Interview with Huey P. Newton
QUESTION 14
LOUIS MASSIAH:

OK, Denzil Dowell was shot down in North Richmond in April of 1967, supposedly under some sort of fugitive or intent to commit a crime or act or whatever. How was this death, the backdrop to the May '67 visit to the Sacramento State House?

HUEY NEWTON:

Ah, there was a lot of California law and I think it still exists, if, ah, if there's reasonable cause to believe that a felony is being committed and if the, ah, if the defendant flees, it's the right of the police to sh- ah, to detain him in any, to capture him in any, ah, with any means necessary. And, ah, that's including shooting the person. Denzil Dowell was accused of tampering with the lock in the back of a store. And, ah, he was shot in the back with a shotgun, ah, in Richmond. And, ah, ah, there was some question whether he was trying to, whether he was walking through the alley or whether he was actually, ah, trying to break into the store. Ah, we, ah, protested his murder and, ah, we went to the, ah, D.A.'s office and the Sheriff's Department. And the Sheriff told us if we didn't like the law of detaining or, or capturing a felon or suspected-





LOUIS MASSIAH:

Again the death of Denzil Dowell in North Richmond became a motivating reason to go to Sacramento. Could you just talk about that.

HUEY NEWTON:

Yeah, ah, Denzil Dowell was killed there, ah, in Richmond, ah, by the police and, ah, for allegedly, ah, ah, tampering with the lock in the back of a store. And, ah, that, ah, we talked to the District Attorney about his being shot in the back. And we talked to the Sheriff and, ah, they both claimed that there was a justifiable shooting because if, ah, anyone is suspected of a felony and he tries to flee then, ah, he could be, ah, detained or captured, ah, ah, apprehended anyway--by any means necessary including, ah, murdering the person. And, ah, if we, the Sheriffs told us if we wanted those laws changed we could go to Sacramento to, ah, change the law. And, ah, that was, ah, that's, we said that we would go to Sacramento and talk to the legislature.