Interview with Howard Saffold

Now you ultimately chose to leave the gang intelligence unit. How did, how did that come about?


Well, first of all, I was more than familiar with the type of individuals that were, were, were being utilized to, to, to pursue the Panthers and the gang, um, element in Chicago. And many of them had been in the task force with me. And I knew their general attitude, not just towards Blacks, but specifically towards Blacks who talked about being part of some kind of, um, a movement such as the Panthers. Um, and on this one particular evening when they carried out, um, uh, uh, attempted to carry out a raid that didn't materialize, uh, the aftermath of it, the discussion of, um, they knew first of all that there were going to be civilians, non-Panther members, inside that headquarters that were there specifically to prepare and serve breakfast to people on, in that area of the city. Um, it didn't matter to them. The, the plan was if there's any shots at all fired, we'd just open up on the, on the headquarters. Well, I know, I've been around long enough to know that if any police officer happens to fire a shot, that opens up the floodgates. And the insensitivity of, of, of how that particular, and I mean they, they had physically followed a female from the South Side to the West Side and they knew in terms of all the intelligence that they had done, that she was not a part of any kind of armed resistance in America. Um, and they were willing to take a chance on taking a lady like that's life, a like, uh, a life like that, uh, in pursuit of, of, of, of, um, stamping out the Panthers. And I'm saying, this was a little bit too vicious, and it was most definitely something that could not be left unattended. So I went, um, to my commander, uh, who was a Black guy, and explained to him that I didn't have the stomach to, to stay in this particular unit because it had veered away from what I thought it was. I thought it was going to actually try to separate the criminal element from these young, uh, individuals that had been classified as gangbangers, and, and prosecute them according to the law, and, and try to turn the rest of them away from the criminal justice system. But obviously, somebody else had a different plan. And, uh, so once, once I did that, it was a declaration for them that I was not one of the boys. I most definitely couldn't be part of the team. And that I wasn't to be trusted at that point, and the Afro-American Police League, um, uh--