The Panthers and the police gave diametrically opposed versions of Hampton’s death. The police said when they had announced themselves they were greeted with a shotgun blast. The Panthers said the cops opened fire. Hampton died in his bed, next to his pregnant wife.
Chicago authorities gave informant O’Neal a $300 bonus, charged 7 survivors with attempted murder of officers. At trial, FBI crime scene examiners testified police had fired 89 gunshots; Panthere in apartment had fired one and not come from Hampton’s room. Public outrage mounted; the U.S. Justice Department investigate; charges were dropped. A special prosecutor indicted him and 13 police officials and officers for obstruction of justice, but all were acquitted in 1972.
In 1982, the city of Chicago, Cook County, and the Justice Department paid $1.85 million, a belated admission that Hampton had been illegally targeted.