Fugative Black Panther Captured in Toronto, In Court Today
A Black Panther who has been underground for 30 years was captured tuesday in toronto, and is currently facing extradition back to the united states. He is charged with jumping bail and shooting a police officer.
. 30, 2004. 06:13 AM
CHICAGO SUN TIMES
Joseph Pannell, 19, is in custody, charged with attempted murder. Later, while on bail, he fled to Canada.
> Book sales speak volumes (July 30)
> Taking moderation to extremes (July 29)
> Edwards wins war of words (July 28)
> Gatherings shows flip side (July 27)
> Crackdown doesn't stop protesters (July 26)
> Bostonians flee (July 26)
> Operation Successful Convention (July 25)
> Canadian in Kerry's camp (July 25)
> Democrats Abroad - Canada
> Democratic National Committee Ex-Black Panther in court today
Wanted in '69 police shooting
U.S. expected to seek extradition
A former Black Panther arrested in Toronto in the shooting of a Chicago police officer 35 years ago is to appear in court today in the first step toward possible extradition to the United States.
Joseph Coleman Pannell, 55, who used the alias Douglas Freeman and worked for 13 years at the Toronto Reference Library — until he was caught by members of the immigration task force Tuesday evening — was formally rearrested yesterday under the Canada-U.S. Extradition Treaty.
He is at the Toronto West Detention Centre, where he had been held under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Yesterday afternoon, RCMP officers working with Canadian justice officials, acting at the request of the U.S. justice department, appeared before a Superior Court judge and obtained a warrant to make a "provisional arrest" under the extradition treaty.
Then two RCMP officers went to the Etobicoke jail and met Pannell at 2:20 p.m. to tell him he is now being held under extradition law.
"He absolutely said nothing," said RCMP Corporal Tony Gollub, leader of the task force team that first arrested him.
"He made no reference to anything other than the fact that he understood."
The United States now has 60 days to provide Canada with a formal request for extradition and supporting documents, a justice department official said.
Today, Pannell is scheduled to have a "provisional arrest hearing" before an Ontario Superior Court judge, where a date will be set for his bail hearing.
Pannell lived in Canada for more than 30 years without any official immigration status.
He even got an Ontario driver's licence, likely because no identification was required, Gollub said.
When he first crossed the border north in 1972, after skipping bail twice in the U.S., he was wanted for the attempted murder and aggravated battery of Terrence Knox in 1969.
Knox, the Chicago patrolman Pannell allegedly shot, suffered a severed main artery and severe nerve damage.
Now a 56-year-old retired police inspector, Knox has never fully regained the use of the arm injured in the shooting. In Canada, Pannell lived in Montreal for several years before moving to Toronto.
He was arrested on a minor customs charge in 1983 for which he was fingerprinted but never sent to jail.
Pannell started working 13 years ago at the Toronto Reference Library on Yonge St., and he eventually married a co-worker.
His Mississauga home appeared deserted last night.
Residents in the area described Pannell and his family as quiet, and said yesterday they had kept to themselves since moving in about two months ago.
"He's been a perfect neighbour. A standup guy," said 22-year-old Ricardo Gimenez, whose mother lives across the street from Pannell's house.
"I see him jogging, tending his garden. He's committed to his kids."
But on Tuesday he was arrested after he finished his shift and got into his car, which the task force was watching.
The Chicago Police Department's fugitive apprehension and cold case units had been working on Pannell's case for years when they learned last November he had Canadian contacts.
They had the FBI pass a set of fingerprints to the immigration task force.
The task force found a match through the 1983 prints and quickly linked him to Toronto and his car.
The Chicago Tribune reports today that Pannell has a stepdaughter and son who still live in Chicago. Pannell's mother is in Washington, D.C.
Rubin (Hurricane) Carter, executive director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, said Canadian justice department lawyers must make certain that there is "a prima facie case" before sending Pannell back to the United States for trial.
"Canada has been hoodwinked before," Carter said.
"There has to be hard evidence that he is the person who committed the crime."
Carter, who was wrongfully convicted of murdering three people in a New Jersey bar in 1966 and spent much of his life behind bars, said Canadian officials must look not only at the charge but at the chaotic political atmosphere in the United States at the time, when groups like the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam were pitted against the police.Carter said even if there is compelling evidence that Pannell committed the crime, the Canadian government and the courts should look very closely at every aspect of the case before deciding to send him back.
"The mitigating factors could include the kind of life he lived here in Canada during the past 30 years, whether he has any criminal record in this country, and whether he feels any remorse about what he did at the age of 19," he said.
Toronto criminal lawyer Marlys Edwardh said the passage of so many years since the crime was committed will be "very relevant" to whether federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler exercises his discretion to allow Pannell to remain in Canada if he is committed for extradition.
With files from Harold Levy and Jordan Health-Rawlings
add a comment on this article
add a comment on this article