The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther

The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther is being made into a book on tape and will be available soon.

On December 4, 1969, at 6:00 am, Jeffrey Haas’s law partner, Skip Andrew, knocked on his door. When Jeff opened it, Skip  announced that Fred Hampton, the dynamic young leader of the Black Panthers had been shot and killed in a police raid. Skip went to the apartment and began examining the bullet holes and collecting evidence. Haas went to the lockup to interview the raid’s survivors. From the bullet holes at the scene and the descriptions of the eye witnesses, it appeared that Fred Hampton was murdered in his bed.

The Assassination of Fred Hampton is Haas’s personal account of how he and People’s Law Office partners, including Flint Taylor, pursued Hampton’s assassins. They ultimately exposed the conspiracy between  FBI agents carrying out FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s secret and deadly Counterintelligence Program and the Chicago Police that led to Hampton’s assassination. Not only is this a story of justice delivered, the book puts Hampton in a new light as a dynamic community leader and an inspirational speaker.

Fred Hampton Speaking in Chicago in 1969. Photo by Paul Sequeira.

“I don’t want myself on your mind if you’re not going to work for the people. Like we always said, if you’re asked to make a commitment at the age of 20 and you say, I don’t want to make a commitment only because of the simple reason that I’m too young to die, I want to live a little bit longer. What you did is, you’re dead already. You have to understand that people have to pay the price for peace. If you dare to struggle, you dare to win. If you dare not struggle then damnit—you don’t deserve to win. Let me say peace to you if you’re willing to fight for it.”  — Fred Hampton

Attorneys Jeff Haas and Flint Taylor in December 1982. Photo by Kathy Richland.

Black Panther leader Mark Clark was also killed in the 1969 police raid on the Hampton house.

Book Reviews

“At once journalist, lawyer and storyteller, Jeff Haas manages to sear into every page of this book a compassion seemingly forgotten, providing a riveting eyewitness account of the government assassination of Fred Hampton. This is mandatory reading for those who love and believe in freedom.”

—Elaine Brown, author and former chairman of the Black Panther Party

“This is an extremely important book–and a tale well told–for America to read if it wants to become what it says it has always been–the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Ramsey Clark, former United States Attorney General

“Thank You for writing this book. It’s an extraordinary retelling of a shameful chapter in our history. It ought to be mandatory reading in law schools. Better than any textbook it reveals just how easily justice can be thwarted and malicious aims disguised when powerful people conspire to violate the law (commit murder) and manipulate procedural rules to avoid responsibility for their crimes. You have done us a great service by sharing this history—a history that serves as an ominous reminder that the Empire Will Strike Back when challenged to dismantle systems of racial control. If and when a truly radical movement begins to thrive again—one that challenges America’s latest caste system—the movement will likely be met with the same ugliness and cruelty that has met every other movement for Black freedom in America. So this book is a cautionary tale, as well as a story of heroism. I have added you, the PLO, and Fred Hampton to my list of unsung heroes.”

Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the post-racial Era, September, 2012

The Execution of Black Panther Leader Fred Hampton (1969 news report)

A public domain video.

A 1969 news report on the assassination of Black Panther’s leader Fred Hampton.

On December 4, 1969, Chicago police raided Hampton’s apartment and shot and killed him in his bed. He was just 21 years old. Black Panther leader Mark Clark was also killed in the raid.

Fred Hampton (August 30, 1948 – December 4, 1969) was an American activist and revolutionary] chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP), and deputy chairman of the national BPP. Hampton was assassinated while sleeping at his apartment during a raid by a tactical unit of the Cook County, Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the Chicago Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in December 1969. His death was ruled as a justifiable homicide by the inquest. A civil lawsuit filed in 1970 resulted in a settlement of $1.85 million in 1982.