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John Huggins and Bunchy Carter founded the Southern California chapter of the Black Panthers.

Posted by Walter Gido on

John Huggins and Bunchy Carter founded the Southern California chapter of the Black Panthers.

They were assassinated by the FBI in 1969 while attending UCLA. They were early victims of the FBI's COINTELPRO. —At a Black Student Union meeting at UCLA's Campbell Hall on January 17, 1969, Bunchy Carter and John Huggins, another BPP member, were heard making derogatory comments about Karenga, the founder of Organization Us. Other versions mention a heated argument between Organization Us members and Panther Elaine Brown. An altercation ensued during which Carter and Huggins were shot to death.

BPP members originally insisted that the event was a planned assassination, claiming that there was a prior agreement that no guns would be brought to the meeting, that BPP members were not armed, and that Organization Us members led by Ron Karenga were. Organization Us members maintained the meeting was a spontaneous event. Former BPP deputy minister of defense Geronimo Pratt, Carter’s head of security at the time, later stated that rather than a conspiracy, the UCLA incident was a spontaneous shootout. The person who allegedly shot Carter and Huggins, Claude Hubert, was never found. During the Church Committee hearings in 1975, evidence came to light that under the FBI's COINTELPRO actions, FBI agents had deliberately fanned flames of division and enmity between the BPP and Organization Us.

Death threats and humiliating cartoons created by the FBI were sent to each group, made to look as if they originated with the other group, with the explicit intention of inciting deadly violence and division. Following the UCLA incident, brothers George and Larry Stiner and Donald Hawkins turned themselves in to the police, who had issued warrants for their arrests. They were convicted for conspiracy to commit murder and two counts of second-degree murder, based on testimony given by BPP members. The Stiner brothers both received life sentences and Hawkins served time in California’s Youth Authority Detention.

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