Edward Poindexter, Nebraska’s most controversial prisoner, and one of the state’s longest imprisoned at forty-eight years and counting, has been denied a news media visit. While on book tour to Nebraska for FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two story I notified the Department of Corrections to schedule a interview with Poindexter. My request was refused and I was not even allowed to visit with Poindexter minus the recording equipment previously permitted.
Poindexter and David Rice (later Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa) were convicted in April 1971 for the 1970 bombing murder of Omaha Patrolman Larry Minard. The two men were leaders of a Black Panther affiliate group and targets of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s clandestine COINTELPRO program which targeted the black activists. Both men denied any involvement in Minard’s murder. Mondo died at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in March 2016 while serving a life without parole sentence.
Director of Corrections Scott Frakes personally vetoed my interview with Poindexter. Laura Strimple, the Corrections chief of staff cited regulation changes under Frakes that now ban all cameras and recording devices inside the Nebraska State Penitentiary.
Compounding the camera ban was my removal from Poindexter’s visitation list without notice to me or Poindexter. Strimple speculated that I was previously permitted to visit without being on a visitation list. Strimple also cited the need for a background check. However, I underwent such a check in 2016 when I last visited Poindexter.
In an attempt to comply with Frakes’ directives, I requested a background check form from Strimple, who did not supply me with the document, thus ending my attempt to visit with Poindexter during my book tour to Nebraska.
The restrictions on news media visits with the ban on recording equipment and requirement to be on an inmate’s personal visiting list of friends and family is a setback to prisoner access to the community. Frakes’ media ban overturns a longstanding free press tradition in Nebraska that permitted news organizations access to prisoners. The ban now not only limits prisoners, but also censors the public from an independent view inside the prisons.
Edward Poindexter, denied a new trial and denied parole, is now also denied an opportunity to tell his story to the outside world. A voice now surrounded by a wall of silence. Locked up out of sight, out of mind, and unheard.
FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two story, in print edition at Amazon and in ebook. Portions of the book may be read free online at NorthOmahaHistory.com. The book is also available to patrons of the Omaha Public Library.