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Leonard Peltier

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In 1976, Leonard Peltier, a Native American activist and member of the American Indian Movement, was convicted of two counts of murder in the deaths of two FBI agents who were killed in a shootout at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences, which he is still serving at Leavenworth Penitentiary. Many concerns have been voiced, over the years, that Peltier was imprisoned based on fraud and misconduct of American authorities. Such discrepancies include: An FBI agent who testified that the agents followed a pickup truck onto the scene (a vehicle that could not be tied to Peltier) is alleged to have later changed his account to describe a red and white van, a vehicle type which Peltier did drive. Further, as the FBI did not record radio communications in 1975, there was an unresolved discrepancy between Agents as to whether Williams said he was pursuing a "red and white truck" or "pickup truck." Three teenaged Native American witnesses testified they saw Peltier approach the slain officers' vehicle, but they later alleged that the FBI had threatened and forced them to testify. The FBI answered that witnesses' testimony was in any case not necessary for conviction. Numerous appeals have been filed on his behalf, however, none have been ruled in his favor.


Matthiessen, Peter. 1991. In The Spirit of Crazy Horse. New York: Viking.

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Taken on April 11, 2007