The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Chicago:
Support Fred Hampton Jr.'s appeal for clemency

Apr 23, 2001

Fred Hampton Jr. has been in prison for nearly eight years accused of an arson attack on a store in Chicago. His name is easily recognizable, because his father, Fred Hampton, a leader of the Black Panther Party, was killed in his bed in a Chicago police attack in 1969. In a well-publicized trial, the police and sheriff's office were found guilty of Fred Hampton's murder. The police decided to take vengeance on his son, Fred Hampton Jr., who continued the political activity of his father. In March 1992, he was arrested for murder and armed robbery. The judge found him not guilty. The prosecuting attorney yelled out, "Fred Hampton Jr., we'll get you yet."

On May 11, 1992, Fred Hampton Jr. was arrested by a squad of Chicago police and FBI agents, accused of arson against two stores. In his trial, jurors with close ties to the police were kept while potential jurors who said that they thought the police could lie were dismissed. The charge involving one store was dropped. The other store was closed only for ten minutes due to fire damage. The prosecutors introduced the political newspaper Burning Spear which had an article attacking the role of Korean merchants in the black community, although this wasn't written by Hampton. The prosecutors said this was the motive for the attack. A witness said he saw Hampton leaving the area. This witness had had a verbal argument with Hampton two weeks before and was known in the community as someone who would lie for the police. Hampton was found guilty and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

As a result of a political campaign across the country and abroad, a clemency hearing was held for Hampton on April 4th of this year. The issue is still to be decided. His defense committee asks that people please send letters of support to:

Governor George Ryan

State of Illinois

207 State House Road

Springfield, IL 62706

or fax to (217) 524-4049

Anne R. Taylor, Chairman

Prisoner Review Board

319 E. Madison Street Suite A

Springfield, IL 62701

or fax to (217) 524-0012