The Injustice Done Against Geronimo Pratt

Geronimo Pratt was a Black Panther leader who spent 27 years in jail for a crime he did not commit. He was convicted of the murder of Caroline Olsen and the serious wounding of her husband during a 1968 robbery at a public tennis court in Santa Monica, California.

“The first goal is to prevent the coalition of black, nationalist groups. In unity there is strength….there second main objective was to prevent the rise of a messiah, who would unify, electrify the militant Black Nationalist movement and among other people that they cite as probably the most dangerous, was Martin Luther King. This is J Edgar Hoover and his legacy out to destroy Black leadership.”

“The police departments in these various situations, in these cities, were actually the same thing we were in Vietnam; occupying forces. They didn’t live in the community, they came from another area. They didn’t know the inhabitants of that community and they were exploiting, imprisoning, killing…a lot of killing blacks at random and it’s still happening today.”

In all, Geronimo spent 27 years behind bars, eight of which were spent in solitary confinement, before being released in 1997 when a judge ruled that prosecutors had withheld evidence that could have led to his acquittal. Eventually he received a $4.5m settlement for wrongful imprisonment and violation of his civil rights.