Former Omaha policeman Tariq Al-Amin, head of Nebraskans for Justice, took his campaign to free the Omaha Two to the airwaves in Washington, D.C. Edward Poindexter and Mondo we Langa, former David Rice, were the subjects of a special two-hour radio program on WOL-AM radio hosted by announcer Carl Nelson on Sept. 21. The special broadcast gave Tariq a chance to tell the story of the Omaha Two to a new national audience.
The Omaha Two were leaders of Omaha’s Black Panther affiliate chaper National Committee to Combat Fascism. The pair were also targets of J. Edgar Hoover’s illegal, clandestine counterintelligence operation codenamed COINTELPRO. Hoover conducted a massive, secret war on America’s political activists whose loyalty he questioned. The Black Panthers were the target of the most lethal ferocity of COINTELPRO actions. The Omaha Two were convicted for the 1970 murder of a policeman after a controversial trial that included a withheld FBI Laboratory report on the identity of the anonymous 911 caller that lured Patrolman Larry Minard, Sr. to his death.
Carl Nelson’s advocacy for the Omaha Two will be a big boost for Tariq’s Midwest-based campaign. Nelson was so impressed by the story of Mondo and Poindexter that he compared them to Nelson Mandela. Nelson said the two men were caught in the same kind of net that imprisoned Los Angeles Black Panther leader Geronimo Pratt. Unlike the Nebraska prisoners, Pratt was able regain his freedom after a quarter-century behind bars, The Omaha Two have been locked up forty-five years, serving life sentences, at the Nebraska State Penitentiary.
Tariq Al-Amin co-hosted a freedom rally in August at the Malcolm X Memorial Center in Omaha. Tariq opened the program and then had co-host Mary Dickinson, an officer in Nebraskans for Justice, tell the gathering about the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in framing the two men for Minard’s murderer. Independent researcher Kietryn Zychal discussed the role of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Division in the case.
Video clips of the prisoners were shown, updates on the health of the two men were also given. Both prisoners suffer from the effects of their long years of confinement with impaired health. The last time the Nebraska Supreme Court looked at the case they dismissed it out-of-hand without even issuing a written decision leaving the men with little recourse to the courts.
Tariq’s tireless efforts were long aided by the late Marvin McClarty. McClarty was also an Omaha policeman who had been stationed outside Mondo’s house the night it was searched and dynamite was allegedly found. The search seemed suspicious to McClarty who saw detectives carrying things into the house. After his retirement, McClarty took on a weekly public access television program with Tariq where the two men reviewed police reports of the previous week.
Tariq closed his WOL radio interview by talking about the disappointments of his effort. Tariq said others have encouraged him to give up but that he knew the right thing to do was to keep working for justice for Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa. Veteran radio host Carl Nelson now joins Tariq and has added his voice to the call for freedom.