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Former Black Panther Pratt dies at 63

Published: Fri, June 3, 2011 @ 4:50 p.m.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, a former Black Panther Party leader who spent 27 years in prison on a California murder conviction that was later overturned, has died at the age of 63 in his adopted home of Tanzania.

Pratt died early today at home in Imbaseni village, 15 miles (24 kilometers) from Arusha, Tanzania, where he had lived for at least half a decade, said a friend in Arusha, former Black Panther Pete O'Neal.

Pratt's name and his long-fought case with its political backdrop became emblematic of a tumultuous era in American history when the beret-wearing Panthers raised their fists in defiance and carried big guns, striking fear in white America.

The party, founded by Huey Newton in Oakland, Calif., in 1966, was targeted by late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in a program which sent infiltrators into their gatherings and recruited informants. One of them, Julius Butler, was the key witness against Pratt when he was charged in 1968 with the Santa Monica tennis court shooting of school teacher Caroline Olson.

Pratt, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, said he was innocent and maintained there were audiotapes that would prove he had been at a Black Panther meeting in Oakland the day of the killing. His lawyers later said that FBI agents and police hid and possibly destroyed wiretap evidence from the meeting which they had under surveillance.


1Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

"Julius Butler, was the key witness against Pratt when he was charged in 1968 with the Santa Monica tennis court shooting of school teacher Caroline Olson."

Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt was human trash ! Of what threat was the teacher to anybody ? He will now have to answer for this senseless crime for eternity . This final court makes no mistakes .

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2Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago


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3oasismgt(4 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

All power to the people! RIP Brother Pratt.

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4AntiFascist(61 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

the Youngstown Vindicator - "Posting stories online to play to their reich-wing trolls readers since 2009"

What. A. Joke.

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5Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago


jjmart at 6:19 AM June 04, 2011
The facts of the case are these: 1) Caroline Olsen's husband Kenneth, who was also shot(five times) but survived, positively identified Elmer "Geronimo' Pratt as the killer, 2) the .45 gun used to kill Caroline was found in Pratt's apartment, 3)witnesses placed Pratt's red and white Pontiac GTO at the scene at the time of the murder, 4) Pratt claimed to be at a Blank panther meeting in Oakland at the time of the shooting, but fellow Black Panthers Bobby Seale and Huey Newton among other denied he was there, 5) Olsen claimed that Pratt was clean shaven at time of killing. Cochran, in an attempt to prove Pratt had a goatee, entered a Polaroid supposedly taken in Dec 1968 as proof. Later it was proved that the film used to take the photo was not even made until May 1969.

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