Interview with William O'Neal

Tell me about a typical meeting, and tell me again that Mitchell was the FBI agent.


Well, a typical meeting between my FBI contact Mitchell would be downtown Chicago at 11, 12-noon, at, down in the basement of, at some bar, some dark bar. I would meet him at the bar, he'd already ge--he'd be there when I got in there, and he'd have a drink, and I'd have a drink, and we'd sit there and, and talk for 15 or 20 minutes, and it was very casual. I mean, it was like I'd come in and he'd say, "Oh, what you up to?" And then I'd say, "Well, I'm going down to Champaign for a speaking engagement with Fred, and I'm taking such and such with me, and, and we're carrying guns, and we're driving in this car, and license, and I'd just rattle it off. Ten or 15 minutes I'd tell him everything I knew. He didn't, he, he, didn't have to say very much because when I joined the Black Panther Party, most of the information that I was giving him at that time was new information to him, so as I grew inside of the Pa--Party, and beginni--and began to learn things, he grew also so he knew the members better than I did. We'd talk about the, the girlfriends and who was, you know, pregnant, and who had a venereal disease, you know, and this was just casual conversation between he and I, he wasn't always writing. What he put in his files, I still don't have the benefit of. But I know after a while, he and I became friends, and we talked in casual conversation about what I was doing in the Black Panther Party. Well, the whole nature of that relationship changed right around November, maybe November 13, when two police officers were killed by a Black Panther member named Jake Winters on the South Side of Chicago. That night, as I understand the, the gun battle, Jake Winters straddled one of the officers who were wounded in the shootout, and performed a coup de grace, a mercy killing. He straddled the officer aft--the officer, after the officer was down, and, and put a shotgun to his head and put him out of his misery, or at least that's the way the newspaper described it. And, I think the whole city, I think the Black Panthers took the rap for that one when they really didn't deserve it because Jake Winters was out there on his own, he wasn't out there on any official member, mission for the Black Panther Party. He was out there on his own, and he got into a altercation with a guy, and the guy called the police, and the police came, and a shootout broke out, and two police officers were killed and Jake Winters were killed. Well, the Panthers took the heat because Jake Winters was a Black Panther, and past that point, I noticed, maybe a couple of days after this officer were killed, Mitch--Mitchell had this, this grim, solemn atmosphere about hisself[SIC], and I could tell he was looking for specific, he wanted specific criminal violations. He wanted something that he could move on, and I think he may have implied or expressed that at one or two points. He, he expressed his anger over what had happened, how, I mean, the total disregard for life, and, I mean, he, it was the first time I ever saw him express his personal opinion about what he thought the Black Panthers were doing.