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Black Panther Party (BPP) Confrontation with Eugene Police Department. In 1969, there were two major confrontations. The first was centered around three BPP members and two Eugene Police officers. It started when two EP tried to enter a Panther member’s house (Oliver Patterson) without a warrant. They were yelling insults and threatening to force their way in. BPP members Howard and Tommy Anderson met them. The BPP members were armed and ready to defend their rights as Americans. The BPP Captain asked the EP to produce a warrant and he would instruct the Panther inside to come out and surrender. The EP could not produce such a warrant. They had never experienced armed Black men defending their rights under the United States constitution. The EP ran to their car in shock and embarrassment.

The same day a warrant for Howard and Tommy Anderson was issued for assault on police with deadly weapons and interfering with the Eugene Police. All members of the BPP Eugene Chapter were called and showed up at BPP Headquarters. The BPP Eugene Chapter decided to not give up the Anderson brothers without a fight to the death. All members were ready to die. The EP was ready to kill all members that were willing to fight and die. Things had come to the major task of armed struggle. The Headquarters was very fortified and the Panthers had enough weapons to engage the EP in a relatively short firefight. The BPP had armed White support outside the Headquarters ready to die by sniping EP from strategic positions. There were other students from the U of O outside protesting this major conflict. The man that stopped this conflict was Ken Morrow who was a highly respected attorney in Eugene. He walked up to the door of the BPP Headquarters and said he was an attorney and could help. He called a judge and asked if he could bring the BPP members down to City Hall to be arraigned and bail set. The judge agreed to set bail at $10,000 per Panther. The money was raised within ten minutes.

Thereafter, Ken Morrow and Howard and Tommy Anderson went to City Hall, were arraigned, posted bail and were back at Headquarters within one hour. Ken Morrow had a good relationship with the Eugene Chapter of the BPP, despite pressure from anti-Panther members of the Eugene community.
The Eugene Police continued to harass and arrest Panthers for various reasons. Some police thought the Panthers should be stopped. Most of these incidents were not political but criminal.

By 1970, the show was over for the Eugene Chapter. The Captain moved to Oakland and became close to Huey Newton (Minister of Defense). Other members moved to other cities to work with other chapters. Some stayed as students of the U of O.

The purpose of this article is to record the legacy of the Eugene, Oregon Chapter of the Black Panther Party and to document its impact on this small college community. The writer trusts that this legacy is still being talked about in both academic and non-academic circles and that all former Eugene Chapter members continue to look back at this history with pride.

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Black Panther Party (BPP) Confrontation with Eugene Police Department. In 1969, there were two major confrontations. The first was centered around three BPP members and two Eugene Police officers. It started when two EP tried to enter a Panther member’s house (Oliver Patterson) without a warrant. They were yelling insults and threatening to force their way in. BPP members Howard and Tommy Anderson met them. The BPP members were armed and ready to defend their rights as Americans. The BPP Captain asked the EP to produce a warrant and he would instruct the Panther inside to come out and surrender. The EP could not produce such a warrant. They had never experienced armed Black men defending their rights under the United States constitution. The EP ran to their car in shock and embarrassment.

The same day a warrant for Howard and Tommy Anderson was issued for assault on police with deadly weapons and interfering with the Eugene Police. All members of the BPP Eugene Chapter were called and showed up at BPP Headquarters. The BPP Eugene Chapter decided to not give up the Anderson brothers without a fight to the death. All members were ready to die. The EP was ready to kill all members that were willing to fight and die. Things had come to the major task of armed struggle. The Headquarters was very fortified and the Panthers had enough weapons to engage the EP in a relatively short firefight. The BPP had armed White support outside the Headquarters ready to die by sniping EP from strategic positions. There were other students from the U of O outside protesting this major conflict. The man that stopped this conflict was Ken Morrow who was a highly respected attorney in Eugene. He walked up to the door of the BPP Headquarters and said he was an attorney and could help. He called a judge and asked if he could bring the BPP members down to City Hall to be arraigned and bail set. The judge agreed to set bail at $10,000 per Panther. The money was raised within ten minutes.

Thereafter, Ken Morrow and Howard and Tommy Anderson went to City Hall, were arraigned, posted bail and were back at Headquarters within one hour. Ken Morrow had a good relationship with the Eugene Chapter of the BPP, despite pressure from anti-Panther members of the Eugene community. The Eugene Police continued to harass and arrest Panthers for various reasons. Some police thought the Panthers should be stopped. Most of these incidents were not political but criminal.

By 1970, the show was over for the Eugene Chapter. The Captain moved to Oakland and became close to Huey Newton (Minister of Defense). Other members moved to other cities to work with other chapters. Some stayed as students of the U of O.

The purpose of this article is to record the legacy of the Eugene, Oregon Chapter of the Black Panther Party and to document its impact on this small college community. The writer trusts that this legacy is still being talked about in both academic and non-academic circles and that all former Eugene Chapter members continue to look back at this history with pride.

Read More

1 year ago

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