The Nation: Huey Newton Freed

More than four years ago, Oakland Police Officer John Frey died on a main thoroughfare of four bullet wounds. Charged with his murder was Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the then fledgling, largely unknown Black Panther Party. In the intervening years, Newton was convicted, spent 33 months in prison, had his conviction overturned on appeal, and had hung juries force two mistrials. With the last mistrial, Alameda County authorities dropped all charges against Newton. The radical chant "Free Huey!" has at last passed into history.

Before the chant died, however, Newton and the Black Panthers had become an almost mythic element in...

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