Interview with Jerris Leonard
QUESTION 14
LOUIS MASSIAH:

but do you think this is sort of a very narrow interpretation of civil rights, because the first shot out of a hundred some shots was not, came, came from the Panthers, that that would, there was another civil rights violation?

JERRIS LEONARD:

There's no question that that's a very narrow concept of law enforcement, but what we have to understand is that the federal gro- government's role in this area is very narrowly circumscribed by federal statute and case law. As an example, to give you an example, you will recall the Kent State killings, I refused, OK, you don't want to get into that, all right--

LOUIS MASSIAH:

If you could just say in terms of the indictments from the Grand Jury. OK, do you think it's a narrow interpretation to say that because one shot came from the Panthers, therefore, the first shot came from the Panthers, therefore no civil rights violation had been taking place?

JERRIS LEONARD:

I think it is very narrow. Ah, on the other hand, philosophically--

LOUIS MASSIAH:

If you could restate--

JERRIS LEONARD:

Yea. The question is whether or not that is a very narrow view of law enforcement. There isn't any question that it is. I personally believe its proper. The reason I believe that is that I don't think that the federal government ought to get in to any area of law enforcement that can't be addressed by state and local government. There is a, there is a myriad of statutes which could have been pro- state statutes which could have been brought against the police officers and police officials in that situation, so I think the federal governments role ought to be only to react where there is a total absence of any effort on the part of state and local government to address these kinds of situations. Let me point out something else. The report that was issued by the federal Grand Jury in the Chicago Black Panther case still impacts in the city of Chicago today. It's still used today by people who, who are seeking to bring the police department under proper control.