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6 Comments | Vintage
Motha fukin’ snakes, in this motha fukin’ courtroom
How’d this altercation end?
What’s the quick story to this ?
The 60’s and 70’s had some wild stuff. When people comment about "how bad things are getting" now, they’re obviously forgetting those two decades.
In 1970, Soledad Brothers founder George Jackson allegedly organized an armed assault on the Marin County courthouse to demand George Jackson’s immediate release. The assault took place during a trial for James McClain, who had been named accused in the stabbing of a prison guard, with Judge Haley presiding.
The person in charge of the kidnapping was George Jackson’s younger brother, Jonathan Peter Jackson, aged 17. Two days before the kidnapping, ex-UCLA acting assistant professor Angela Davis had bought a shotgun from a pawn shop in San Francisco. After Davis paid for the shotgun, its barrel was sawed off so as to be concealable.
On the day before the kidnapping, Davis and Jonathan Jackson were alleged to have been in a rented yellow utility van at the Marin Courthouse. Jonathan went into the courtroom where James McClain (aged 37) was on trial. He was wearing a long buttoned-up raincoat, despite the heat and lack of rain. The van had troubles running, so Jonathan and Davis drove to a gas station down the street from the courthouse to get the van repaired.
On August 7, 1970, a heavily armed Jonathan Jackson returned to the courthouse in the yellow van. He entered the courtroom again wearing the long raincoat, and brought three guns registered to Angela Davis into the Hall of Justice.
Jackson sat among the spectators for a few minutes before opening his satchel, drawing a pistol and throwing it to Black Panther defendant McClain. Jackson then produced a M1 carbine from his raincoat as McClain held the pistol against Judge Haley’s head. Jackson was reported as saying "Freeze. Just freeze." He then told court officials, attorneys and jurors to lie on the floor while another San Quentin inmate, Ruchell Cinque Magee, who was to have witnessed at McClain’s trial, went to free three other testifying prisoners from their holding cell. A couple with a baby was also ordered into the judge’s chambers.
After being freed by Magee, a fourth man, Black Panther William A. Christmas (aged 27), joined the other three kidnappers. Haley was forced at gunpoint to call the sheriff Louis P. Mountanos, in the hopes of convincing the police to refrain from intervening. Road flares, which were used to simulate sticks of dynamite, were held against Judge Haley’s neck before being replaced with a sawed-off shotgun which was fastened under his chin with adhesive tape. The kidnappers, after some debate, then secured four other hostages whom they bound with piano wire: Deputy District Attorney Gary Thomas and jurors Maria Elena Graham, Doris Whitmer, and Joyce Rodoni.
The four kidnappers and five hostages then moved into the corridor of the courthouse, which at this point had become crowded with responding police who had been summoned by a bailiff. No action was taken against them at this point. Around this time, Jim Kean, a photographer for the San Rafael Independent Journal, arrived at the building after he had heard news of the incident from police radio in his car. He stepped off an elevator directly adjacent to the hostages and kidnappers, and was reportedly told by one of them, "You take all the pictures you want. We are the revolutionaries." Kean and his colleague Roger Bockrath took a series of photographs of the group, apparently after some brief discussion as to whether the two journalists should be added to the ranks of the hostages.
The group then entered the elevator, informing the police that "[they wanted] the Soledad brothers freed by 12:30 today." When the hostages were forced out onto the sidewalk in front of the Hall of Justice, Judge Haley asked where they were being taken. He was told they were being taken to the airport where they would get a plane. The kidnappers then forced the hostages into a rented Ford van which they began to drive towards an exit leading to the U.S. 101 freeway.
The police had set up a road block outside of the civic center in anticipation of the group leaving. As Jonathan Jackson drove the hostages and three convicts away from the courthouse, front passenger McClain shot at the police stationed in the parking lot. The police shot back. Judge Haley died as a result of potentially fatal wounds from both the shotgun which had been taped to his neck, as well as a pistol shot to the chest that was fired either by the kidnappers or by the police. Gary Thomas, one of the hostages, grabbed a gun from Jackson and began shooting at the kidnappers. A shooting melee ensued, in which three Black Panthers were killed. The sole Black Panther abductor to survive was Ruchell Magee. Prosecutor Thomas was paralyzed for life by a bullet through the spine.[how?] Maria Elena Graham, one of the jurors being held captive, suffered a bullet wound to her arm.
This story is like a Quentin Tarantino movie