FROM THE ARCHIVE
FBI recalls Oglala shootout
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JUNE 26, 2000

Louis J Freeh, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, issued a statement today, reminding the country of the shootout at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota which resulted in the deaths of two FBI agents.

"The FBI cannot forget this cold blooded crime, nor should the American people," writes Freeh in his statement. "I was a new Special Agent, still in training school, when this horrific crime was enacted. Its cold blooded disregard for law and order ensured that it would never be forgotten, its criminal nature never obscured."

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the shootout at the Jumping Bull Ranch. For many, it is a reminder of the setbacks imprisoned activist Leonard Peltier has dealt with since being extradited from Canada to the United States for the murders of the two agents.

Of all the suspects investigated for the murders, only Peltier was convicted and sentenced to two life sentences. Currently serving year 25 of those sentences, Peltier was denied parole on June 13, despite pleas of support from Amnesty International, the National Council of Churches, the National Congress of American Indians, the Assembly of First Nations, and Peltier's family.

For the FBI, the anniversary is proof the justice system works.

"It is a testament to the American judicial system and the American people that 25 years have not been able to erase or soften the facts of the case," states Freeh.

The FBI have launched their own public relations campaign against Peltier in recent months, believing President Clinton might pardon him. In April, Special Agent David J Williams wrote the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, urging Clinton to reject clemency.

"In accord with the mandate of our judicial system, Peltier should be required to serve the totality of his life sentence and never again be allowed to taste freedom," wrote Williams.

Peltier has long contended he never murdered the agents. His supporters have also charged much of the evidence against Peltier has been fabricated or discredited.

Responding to those claims, the FBI today will post some of their documents on the Peltier case on their web site today.

Today, the Lakota Student Alliance of Pine Ridge will hold a press conference at the Jumping Bull ranch, calling for healing and reconciliation.

Several members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) who resided on the ranch and members of the local community will gather to hold a ceremony for AIM member Joseph Killsright Stuntz and the two agents killed, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams. The families of the agents have been invited to participate.

"They share a common grief with us. We too lost many of our loved ones during that time. We are not enemies," said Jean Day, an AIM member who lived on the ranch.

Read Freeh's Statement:
FBI: 'Brutal slaying' at Oglala (The Talking Circle 6/26)
Peltier regrets shootout (The Talking Circle 6/26)
Ceremony marks shootout (The Talking Circle 6/26)
Shootout affected everyone (The Talking Circle 6/26)

Related Stories:
Peltier denied parole (The Talking Circle 06/13)
Peltier seeks parole (The Talking Circle 06/12)
FBI Promises to Prevent Peltier Pardon (The Talking Circle 4/21)
Peltier supporters respond (The Talking Circle 4/21)

Relevant Links:
The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee www.freepeltier.org
Amnesty International: www.amnesty.org
From the Minneapolis Division of the FBI: The Leonard Peltier Case
National Police Group Urges President to Reject All Clemency Requests for Leonard Peltier. The National Association of Police Organizations, November 10, 1999.

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