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Geronimo Pratt

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Geronimo ji Jaga Pratt was one of the longest held political prisoners in the US. A former leader of the Black Panther Party, he was imprisoned from 1970 to 1997 for a crime he did not commit. This documentary was shot while Geronimo was still behind bars. In it, you can hear him tell his story, about growing up in the segregated South, serving two tours in Vietnam, how the FBI framed him, and how he viewed the situation of Black people at the time.

Through an exclusive interview with Geronimo at San Quentin prison, archival footage of the Black Panthers, family photos, and scenes from demonstrations for his release, a warm and vivid portrait of Geronimo is sketched.

This film was produced in 1988 as part of a campaign for Geronimo’s freedom. It would be almost ten more years, after he had spent 27 years in prison, that a judge finally vacated his sentence, The prosecution had not disclosed the extent to which a key witness against Pratt, Julius Butler, provided information to the FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department. An appeals court ruled this fact to be “‘favorable’ to the defendant, ‘suppressed’ by a law enforcement agency, and ‘material’ to the jury’s decision to convict” in 1999 and upheld the decision, freeing him.

Geronimo died in 2011, while living in Tanzania.