Geronimo Pratt, the former Black Panther and FBI target who spent 27 years in prison before his murder conviction was vacated, has died at his home in Tanzania the age of 63.
Pratt was a Vietnam war veteran. He joined the Panthers in L.A. after returning from the war, and became the chapter's "Minister of Defense." His pregnant wife was murdered as a result of an internal power struggle in the group. Soon, Pratt was targeted by evil FBI radical-smearing program COINTELPRO, in an effort to destroy his credibility. He was charged with a 1968 murder, defended by Johnnie Cochran, convicted, and spent 27 years in jail while always maintaining his innocence. From the LAT:
The case was overturned in 1997 by an Orange County Superior Court judge who ruled that prosecutors at Pratt's murder trial had concealed evidence that could have led to his acquittal.
A federal judge later approved a $4.5 million settlement in Pratt's false-imprisonment and civil rights lawsuit.
No wonder he moved to Tanzania. Pratt was also the godfather of Tupac Shakur. Here's an interesting interview with him from 2003. R.I.P.