September 24, 1969……A trial began for the ''Chicago Eight,'' who were accused of inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic national convention.
Nevertheless eight political radicals were arrested on charges of conspiring to incite riots, and on 24 September 1969, their trial began in Chicago. Unlike his seven co-defendants, Seale had played no part in organizing the convention demonstrations, but his Black Panther Party, which advocated armed resistance as a means of achieving Black liberation, was found guilty by association. Given his unique situation, Seale vocally conducted his own defense to the chagrin of Judge Julius Hoffman, who ordered him bound and gagged for three days beginning on 29 October. The judge subsequently declared Seale's case a mistrial, and on 05 November 1969 sentences him to four years in prison for contempt of court.
Millions of dollars were spent in the efforts to prosecute these eight men. No convictions survived the appeals process. The appellate courts declared Judge Hoffman as irrevocably biased from the beginning. This was the beginning of the end for the great Daley machine in Chicago.
The Chicago Eight subsequently became the Chicago Seven. One month after Seale became a prisoner, Fred Hampton [1948 – 04 Dec 1969], the Illinois chairman of the Black Panther Party, was shot and killed by the Chicago police during an early morning police raid. The police maintained that a gunfight occurred during the raid, but out of seventy bullet holes in the headquarters, only one round came from the Panthers.
I have never understood why the Nixon administration was so anxious to see these charges prosecuted. Nixon may have believed his own hype of “Law and Order,” but I doubt it considering his later actions.
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