Fred Hampton, founder of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, was assassinated by a special unit of the Chicago Police Department on December 4th, 1969 as he lay face down in bed. He was 21 years old when he was murdered. The police fired 99 unanswered shots into his apartment, wounding Fred as he slept. Apparently drugged by an informant, Hampton was unable to awaken. After the raid the police put two more shots into Hampton’s head and said “Now he’s good and dead.”
This film follows the last year or so of Fred’s life and the investigation immediately following his murder.
The first part of the film shows Fred speaking and organizing and provides a brief glimpse into the Panther community programs such as free breakfasts for school children, as well as a fairly good portrayal of Hampton’s dynamic speaking abilities, vast depth of knowledge for someone so young, and his passion for the revolutionary struggle of all oppressed people worldwide regardless of race.
The remainder of the film focuses on Fred’s murder including footage of the crime scene. The attacking police unit was so secret that the local precinct was not notified to clean things up after the bodies were removed. As a result the Panthers and their attorneys filmed and collected a vast amount of evidence which proved the police and states’ attorneys were lying. The police and government arguments are given, interspersed with contradictory proof by the Panthers and their attorneys proving that this was not a raid gone sour, but rather a carefully planned assassination. The photo of the police smiling joyously as they carry Hampton’s body out of the apartment is ominous.
This film was made right after Fred Hampton was murdered, and before the Panthers were aware that one of their own – William O’Neal – was actually an FBI informant who provided the police with the map of Fred Hampton’s apartment. It was also filmed years before the information about the FBI’s COINTELPRO campaign was made public. It is a great piece of history which gives a rare fair treatment to the Black Panther Party.
Watch the full film here.