Interview with Flint Taylor
QUESTION 12
INTERVIEWER:

What was the way in which the legal process began to unfold. Tell me how the survivors related to the legal hearings that went on. I know at one point they elected to have this inquest of their own. How did that come about?

FLINT TAYLOR:

Well, they were several proceedings that went on, first there was a coroner's inquest. The coroner's inquest was supposedly to determine the cause of death. Ah, there was a lot of evidence that was put on at that inquest, but the, the jury, uh, there was--uh, the outcome was predetermined because it was controlled by the coroner's office. And they just picked 6 cronies, uh, they called it a Blue Ribbon Panel, but nonetheless the, uh, the outcome was going to be justifiable homicide, and that's what it turned out to be. However, there was a lot of uh, cross-examination of witnesses, et cetera that went on. So there was a lot of focus brought on to the case there. Ah, the victims, uh, survivors didn't testify there. Ah, they had there own criminal charges pending against them, uh, and then there was a federal grand jury investigation that was headed up from Washington, by Mitchell, John Mitchell, and, uh, Jerris Leonard, uh, who was the head of the Civil Rights Division under Nixon. Much in the same way as Bradford Reynolds is the head of the Civil Rights Division under Reagan. Someone who was pretty much assigned to dismantle civil rights in the name of civil rights. So he wasn't too sympathetic to, uh, the Panther's cause to say the least. And, uh, so that was, uh, that was caused by the uproar in the Black community in Chicago. They demanded an investigation, they just wouldn't, after seeing what went on, seeing the apartment, uh, just every Black leader from Jesse Jackson to Renault Robinson, uh, were all calling for an independent investigation. And, uh, were, uh, concluding that this was murder and, uh, uh, that something had to be done. So the government responded to that, and it of course was a, a very sophisticated cover up, that, that went on with regard to it. Ah, the out--