Ed Poindexter - North America

The Nebraska 2 were charged and convicted
of the murder of Omaha Police Officer Larry
Minard. Minard died when a suitcase
containing dynamite exploded in a North
Omaha home on August 17, 1970. Officer
John Tess was also injured in the explosion.

Poindexter and Rice were members of the
Black Panther Party, and their case was, and
continues to be, controversial. The Omaha
Police withheld exculpatory evidence at trial.
The two men had been targeted by the FBI’s
COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program),
which operated against and infiltrated anti-war
and Civil Rights groups, including the Omaha
Black Panthers. The US section of Amnesty
International recognizes Rice and Poindexter
as political prisoners. The state’s parole board
have recommended the men for release, but
political leaders have not acted on these
recommendations.

ED POINDEXTER
#27767
P. O. Box 2500
Lincoln, NE 68542


Mondo we Langa - North America

Personal Background

Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice)
worked with the Black Panther Party against
police brutality and helped set up community
service programs. He is also a published poet
and playwright.

He was born in Omaha in 1949 and graduated
from Creighton Preparatory School and took
courses at Creighton University. While in
college he wrote for the local underground
paper, Buffalo Chip, from 1969 to 1970. It was
in college that he also joined the Black
Panther Party (BPP). He played guitar at Holy
Family Roman Catholic Church, a center of
progressive activism in the 1960s and 70′s
under the pastorate of Fr. John McCaslin. Rice
also ran a breakfast program for inner-city
youth and was a well-known community
activist. Mondo we Langa is a published poet,
playwright and a major voice for justice and
the arts in Nebraska.
Legal Case


-2-

In 1970. the civil rights struggle was reaching
heated points with police brutalizing members
of the black community, and some black
activists fighting back with bombings of police
stations and other political targets. In Omaha a
police precinct and the Component Concept
Corporation were bombed. Members of the
Black Panther Party were prime suspects in
the bombings and in July a warrant was
issued to search the Omaha BPP
headquarters. Luther Payne, a former BPP
member, was arrested in Omaha for
possessing dynamite.

Omaha Police Officer Killed, Other Injured

On August 17, 1970 a call was made to the
police reporting a woman screaming at a
vacant house near 28th and Ohio Street.
Patrolman Michael Lamson and five other
members of the Omaha Police Department
(OPD) responded to the call. They noticed a
suitcase sitting in the front room. Shortly
afterward, Patrolmen Larry Minard and John
Tess arrived. With Tess looking on, Minard
picked up the suitcase. The resultant
explosion killed him and seriously injured Tess.


-3-

Duane Peak Confesses

On August 28 Duane Peak was arrested for the
crime. He confessed to placing the bag and
implicated six others, but mentioned neither
Rice nor Poindexter. In a later statement, Peak
told police that Rice and Poindexter had made
the bomb, told him to plant it, and to lure the
police to the vacant house with an anonymous
phone call.

This led to the charging of Poindexter and Rice
with murder on August 31.

In an interview with the Washington Post on
January 8, 1978, County Prosecutor Art O’Leary
admitted that he had made a deal with Duane
Peak to prosecute him as a juvenile in return for
his testimony.

The Preliminary Hearing

Peak went on to retract his statement that
Poindexter and Rice were involved at a
preliminary hearing only to change his story
once again after a recess, implicating
Poindexter and Rice in the bombing.


-4-

After giving this testimony, Rice’s attorney
noticed Peak looked as though he had been
beaten. Herzog asked Peak if he had been
threatened during the recess, and if he had
discussed his confession to help him
remember it. Peak replied in the affirmative to
both questions, telling the court that his
lawyer was not present when he discussed
his confession with county attorney O’Leary.
[5].

Controversial Evidence

The case against Poindexter and Rice rested
primarily on the accusation that they had
bomb-making materials in their possession
similar to the one which killed the officer.
Police reported finding three sticks of
dynamite in Rice’s basement. ATF Bureau
witness Roland Wilder suggested there were
more dissimilarities between the samples than
similarities.

In addition, many suspect that the police
planted the dynamite because nowhere on
the sticks were there fingerprints, and when
pressed as to where exactly they found the
dynamite the police could not give an exact


-5-

location within the house. Testimony changed
around who found the dynamite. Police also
did not have a warrant to search the house in
the first place, something which was upheld
by a judge in the appeals process, but then
the Supreme Court reversed the ruling saying
the warrant was legal. Several photos of the
house and the dynamite were taken, but none
with the dynamite actually in the house.
[source] Even ex-Omaha police officer Marvin
McClarty described the search of Rice’s
house as having deviated significantly from
accepted police procedure.

Other controversies arose around the
evidence, such as Rice’s house burning down
while they were in trial, and the fact that skin
tests for Rice and Poindexter came back
negative. Peak was not tested.

Political Motivations and COINTELPRO

The State also focused heavily on the two
men’s politics, introducing circumstantial
evidence such as literature they had written.
Their lawyer at the time, who went on to
become governor of Nebraska stated that


-6-

“The reason they were suspected was
because they were members of the Black
Panthers. [Authorities] had a couple of young
Blacks who everybody knew used incendiary
language — hateful things that irritated the
police. They weren’t convicted of murder.
They were convicted of rhetoric. The only
thing these young fellas did was try to combat
all the racial discrimination of the time the
wrong way.”

The Detective in charge of the investigation
later went on to say in a BBC documentary
that, “We feel we got the two main players in
Rice and Poindexter, and I think we did the
right thing at the time, because the Black
Panther Party … completely disappeared from
the city of Omaha … and it’s … been the end
of that sort of thing in the city of Omaha —
and that’s 21 years ago.”

The men were also heavily monitored by FBI
through COINTELPRO. A Freedom of
Information Act request revealed that the FBI
had over one thousand pages on each man,
though most of the pages are still blacked out
and unavailable for public view.

Final Verdict


-7-

In the end a jury of jury consisting of eleven
white jurors and one black juror found the
men guilty and gave them life in prison. The
sole black juror said the voted with the
majority so as long as the death penalty was
not given.
Life in Prison

Mondo is a celebrated playwright, author and
artist, who has published a collection of
poems and raps titled “The Black Panther Is
an African Cat.”
Support

The sase of Mondo we Langa and Ed
Poindexter has gained international support,
with Amnesty International and the NAACP
both calling for their release. Other high
profile activists and celebrities such as
Angela Davis and Danny Glover also speak
out on their behalf.


MONDO WE LANGA (D. RICE)
#27768
P.O. Box 2500
Lincoln, NE 68542-2500