On this edition of From the Vault we pay tribute to Elmer “Geronimo” Ji Jaga Pratt (September 13, 1947 – June 3, 2011)
This decorated Vietnam War Veteran and Minister of Defense for the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party was accused and convicted of murder in 1968, despite steadfastly maintaining his innocence.
Geronimo Ji Jaga served the next 27 years of his life in prison; in 1997, Pratt’s conviction was overturned when new evidence surfaced that proved the prosecution’s chief witness, Julius Butler, was a police and FBI informant who lied under oath at the trial.
After reaching a multimillion dollar settlement with City of Los Angeles and the U.S. Department of Justice, Ji Jaga dedicated his life and resources to helping men and women he believed to be wrongly incarcerated, working until his death in his adopted homeland of Tanzania.
Today we present chilling testimony of human conviction and perseverance, as Geronimo Pratt shares his story of life behind bars from an October, 1997 address at Pasadena City College in California.