THE CASE OF WALTER POPE
Walter Toure Pope, whom Garry listed
simply as "killed by Metro Squad," was shot to death by
Officer Alvin D. Moen in a vacant lot across from the Jack-in-the-Box
drive-in restaurant in Los Angeles on October 18, 1969.
On that night, Officer Moen and his
partner, Officer Don Mandella, were assigned to a robbery
stakeout of the Jack-in-the-Box, which had been robbed fourteen
times in the previous seven months. Sitting in an unmarked
car, which they had parked across the street from the restaurant,
the officers began their watch shortly after dark.
At about 10:45 p.m., Moen later testified,
he heard a noise behind him and "turned around and saw a
man standing with what appeared to be a burp gun ... pointed
in my direction." Shouting, "Look out!" to Mandella, Moen,
who was sitting behind the wheel, drew his service revolver.
Then, according to his testimony, the man fired a shot,
and Moen returned the fire. Suddenly, from the other side
of the car, there came what Moen called "another loud explosion,"
which he identified as a shotgun blast. According to medical
reports, Moen was hit in the back of the right shoulder
and the back of the left hand by shotgun pellets. Although
he was badly wounded, he managed to get out of the car,
empty his revolver at the man with the burp gun, and then
run to the restaurant for help. Mandella gave a similar
account, testifying that after his partner shouted, "Look
out! " two shotgun blasts were fired into the car from the
passenger side as the man with the burp gun approached from
the opposite side. Mandella then turned and fired three
shots at the assailant with the shotgun, who fled. Picking
up the microphone, he urgently requested assistance, saying
that he and Moen had been "ambushed." When other policemen
arrived, they found Walter Pope, twenty, who was subsequently
identified by the Black Panthers as their "distribution
manager" for Los Angeles, shot to death beside the police
car. He had a two-inch revolver tucked in his belt, and
there was a .30-caliber carbine, or "burp gun," lying under
his left arm. A sawed-off shotgun, both barrels of which
had been fired, was found a few feet behind the police car.
The only witnesses to the shooting were
those who took part in it, and thus the question of who
shot first may be open to doubt. The medical evidence that
Moen was hit by a shotgun blast in the back would seem to
suggest that the police were approached from behind.
THE CASE OF WELTON ARMSTEAD
In Seattle, at about 4:10 p.m. on October
5, 1968, Welton Armstead, seventeen, was shot to death by
a police officer in front of a house at 1706 Melrose Avenue.
A few minutes earlier, Officers Erling Buttendahl and Charles
Marshall, on a routine patrol, had received a radio message
directing them to help car No. 128 in a stolen auto case
at 1700 Melrose Avenue. When they arrived on the scene,
they helped the policemen in Car No. 128 apprehend two of
three suspects they had been pursuing. According to Buttendahl,
while he was searching for the third suspect he came around
the side of a house and was confronted by a man, later identified
as Armstead, a Black Panther, standing next to the garage,
"holding a rifle with both hands and pointing it" at him.
According to the coroner's report, the armed man was asked
four times to "drop the rifle" but refused to do so; instead,
with one hand he grabbed the barrel of Buttendahl's revolver,
raising his rifle with the other, whereupon, Buttendahl
says he himself fired, hitting Armstead in the midsection.
An inquest jury, after hearing fourteen witnesses and considering
the medical evidence, ruled the shooting "justifiable homicide."
Garry does not dispute the fact that Armstead faced Buttendahl
with a rifle.
THE CASE OF SPURGEON WINTERS
On November 13, 1969, Spurgeon (Jake)
Winters was shot to death by police on Martin Luther King
Drive on Chicago's South Side. Earlier that evening, James
Caldwell, a black prison guard at the Cook County jail,
had told his wife, Ruby, that he needed some money to rent
a room for the night, because "some guys are looking for
me and they want to kill me." The night before, he had been
in a brawl outside the Rumpus Room tavern with Lawrence
(Lance), Bell, a Black Panther, and had taken Bell's gun
from him, and he feared reprisal from Bell and his friends.
A few hours after Caldwell parted from his wife, someone
entered the building where they lived and began pounding
on apartment doors and calling Caldwell's name. Looking
out a front window after the pounding had stopped, Mrs.
Caldwell saw what she subsequently described as "four or
five men leaving my building ... one of them ... carrying
a long gun." She then went across a connecting porch to
her sister-in-law's apartment in an adjacent building where
she asked a friend, Lee Wesley, for advice. Wesley said,
she later told police investigators, that she "didn't have
any choice but to call the police," because "if James came
back they would kill hin." Wesley himself then called the
At 2:49 A.M., a police dispatcher received
a report that there were "men on the street with shotguns,"
and at 2:53 p.m., according to the police computer cards
and radio tapes, the dispatcher ordered the nearest patrol
car, No. 226, manned by Officers John Gilhooly and Michael
Brady, to 324 East Fifty-eighth Street, the sister-in-law's
apartment. Three other policemen joined them at the sister-in-law's
apartment, which was at the rear of the building, and all
five were then taken, across the connecting porch, to Mrs.
Caldwell's apartment, where, from the front window, Mrs.
Caldwell and Wesley pointed out to them three men lurking
in an abandoned building across the street. Leaving by the
front door, the policemen crossed over to the vacant building,
and Gilhooly started to go in through a gangway. Mrs. Caldwell
stated, "We could hear the policeman by the gangway shouting
'Halt!' about three times. Then we heard a loud shot, and
it sounded louder than a pistol shot. Then we heard some
more shots.... Then we saw the policeman come out of the
gangway. He was saying 'Oh! Oh!' and he was holding his
face." Gilhooly was fatally wounded, a shotgun blast having
severed his carotid artery and his jugular vein, Brady had
suffered minor lacerations of the forehead from the ricochet
of a shotgun blast.
Mrs. Caldwell called the police to report
that a policeman had been shot. At 3:04 AM, the dispatcher
issued an emergency call: "Police officer needs help." Twenty-one
patrol cars in the area immediately responded.
Another policeman was wounded almost
immediately by shotgun blasts, according to police reports,
and one police car was "demolished" by carbine fire. One
of the gunmen, who was allegedly carrying a carbine, and
who was later identified as Bell, was shot in cross fire,
and was captured. Meanwhile, three policemen had chased
another man, carrying a shotgun, down an alleyway paralleling
Martin Luther King Drive. He wounded all three and, taking
refuge under the porch of a house on the Drive, shot another
policeman, Frank Rappaport, in the chest and head, killing
him, and wounded another. Two policemen, including the one
who had just been wounded, emptied their revolvers at him,
fatally wounding him.
The dead gunman was later identified
as Spurgeon (Jake) Winters. In all, two policemen were killed
and seven wounded or hurt. Bell was indicted by a grand
jury for murder.
The Black Panther version of the incident
was similar to the police version in a number of respects.
A "special news bulletin" put out by the Illinois chapter
On November 13, 1969, Jake Winters stood
face to face and toe to toe, his shotgun in his hand, with
Pig Daley's murderous task force. He defined political power
by blowing away Frank Rappaport and racist pig John Gilhooly
and retired 8 other reactionary racist pigs before he was
The Black Panther newspaper reported
the shootings this way:
Spurgeon (Jake) Winters, 19, member
of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther party, paid
the most that one can pay towards the liberation of oppressed
people in his life. At 3:30 AM, November 13, Jake was murdered
in a shoot-out in Chicago where three Pigs were killed and
seven were wounded. The shoot-out was precipitated by an
ambush made by the standing Army of Chicago (Chicago Police
Department) on an abandoned building at 5801 S. Calumet.
Arriving on the scene with the armaments and men (more than
1,000 policemen equipped with .12-gauge shotguns, M-1 carbines,
.357 magnums, billy clubs, mace, tear gas, paddy wagons,
helicopters, and canine units) for domestic warfare against
the people in the Black colony, these fanatical pigs started
their attack by opening fire on the brother in the building.
Party comrade, Lance Bell, 20, was wounded by the pigs as
they shot wildly in that area.... Jake defended himself
as any person should do. In essence, he had no choice; it
was kill or be killed.
There may be some room for doubt whether
the police were in fact mounting an "ambush," as the Panthers
claim, or were simply responding to a call originally issued
in the belief that James Caldwell's life was in danger,
but the Panthers and the police agree that after the police
arrived at least eight policemen were shot before Winters