Ex Black Panther pleads guilty to '69 shooting
Joseph Pannell sentenced to 30 days in jail for slaying Chicago police officer
Feb. 23, 2008
CHICAGO - A former Black Panther Party member has been sentenced to
30 days in jail and two years' probation for the 1969 shooting of a
Chicago police officer.
Joseph Pannell spent years living in Canada, working as a researcher
and raising a family under the name Gary Freeman.
In 1969 as a 19-year-old member of the militant group, Pannell shot
Terrence Knox three times in the right arm, wounding him. Pannell was
arrested after the shooting but he ran after being released on bail
in the early 1970s. He spent years fighting his extradition until
voluntarily returning to Chicago this month and pleading guilty to an
aggravated battery charge.
Knox said sitting in the courtroom with Pannell was "very hard," but
that his capture and sentencing have brought him a sense of closure.
Former Black Panther Pleads Guilty for '69 Shooting
By Diane Smith
February 23rd 2008
A former member of the Black Panther Party, an African-American
organization established to promote civil rights and self-defense
which was active in the United States from the mid-1960s into the
1970s, pleaded guilty Friday to shooting a Chicago police officer in 1969.
His plea comes after he spent several years in Canada where he lived
under an assumed name.
The former Black Panther is Joseph Pannell. The now-59-year-old
pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated battery. The police officer
he shot in 1969 was Terrence Knox. Pannell, who was 19 at that time,
shot the police officer three times in the right arm.
The judge sentenced the former member of the militant group to 30
days in prison and two years' probation. Panel will also give
$250,000 to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, a fund which
aides the families of injured or killed officers. The money for the
above mentioned fund came from his supporters in Toronto and defense
attorneys in the Chicago area, according to Pannell's attorneys.
The former militant will be freed on March 7, a month after his
return to Chicago and about 39 years after the shooting.
Knox's family came up with the idea for the donation. During a
discussion with reporters, the former police officer said that the
apparently short length of the sentence does not trouble him, the
Associated Press reported.
"This is not 30 days. It's 30 days plus the time ... served in the
various prisons, plus two years' probation, plus agreeing and
stipulating that he tried to murder me," he said.
The police captured Pannell after the shooting took place and put him
under arrest, but as he was released on bail in the early 1970s he
fled to Toronto where he took the name of Gary Freeman.
During that period he worked as a researcher in the Toronto Reference
Library. He married a work colleague and raised a family. However, he
was discovered in 2004 as his fingerprints from Chicago were matched
with those taken in Canada for a customs offense committed in 1983.
After spending years to fight the extradition to the U.S., Pannell
decided this month to come voluntarily to Chicago and face the justice.