A former FBI informant was responsible for not only teaching the Black Panthers to use guns but supplying the group with weapons before deadly shootouts with Oakland police in the 1960s, The centre For Investigative Reporting revealed Monday.Richard Masato Aoki was a “fierce militant” in the San Francisco Bay Area who belonged to several radical groups before joining forces with the Black Panthers.
“He was my informant. I developed him,” Aoki’s agent Burney Threadgill Jr. told the reporting centre. “He was one of the best sources we had.”
In one example of the discord between Panthers and police, Black Panthers member Bobby James Hutton died in a shootout with Oakland police in 1968 that left two officers and two other Panthers wounded, according to Mindfully.org, which reprinted a 1968 Oakland Tribune article.
The Oakland Tribune wrote of the shooting:
“The officers, police said, were getting out of their car when they were caught in a cross-fire from both sides of the street and in the rear. Their car was blasted with 49 bullet holes. Another police car was burned.”
“Police, armed with automatic weapons, shotguns, handguns and teargas set up a siege of the house. They crouched behind cars and utility poles and exchanged fire with those inside.”
“Finally, officers fired barrages of teargas into the building. One cannister started a fire, but it was quickly extinguished. The suspects stumbled out of the front door.”
Aoki, who killed himself in 2009, also worked as a college professor and administrator.
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