Washington, DC – The National Park Service (NPS) has cancelled a controversial grant for a project honoring the legacy of the Black Panther Party (BPP).
The Washington Free Beacon revealed that the $100,000 taxpayer-funded grant was supposed to be given to the University of California-Berkeley in an investigative story last month.
The announcement was met with public outrage.
Backlash began soon after details of the grant were made public and the Fraternal Order of Police announced that the NPS was awarding the grant to memorialize a group who had murdered one of their own park rangers in 1973.
The NPS said, in a press release, that the grant sought to “memorialize a history that brought meaning to lives far beyond the San Francisco Bay Area.”
“Committed to truthfully honoring the legacy of BPP activists and the San Francisco Bay Area communities they served, the project seeks to document the lives of activists and elders and the landscapes that shaped the movement,” the release said.
In 1973, U.S. Park Ranger Kenneth Patrick was executed by BPP Captain Veronza Leon Curtis Bowers Jr.
Patrick had stopped a car occupied by Black Panthers and they gunned him down as he walked up to the car. They started to leave, but they then returned and Bowers executed him with a shot to the head before stealing his gun.
Ranger Patrick left behind a widow and three children.
Bowers is currently serving a life sentence for murder, and continues to claim BPP membership.
Last week, the 330,000 member Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) sent a letter to President Donald Trump “expressing outrage and shock” over the proposed grant, Fox News reported.
“It is appalling that the National Park Service, Ranger Patrick’s own agency, now proposes to partner with [Berkeley] and two active members of this violent and repugnant organization,” FOP President Canterbury wrote.
“Mr. President, as far as we are concerned the only meaning they brought to any lives was grief to the families of their victims.
“According to our research, members of this militant anti-American group murdered 16 law enforcement officers over the course of their history. Among their victims was U.S. Park Ranger Kenneth C. Patrick.
“He was murdered in cold blood by three members of the Black Panther Party on 5 August 1973. His killer, who remains behind bars, still considers himself a Black Panther and a ‘political prisoner.'”
The FBI has categorized the BPP as “black extremist organization” whose members advocate for “the use of violence and guerilla tactics to overthrow the U.S. government.”