Crime History: Chicago police gun down Black Panthers

Crime,Scott McCabe

On this day, Dec. 4, in 1969, Black Panther Party members Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were shot and killed by Chicago police officers.


The pre-dawn raid came less than a month after two police officers were killed in an ambush. The FBI asserted that the Black Panthers had been responsible.

Hampton, 21, was shot dead in his bed. Clark, 22, who was standing guard with a shotgun, fired once before he was gunned down.

Police said they were involved in a fierce gun battle with the pair. But an FBI ballistics expert showed that police had fired 99 percent of the gunshots. Hampton's bodyguard was an FBI informant who had delivered a floor plan with an "X" marking Hampton's bed.

A grand jury indicted 14 police officers, but the charges were dismissed.

- Scott McCabe

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