The Police Assassination of Carl Hampton
On July 26, 1970, Carl Bernard Hampton, one of Black
America's most articulate, courageous and heroic, young
leaders was ruthlessly slain by the Houston Police
Department's Central Intelligence Division (CID). At the
age of 21, Carl was a tireless organizer who worked day and
night to establish People's Party II, a Black
revolutionary group modeled after the Black Panther Party
(BPP). Armed with determination to see his people free from
the oppression, exploitation and degradation by a racist and
corrupt system bent on the destruction of Blacks and people
of color, he proceeded boldly with his mission.
Consistently, he rallied people around the issue of police
brutality and murder that was quite prevalent at that time.
Speaking with much power and authority, he was able to
capture the hearts and minds of the people and therefore,
their respect and admiration. Seeing the effects his words
and actions were having on the community, it would be only a
matter of time before the government would move in to
The 2800 block of Dowling Street was known for its illicit
activities of alcohol, drugs, prostitution and killings.
Undaunted by threats on his life, Carl continued to organize
within the infamous section of Houston's Black community,
the Third Ward. Intensely sensitive to the poverty in the
area and seeing people suffer as a result, Carl's immediate
concern was to provide decent clothing and food to the many
needy people who resided there. It was during his effort to
obtain supplies for these programs that destiny would soon
usher in events that would seal his fate.
It all began on a hot and humid summer afternoon, July 17,
1970. Carl would be returning from a trip home back to the
Headquarters of People's Party II (PPII). Upon arriving and
stepping out of the car, he noticed two uniform patrolmen
harassing a young brother who had been selling the "Black
Panther Newspaper" on the street curb in front of the
Headquarters. He approached the officer and inquired about
the nature of the problem. Carl was wearing an unconcealed
.45 automatic pistol strapped across his chest in a shoulder
holster (legal at that time). The police officer, startled
at seeing a young Black man openly wearing a pistol,
immediately withdrew his attention from the initial cause of
being there. He then confronted Carl and questioned him as
to why he was wearing a gun. Carl responded by telling him
he had a constitutional right to bear arms. Again shocked
and infuriated by this reply, the officer began reaching for
his gun. Seeing this, Carl instinctively drew his gun from
his holster, beating the police to the draw. At that same
moment, two members in the community center emerged with
weapons to join in the confrontation. The driver of the
patrol car quickly radioed for back up.
Realizing that it was a standoff and it would only be a
matter of minutes before the area would be sealed off and
police reinforcements arrive, Carl and the other members
cautiously backed into the office to barricade themselves.
Feeling somewhat fortified at the back of the office and
looking out the windows, they could see increasing police
presence, dressed in riot gear darting to and fro to
position themselves behind cars and buildings. With
tensions escalating, a commanding officer of the Houston
Police Dept. entered the office doors in an unsuccessful
attempt to negotiate for them to surrender. Rather than be
taken to jail, Carl felt his chances would be better out on
the street, having his lawyer negotiate terms for surrender.
His reluctance to be arrested was due to the numerous cases
of police brutality and murder of Blacks in the jails and on
the street during that time. The negotiating officer
quickly exited the doors after seeing no sign of compromise.
Meanwhile, a large crowd of people out on the streets who
witnessed the incident began to congregate in front of the
office. So enraged were they at the hostile police presence
that they offered themselves as a shield between the PPII
members and the trigger-happy police. In fact, the crowd
was so confident and protective that they dared police to
fire on PPII Headquarters. This being an unexpected
situation and the police not knowing how to properly deal
with it, decided to retreat from the area and develop a
contingency plan. Thus followed a sense of victory in the
peoples' ability to back down the Police Dept. By this
time, most of Houston became aware of the standoff between
PPII and the Houston Police Dept. because of news flashes.
People from all over the city's Black communities poured
into the 2800 block of Dowling Street to offer support.
Many brothers, feeling a sense of pride and strength,
brought weapons and enlisted themselves to do battle. There
were also mothers and sisters who came with prepared food to
offer the defiant soldiers. As days wore on, everyone had
become fatigued, tense and weary waiting for the inevitable.
Also waiting for and observing those conditions, the Houston
Police Dept. and other collaborating intelligence agencies
made a decision to recapture the area by using a well
planned, pre-calculated military maneuver to assassinate
On day ten, Sunday July 26, several intelligence officers
armed with high-powered telescopic rifles secretly gained
access to the roof of St. Johns Baptist Church. It was the
tallest building in the same block as the Headquarters and
would provide the tactical advantage to hold off any return
fire and to execute the assassination. As nightfall
approached, Carl was speaking to a crowd of about 100 people
at a spontaneous rally in front of the office. The rally
was called to raise bail money for two brothers who were
arrested earlier. A car speeding by with two women in it
shouted out that white men were shooting from the roof of
the church. Carl quickly dismissed the crowd out of concern
for their safety. He asked Roy Bartee Haile, leader of John
Brown Revolutionary League (JBRL) if any of his members were
on top of the church. JBRL was a white revolutionary
organization that was a part of the "Rainbow Coalition"
that Carl successfully organized. Shortly after hearing
about the standoff, armed members of JBRL also came out to
show support. Upon finding out that it was not JBRL people,
Carl valiantly picked up his M-1 carbine rifle and proceeded
to investigate. Several people accompanied him. As he
attempted to cross the street to get a better look, Howard
Dupree, a white news reporter for Radio Station "KULF" who
was also on the church roof, pointed him out to the snipers.
Dupree was granted an interview by Carl a day or two
earlier, thereby making him an accomplice in the
assassination because of his ability to positively identify
him. The conspirators, using night vision scopes, shot Carl
several times in the stomach and chest with illegal hollow
point dum-dum bullets. As Carl's body lie helplessly
bleeding in the middle of the street, a very courageous
sister darted through the rain of bullets to retrieve him.
She dragged Carl to her car and rushed him to Ben Taub
General Hospital in a futile attempt to save his life. It
was there in the emergency room that he died. Several
hundred riot-gear equipped police sealed off a 10 square
block radius and swept through the area. Throughout the
night and into the dawn, over sixty people were arrested and
detained for questioning.
Out of this tragic situation was formed a "Black Coalition."
It consisted of mainstream Black organizations responding to
the reign of terror inflicted on black people by the Houston
Police Dept. The coalition urged a boycott of businesses
downtown. The boycott failed due to the impotent and
unsustained efforts of its organizers. By making the
Supreme Sacrifice and Surrendering his life to the
Revolution, Carl became a martyr for our inevitable
Long Live the Revolutionary Spirit of Carl Hampton!!!
ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!
-- Charles (BOKO) Freemen
 In 1969, Carl organized People's Party II. Prior to
that he had worked in the Black Panther Party (Oakland, CA).
Enthused and inspired by that experience, he returned to
Houston to organize a Chapter. During that time, the
leadership of the BPP decided against opening new chapters
because of inability to effectively manage any new growth.
Prior to that, there was explosive growth nationally. Carl,
disappointed but undaunted by this decision and recognizing
the Black Panther Party as the first People's Party, chose
the name People's Party II. Maintaining the ideology and
programs of the BPP and circulating "The Black Panther
Newspaper", the newly formed group was in spirit, but not
name, the BPP. A short time after Carl's death, PPII became
the official Houston Chapter of the Black Panther Party.
 The Rainbow Coalition was formed in 1969 by Carl
Hampton. It was a multiracial alliance that organized
around issues that not only impacted the Black Communities
but the Brown and poor White communities as well. It
consisted of PPII, Mexican American Youth Organization
(MAYO) and JBRL.