The case COINTELPRO About Ed About Mondo Legal Update Commentary

Duane Peak's Suitcase

"Duane Peak's Suitcase"

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and Scott Blake
May 31, 2014

The Case of Mondo we Langa (formerly known as David Rice) and Ed Poindexter

On August 17, 1970, the Omaha, Nebraska Police Department received a 911 emergency phone call. The caller reported that a woman was screaming for help from a vacant house. The address given for the house was 2867 Ohio Street. The police arrived at the scene and started to investigate. No screaming woman was found. Near the doorway of the house was a suitcase. The officers stepped over the suitcase to get into the house. As a search of the house was being conducted, an explosion occurred. Police officer Larry Minard, who was near the suitcase, was killed instantly. Investigation showed that the suitcase contained dynamite and was set to explode when moved. Arrested for placing the bomb was Duane Peak, age 15. Peak was charged with first degree murder for planting the bomb. In an attempt to lighten his sentence, Peak implicated Mondo we Langa and Edward Poindexter.

Mondo we Langa was a known member of the NCCF (National Committee to Combat Fascism) This group consisted of Black Panther Party members who were working to protect the black community from police brutality.  Mondo we Langa was Minister of Information in the NCCF and Ed was its Deputy Director. Mondo's and Edís political beliefs and actions were the principal reason that they were convicted. There are documents confirming that the FBI helped to suppress evidence in this case that would have completely discredited the key witness against the convicted men. At the time of the bombing, the FBI had implemented an operation known as COINTELPRO (counter intelligence program) to spy on U.S. citizens and to "neutralize" individuals and groups who were working to advance the human and constitutional rights of African Americans and Native Americans as well as any other individuals and groups deemed by the FBI to be a "clear and present danger to the security of the United States." The documents were obtained from the FBI through the Freedom of Information Act.

The goal of this website is to shine some light on this dark chapter in the history of the state of Nebraska and the United States. A grave injustice was perpetrated on two individuals because of their political beliefs. Under international conventions for the humane treatment of human beings, this makes Mondo and Ed Political Prisoners. In the 32nd verse of the 8th Chapter of John, the New Testament of the Bible records these words of Jesus Christ, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." This very quotation can also be found on the wall of the headquarters building of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. It is the desire of those associated with the contents of this website that the truth will eventually set Mondo and Ed free from their unjust and illegal incarceration, an injustice that has been suffered by them since 1970.

Mondo we Langa and Ed Poindexter have sought redress through the appellate process in the United States judicial system. All their appeals have been unsuccessful. At one point, the United States Supreme Court even re-wrote the law on police searches and seizure of "evidence" retroactively to ensure that Mondoís illegal conviction would not be overturned. A major obstacle in the judicial appellate process is that the Court of Appeals may not consider any issue other than whether the appellant was given a "fair" trial, as the legal system defines "fair." They may not consider whether the initial trial resulted in the correct verdict. Evidence that comes out after the trial that indicates innocence (like the fact that the FBI admitted in writing that the tape of the 911 emergency tape should be withheld from the defense attorneys because it would be prejudicial to the prosecutionís case) is very difficult, if not impossible, to get into the record of the Court of Appeals.

The role of the Nebraska Governor (who is a member of the Board of Pardons) should be to correct mistakes that the court has made. In recent years, it has become commonplace for a stateís governor to commute the sentences of women who were convicted of killing their husband after years of physical and emotional abuse and, in the case of the governor of Illinois, to stop the killing of all death row inmates until a determination is made regarding the fairness of the judicial processes that led to the convictions in the first place. Norman Krivosha, Chief Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court during the 1980ís, commissioned a study of the fairness of the Nebraska judicial system. He wanted to make sure that a person in one part of the state was being treated similarly to a person in another part of the state, all other things being equal.. So the researchers looked at the offense, the decision of the police to make the arrest, what crime, if any, the person was charged with, whether there was a plea bargain, the outcome of any trial, the sentence that was imposed, and the like. The researchers compare persons who had similar demographics (first time or repeat offender, age, race, sex, etc.) The study resulted in the conclusion that the Nebraska judicial system was "fair" in all regards EXCEPT one. The researchers could explain all of the differences in judicial outcomes based on all of the demographics EXCEPT race. Persons of non-European ancestry were more likely to be arrested, more likely to be charged with a crime, more likely to be tried, more likely to be found guilty, more likely to be given a longer sentence, more likely to be sentenced to death, than persons of European ancestry who had committed the same acts and who were otherwise similarly situated as the persons of non-European ancestry. That study helps to explain why African Americans, who comprise approximately 3 percent of Nebraskaís population, comprise more than 40 percent of Nebraskaís prison inmate population.

In our Republic, the executive branch of the federal (the President) as well as the state government (the Governor) have a responsibility to act as a "check and balance" on the judicial branch as well as the legislative branch. This principle was borrowed from Montesquieu and has served the Republic well for more than 200 years. There is a great deal of evidence in this case that indicates that Mondo we Langa and Ed Poindexter had nothing to do with the horrific murder of Officer Larry Minard.

In a country where the government is "of the people, by the people, and for the people," we are all responsible for the innocents who go to prison. Courts make mistakes, and the law is not perfect. It is our job as citizens to make sure that justice is done. We are all only as free and secure as the innocents who languish in our prisons and those innocents who are killed by the state in our name.

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  Last Updated: 07/28/2013