On December 4, 1969, attorney Jeff Haas was in a police lockup in Chicago, interviewing Fred Hampton's fiancée. She described how the police pulled her from the room as Fred lay unconscious on their bed. She heard one officer say, "He's still alive." She then heard two shots. A second officer said, "He's good and dead now." She looked at Jeff and asked, "What can you do?"
Fifty years later, Haas finds that there is still an urgent need for the revolutionary systemic changes Hampton was organizing to accomplish. With a new preface discussing what has changed—and what has not—The Assassination of Fred Hampton remains Haas's personal account of how he and People's Law Office partner Flint Taylor pursued Hampton's assassins, ultimately prevailing over unlimited government resources and FBI conspiracy. Not only a story of justice delivered, this book puts Hampton in the spotlight as a dynamic community leader and an inspiration for those in the ongoing fight against injustice and police brutality.
On December 4, 1969, Fred Hampton, the 21-year-old chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, was shot dead in his bed during a police raid. Hass and his law partner, Flint Taylor of the perpetually underfunded People's Law Office, spent the next decade fighting a well-financed opposition team and a hostile judge to prove that Hampton had been shot not in self-defense, as the police advocates claimed, but as the result of an FBI assassination The dramatic David and Goliath struggle embodies many of the era's fiercest debates, but Haas lacks the skill to transmute his experience into compelling reading. The prose is studded with clich s, and nearly every physical description reads like a checklist: age, size, build, skin color and length of Afro. Hass strays from the narrative to relate irrelevant information about his personal life, as when he recollects that his third wife first captured his attention when she "propped her red, calf-length boots" on his desk. The book is most engaging when Hass offers a straightforward account of the legal process, a testament to the power of the story not the author's proficiency.