Department for 6 years. He was survived by his wife, three daughters, and three brothers.
Officer Nelson Sasscer
Santa Ana Police Department
June 5, 1969
Officer Sasscer was shot and killed when he was ambushed by a member of the Black Panthers.He had observed the two suspects hiding in the shadows on a residential street and was shot twice in the abdomen as he approached them. Both suspects were arrested later that night.
The shooter was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to five years to life on June 17, 1970. He was paroled in 1977.
Officer Sasscer was a Vietnam War veteran and had served with the Santa Ana Police Department for 18 months. He had been awarded Rookie of the Year the previous year.
Patrolman John Gilhooly and Patrolman Frank Rappaport
Chicago Police Department
November 13, 1969
Officer John J. Gilhooly and Officer Frank G. Rappaport were ambushed on a false call of a “man with a gun.”
As the officers entered a gangway between two buildings the man opened fire with a shotgun from a porch below, striking Officer Rappaport in the chest and Officer Gilhooly in the face and neck. The suspect then shot Officer Rappaport again as he lay on the ground, killing him.
Gilhooly was survived by his father, brother and sister.
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