Two tales Fort Worth Item in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Sunday, Nov. 1. Police Saturday night entered the headquarters of the White Panther Party here arresting 13 people and seizing a small amount of what was believed to be marijuana. All of the people arrested eight men and five women earlier had participated in a downtown anti-war parade and Burnett Park rally. The police account of the incident differed from that told by White Panther members and youths who said they were witnesses to the “bust.” Eight plain clothes policemen entered the headquarters and residence at ‘1129 Hurley about 8:50 p.m. and found three building, said police Capt. H. L. Hogue. They identified themselves as policemen and showed the three a search warrant. After police had entered the building two knocked on it. One of the officers said, “We identified ourselves as police officers and told them they were under arrest and they broke and ran.” We chased after them and a short scuffle took place on the porch,” he continued. There was a shot. Police said they chased the man who allegedly did the shooting across the street behind a parked car and “that’s where we caught him.” Members of the party told the Star-Telegram that police, all of whom had been identified earlier at the rally, did not identify themselves as policemen. The Rev. Gerard Hartzell said most of the persons arrested had been attending a meeting three doors down from the White Panther headquarters. “When we left the meeting some of the group went up to the house \(Panther started beating up on them. They kicked them and everything,” Hartzell said. He said people were ordered to lie on the floor while police searched the house. There were two persons who lived in an old bus outside the house who also were arrested, Hartzell said. Police confirmed the arrests. Members of Hartzell’s group said the meeting they had conducted earlier was on Gary Barber, who attended Hartzell’s group’s meeting but was not arrested said when the group stepped on. the porch several policemen who had on White Panther buttons said, “Come on in.” Police denied wearing Panther buttons. Barber said the remainder of the group was told that if they did not want to be arrested they had better leave the premises. 12 , The Texas Observer Barber said. Austin Nancy Simpson, 21, is an Austin resident, who was arrested Oct. 31 at the White Panther house and later released without being charged. Miss Simpson is a former University of Texas student who is now doing volunteer social work. The following is her account of the “bust:” Three White Panthers from Ann Arbor, Mich., which is where the White Panther Party was started, came to Austin two weeks ago for the Conference on Political Prisoners. They went on to Ft. Worth after the conference to see the White Panthers there and to participate in the peace march. I went with them mostly because I wanted to hear a rock group that was playing in Ft. Worth that weekend. We all went on the march and Genie Plamondon, one of the White Panthers from Ann Arbor, spoke at the rally in the park. During her speech she referred to police as “pigs” and then corrected herself, saying, “No, I mean policemen.” As the rally was breaking up some of the kids surrounded, three men dressed in plainclothes who were wearing White Panther buttons and identified them as narcs. These three narcs were then surrounded by a bunch of people who were harassing them verbally, jeering at them, and making fun of them. It wasn’t ugly, there was no sense of menace about what the kids were saying and the narcs didn’t seem uneasy, they just stood there silently, letting the kids get a good look at them. THAT NIGHT I was at the White Panther house with one other boy: all the others had gone to a meeting up the street. The White Panthers I saw in Ft. Worth were all very young 18 or 19 and apparently they just got organized last summer and have spent most of their time since getting each other out of jail. There isn’t any radical community in Ft. Worth, just these kids who decided to be White Panthers. A little after 8:30 p.m. four narcs in plainclothes came bursting through the front door: three of them were the same narcs who had been pointed out at the rally in the park. Four other narcs in plainclothes came bursting through the back door at the same time. It was scary. I asked to see their search warrant and they showed me a paper, but I was too nervous to read it. They hit the boy I was with in the stomach two or three times and threw him up against a wall. Then they started to trash the place. They ripped up papers and political pamphlets, they went through the whole house and destroyed two typewriters, a tape recorder and some stereo equipment. When I protested they slapped me twice. The boy protested and he was beaten. Then they tied his hands and made him lie on the floor. Then the others started coming back in twos and threes. As they came to the door, the narcs invited them in, without identifying themselves as policemen they were still wearing the White Panther buttons and then they would tie up the guys and beat them and kick them. All the narcs were wearing boots and they walked on the guys’ backs as they lay tied on the floor. They beat up Jimmy Smith terribly. Genie Plamondon came back with a White Panther who always carries a .45 pistol with him he told me it was self-protection. And as this guy was coming up ‘ the walk with Genie, he saw three narcs beating up Jimmy Smith. But he didn’t know they were narcs because they were wearing sports clothes. He thought some rednecks had come to hassle the house so he fired a shot in the air to scare them. THE POLICE were furious and they took his gun away and they well, they just beat the shit out of him. And all the time they were screaming things at us like, “You punk hippies, you scream about revolution, but I don’t see any of you fighting now.” And they kept saying terrible things to Genie because she had called them “pigs” during her speech. It … it was as though she had threatened their whole masculinity or something . . . they were furious with her. After about 45 minutes, they had 13 people in the house under arrest. Then about 10 uniformed policemen came and the narcs took them on a tour of the house. Then some other men, I believe they were higher-up policemen they were wearing suits and ties came and they were taken on a tour of the house. Before any policemen came this boy and I had been sitting at the dining room table, which the White Panthers use as a desk, and there was political literature on it and a bowl in the middle that had paper clips and pertcils and rubber bands in it. When the higher-up policeman came, one of the narcs walked out of the dining room with that bowl and it has three Baggies of what looked like marijuana in it. He said, “Well, well, look what I found.” They took us all down to the city jail and it took about two hours for them to book us. They wouldn’t let any of the guys see a doctor during that time and some of them were very badly beaten. They released five of us without ever having told us why we had been arrested or why we were being held. I got the impression that they just weren’t interested in holding us if they didn’t know us I mean, if we weren’t from Ft. Worth or hadn’t run across them before. A lot of the White Panthers there had been arrested before on minor charges. I had never been involved with the police before, I’ve never been arrested before or seen the way they operate. I just didn’t know they were so all powerful.
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.