Free Ed Poindexter, former Black Panther framed up 53 years ago

By Joe Swanson
July 3, 2023

LINCOLN, Neb. — This coming Aug. 31 marks 53 years 78-year-old Edward Poindexter will have been in prison. A number of organizations that support prisoners’ rights are reporting Poindexter’s left leg was amputated below the knee recently. Neither his family nor his medical power of attorney were notified of the amputation. Poindexter has diabetes and receives dialysis five days a week. He underwent triple bypass heart surgery in 2016.

Known as the “Omaha Two,” Poindexter and Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa (formerly David Rice), were leaders of the Black Panther Party in Omaha in the late 1960s. They organized protests against police brutality, including the 1969 killing of 14-year-old Vivian Strong. They were targeted by the Omaha police; agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and by the FBI as part of its notorious Cointelpro spying and disruption program.

In August 1970, they were framed up on charges of killing an Omaha police officer, who had been lured into a home where a suitcase bomb exploded.

Supporters of Poindexter and we Langa have forced out into the open government documents showing how authorities were out to discredit and dismantle the Panthers’ political work. Omaha police and the Douglas County Attorney denied crucial evidence to their defense team, according to an FBI memo obtained during post-conviction discovery. Witnesses placed them elsewhere at the time of the killing. Nonetheless, Poindexter and we Langa were convicted and sentenced to life in prison. We Langa died in 2016 after 45 years behind bars.

“Recently the Midwest Innocence Project requested a meeting with Poindexter at the prison to discuss taking his case as a wrongful conviction,” Kietryn Zychal, a freelance journalist who for many years investigated the frame-up of we Langa and Poindexter and worked to free them, told the Militant May 16.

“Their attorney was told by the prison staff that Poindexter was in the hospital,” Zychal said. “When he was released from the hospital, MIP set up a phone call.” But due to the amputation and his poor health, Poindexter declined to take the call and declined their representation.

“Supporters of Poindexter are trying to see if it’s possible to get him hearing aids and a prosthetic leg,” Zychal said.

The brutal treatment of Poindexter is an indictment of the workings of the capitalist system and how the U.S. rulers use their prisons to protect their class interests. This is no secret to the millions of workers who have been incarcerated or have a relative, neighbor, co-worker or friend who was thrown behind bars.

Poindexter has a cataract in one eye that makes it difficult to read, so please write or type your letter in 18 point or larger font. Send to: Ed Poindexter #27767, Reception and Treatment Center, P.O. Box 22800, Lincoln, NE 68542-2800.