"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]

"PANTHER"

Screenplay by

Melvin Van Peebles

1995



BLACKOUT

The SCREEN stands BLACK, like a chalkboard... or a grave.

A SOUND builds, like a RADIO surfing channels. Snippets of
SONGS -- Joan Baez' "Blowin' in the Wind," James Brown's "I
Feel Good." The music of a different time.

FOOTAGE

IMAGES hit the screen: ROSA PARKS, Peace Demonstrators
stuffing FLOWERS in the barrels of National Guard rifles.
Protesters in Birmingham, rallies on the White House Lawn.

Mixed in with the MUSIC comes NEWS BITES -- quick catchwords
of 60's turmoil -- "More troops to Vietnam," "Bus Boycott,"
"Sit ins," "Draft Dodgers," "Malcolm X speaking."

Then a SINGLE PHOTO settles on screen -- a ROW of BLACK
PANTHERS, fists raised, standing defiantly together.

The IMAGE FREEZES.

VOICE
(over)
The Black Panthers...

As the PHOTO FADES, LIGHTS APPEAR. A SHAPE takes form. The
BAY BRIDGE arcs over silent water, spanning two worlds.

VOICE
(over)
People still ask me how it all
started? How things went so far? And
like a lot of questions about the
Panthers, there are different answers.
Different beginnings...

Rising behind the voice, the noise of a CROWD can be heard.

VOICE
(over)
What became the Black Panthers really
started with just two guys -- Bobby
Seale and Huey Newton -- saying two
words: "Defend Yourselves..." Legend
has it they met at some coffee house
where Bobby was running down a
rhyme...

CUT TO:

EXT. COFFEE SHOP (BLACK/WHITE) - 1966 - DAY

TITLE: MARCH 17, 1965

BOBBY SEALE -- a skinny, kinetic black man sporting an Afro --
teeters on a chair in front of a small CROWD. He reads from
a crumpled sheaf of papers.

At the side of the crowd, HUEY NEWTON -- well-built, magnetic --
watches, grooving on the rhythm of the words.

BOBBY
Oh yeah. Yeah it's easy to see right
on your black and white TV. Black
man. Blue cop. Red blood. Niggers
watch other niggers die. That's right
Niggers watching niggers die. That's
the American way...

A COMMOTION starts at the rear of the crowd. TWO UNIFORMED
COPS roughly make their way to Bobby. They pull him off his
chair, cracking his head against the ground.

The cop over Bobby raises his NIGHTSTICK...

A BLACK HAND grabs the club, stopping its arc.

Shocked, the cop turns. It's HUEY. With honed precision, he
DECKS the cop with his free hand.

CUT TO:

INT. POLICE CAR (BLACK/WHITE) - 1966 - DAY

Bruised and bloody, Huey and Bobby sit next to each other as
the car moves through the streets.

VOICE
(over)
Pigs threw them in jail. There they
starting talking about black folks
oughta start standing up. No master
plan, no pot to piss in, nothing
like that. Just two fed-up brothers...
Next thing you know, you got the
Black Panther Party for Self
Defense...

CUT TO:

BLACKOUT

Again, the SCREEN goes BLACK.

VOICE
(over)
For me, it started different. A lot
different. You may as well say The
Panthers started in my front yard...

The black screen DISSOLVES into...

EXT. CLOSE-UP: SIDEWALK - DAY

CONCRETE, cracked and dirty, fills the frame. A BICYCLE whips
past, gliding down the pavement.

TITLE SEQUENCE:

EXT. 55TH AND MARKET STREETS - OAKLAND - 1967 - DAY

TITLE: OAKLAND 1967

Teeming with life on a bright day, the Ghetto moves to its
own unique cadence. A YOUNG BOY, no older than ten, pedals
down the street on his BICYCLE.

A gust of wind brushes a SHAPELY WOMAN. She GRABS a HAT and
holds tight, ignoring her DRESS rising in the wind. The BOY
ogles her juicy thighs.

SHAPELY WOMAN
Shucks I see you staring, but I ain't
letting go. Them hips is almost forty
years old but the hat is brand new!

AFRAID, the boy PASSES an OAKLAND POLICE CAR, cruising slowly
down Market. A WHITE COP scans the street.

EXT. MARKET STREET - DAY

Continuing his ride, the BOY passes TYRONE (20's) -- a TOUGH
YOUTH -- who GLARES at the cop car, LEAFLETS in his HANDS.

EXT. MARKET STREET - DAY

BLACK HANDS pour a CAN of LEMON JUICE into a BOTTLE of cheap
WHITE PORT. Shaking the mixture, then swigging it, ROSE (30's) --
an aimless drunk -- passes it to his FRIENDS.

ROSE
Yes indeed, that Bitter Dog...
(to the Boy)
What's up little brother?

Smiling, the YOUNG BOY waves to the sidewalk drinkers, then
moves on.

EXT. MARKET STREET - DAY

Eyes downcast, the BOY passes REVEREND SLOCUM (50's) -- a
passionate preacher.

EXT. MARKET STREET - DAY

On the street corner, SABU (20's) -- a Superfly young hustler
with a fast mouth -- trying to sell cigarette lighters to a
couple of HARD HATS heading off to work.

SABU
I'm telling you, man. The perfect
gift for the sophisticated lady in
your life. Light up her flame with
some solid gold satisfaction and get
a second one half price for your
wife. Can't beat my price with a
stick, baby.

CY, a large man with an eye-patch, walks up and tries, in
vain, to get one of Sabu's bogus lighters to light.

CY
Sabu, why're you still tryin' to
sell these raggedy ass, non workin'
Korean lighters man?

The HARD HATS drive off laughing as Sabu curses CY out. The
boy continues on heading for the corner.

END TITLE SEQUENCE:

EXT. INTERSECTION - 55TH AND MARKET STREETS - DAY

Suddenly a HORN blares, BRAKES screech.

Brutal, fast, a CAR plows into the child, sending him and
the bike bouncing against the windshield and back on the
pavement, bleeding... dead.

EXT. APARTMENT HOUSE - 55TH STREET - DAY

JUDGE (20's) -- an intense young man wearing a FATIGUE JACKET --
STARES numbly at the child in the street. Neighborhood people
move toward the scene.

A WOMAN, perhaps the boy's mother, WAILS next to the body.

Judge's Mom, RITA (50's) -- raw boned and sharp eyed --
stands, drawn toward the tragedy.

RITA
Oh lord... not again...

EXT. INTERSECTION - DAY

A CROWD -- including Reverend Slocum, Cy and the DRINKERS --
gathers near the child and the wailing woman. Across from
Judge, TYRONE keeps an angry distance from the horror.

CY
God damn... Kid never had a chance...

ROSE
Mothafuck... Hey!!! What the hell!!!

The CAR backs up, trying to leave the scene.

Market street regulars SWARM around the retreating vehicle,
hitting it with fists, sticks, bottles. Young and old move
together, their faces contorted with RAGE.

JUDGE
(over)
People were pissed off. Neighborhood
had been begging for a stoplight
since before dirt was invented. Way
I saw it then, that boy dying was
another shitty thing in a world full
of shit.

CUT TO:

EXT. APARTMENT HOUSE - DAY

Eyes locked on the dead child, JUDGE stands, angry and
impassive.

JUDGE
(over)
Way I see it now... That day. That
intersection. That's where it started
for me.
(a pause)
Only, I didn't know it then...

EXT. CLOSE UP: INTERSECTION PAVEMENT - DAY

Running red past a SMALL sneakered foot, BLOOD streams toward
the gutter.

CUT TO:

EXT. CLOSE UP: BASKETBALL COURT - NIGHT

A BASKETBALL bounces off the cement, SNEAKERED FEET scramble
past.

EXT. BASKETBALL COURT - NIGHT

JUDGE drives in for a basket, pursued by CY. It's a friendly
three on three street game. The MARKET STREET DRINKERS --
including ROSE -- fill out Cy and Judge's teams.

Young neighborhood MEN watch the game and shoot the shit.
One of them, JAMAL, sports a beard and a DASHIKI.

Somewhere a RADIO plays James Brown's "Say it Loud"

EXT. BASKETBALL COURT - NIGHT

Gliding around Cy, Judge sinks a basket. ROSE retrieves the
ball.

ROSE
You supposed to be a wounded vet,
Motherfucka. What you do in 'Nam
anyway, shoot gooks or shoot hoops?

JUDGE
All of the above, man...
(a pause)
And then some.

Shaking off the memory, Judge takes the ball in, PASSING it
to a teammate. The BALL arcs through the air...

EXT. BASKETBALL GAME - NIGHT

HANDS grab the ball before the teammate can. TYRONE'S hands.

The GAME stops dead. Tyrone holds the ball, eyeing the players
with contempt. At his side stands LITTLE BOBBY (16) hyper,
childlike.

TYRONE
Tell me, don't you fine black men
got anything better to do than play
games?

ROSE
Sure I do, but your sister's busy.
Gimme the damn ball.

Tyrone passes the ball HARD to Rose.

TYRONE
Here... Take it. I thought some
righteous brothers like you might
help us out, but I guess that ain't
you...

JAMAL
(stepping forward)
Help who? With what?

TYRONE
Your community! That's who. Maybe
you didn't know but a kid died today.

LITTLE BOBBY
That's three this year... same spot.

TYRONE
Damn straight. And old Reverend
Slocum's having a vigil on that
corner, trying to get a stoplight
put in.

JUDGE
(to Cy)
My Mom's at that.

ROSE
Funny you don't look like church
folk to me.

TYRONE
Oh I ain't. But it seems The Man's
getting uptight about black folk
standing in the street, causing a
fuss. What I'm asking for, is some
of your able black asses to come
down and be "Observers" on the cops.
Take down badge numbers. They don't
like pulling shit with too many eyes
on 'em. So that's how you can help,
not by praying but by watching.

DRINKER #1
Not me. This able black ass ain't
fucking with no cops.

Others MUMBLE in agreement, moving away from Tyrone.

JAMAL
Look, I understand but if some Blacks
insist on trying to interact with
the white man, that's not our concern.
We are African, "brother." Mother
Africa is the only...

Anger FLASHES in Tyrone's eyes. His voice turn knifelike.

TYRONE
No, you look, you phony ass boojie
nigger. We ain't in Africa, we're in
Oakland. And in Oakland we got police
brutality. We got the white man
interacting his billy club up against
the black man's head. Now if that
don't bother you, then take your
skirt wearing ass back to Africa...
"Uncle."

Jamal -- very angry -- takes a step toward Tyrone. Tyrone
backs him down with one fearsome look.

TYRONE
Try it.

Jamal backs away, joining Rose and the exiting drinkers.

LITTLE BOBBY
(watching them go)
Chickenshit boojie...

TYRONE
(to Judge and Cy)
What about you two? You were there,
you saw that kid?

JUDGE
I saw... but...

TYRONE
But nothing... you do live here don't
you?

Judge glares evenly back at Tyrone, sizing him up.

JUDGE
Yeah, I do.

TYRONE
(to Judge and Cy)
Well, act like it. Come on.

Tyrone and Little Bobby leave the court. After a beat, Judge
and Cy follow. ROSE calls after them, BAITING.

ROSE
You young niggas crazy. The Man ain't
gonna let us have no say in running
shit! Keep it up and he's gonna come
down on our ass like a ton of
bricks...

EXT. CITY STREET - NIGHT

Taking confident strides, Tyrone and Little Bobby lead Cy
and Judge down the street.

TYRONE
Don't let the cops provoke you. We're
there to watch and take badge
numbers...

JUDGE
And who is we?

LITTLE BOBBY
Brother where you been?
(a smile)
We're the Black Panthers.

Cy and Judge register the name.

CY
The Panthers...
(to Bobby)
How old are you?

LITTLE BOBBY
Sixteen.

TYRONE
(chuckling)
Shit, we made him get his moms to
give permission before he could sign
up.

JUDGE
Just a kid.

TYRONE
Yeah, well, cops kick the shit out
of kids too.

EXT. 55TH AND MARKET - NIGHT

A CIRCLE of church folk hold flickering CANDLES in the middle
of the intersection. Slocum's there as well as RITA. Their
faces are silent, passive in the candlelight.

POLICE CARS can be seen parked at the curbs. A small CADRE
of cops stands watching the congregation.

Tyrone, Judge and Cy approach the vigil. Looking around,
they spot other YOUNG BLACK MEN staked out at the four corners
of the intersection.

JUDGE
I thought you said all the Panthers
were gonna be here.

TYRONE
What you see is what you got.
(pointing)
That's' Bobby Seale.

Judge's eyes pick BOBBY out, skinny, notebook at the ready.

TYRONE
Carter... buddy of mine from way
back... And Gene...

CARTER -- enormous, terrifying -- comes into view, then GENE --
a wiry street tough.

LITTLE BOBBY
And that... that's Huey...

Judge strains to focus on HUEY NEWTON -- who's just a
SILHOUETTE against a streetlight. There's a BOOK in his right
hand and an aura of power surrounding him.

CY
Ain't too many of you is there?

TYRONE
(a slight smile)
Only takes a single grain of sand to
move the world...

LITTLE BOBBY
(spotting something)
Heads up!!!!

EXT. INTERSECTION - NIGHT

A PATROL CAR floats to a quick stop at the curb. White haired,
red-faced, SERGEANT SCHRECK bounds from the car.

SGT. SCHRECK
What in the Sam Hell is this?

PATROLMAN
A vigil for some pickaninny got hit
here.

SGT. SCHRECK
Vigil my ass...

Schreck GRABS a BULLHORN from the car.

SCHRECK
(through the bullhorn)
Listen up, you all have 30 seconds
to disperse and return to your homes.

The LINE OF COPS takes a small step toward the black folks.

SCHRECK
Failure to do so will result in your
immediate arrest...

The churchgoers flail a bit. Suddenly, with HUEY in the
background, SLOCUM steps up and with a look of defiant piety,
begins SINGING "We Shall Not Be Moved."

With gathering force the CONGREGATION joins in the song.

Schreck ROLLS HIS EYES and makes a MOTION with his hand.

EXT. INTERSECTION - NIGHT

COPS wade into the crowd, herding them away. A patrolman
pushes a MIDDLE AGED MAN, with his NIGHTSTICK.

PATROLMAN
Go on get your black hide outta
here...

The MAN STUMBLES. By reflex, the cop RAISES his nightstick.
TYRONE -- on instinct -- PUSHES the cop away.

CHAOS erupts. BILLY CLUBS snap up. Terrified, the congregation
RUNS.

BULLHORN
You are resisting arrest!...

Police slap and snatch Black folks right and left. Judge
bounces around in the confusion. Bobby Seale can be seen
trying to get badge numbers.

Judge's eyes widen as he sees RITA running toward an alley,
a COP right on her ass.

JUDGE
Oh shit Mom...

Judge runs toward her.

The cop lifts his BILLY CLUB over Rita... Boom!! Carter
PUNCHES the cop straight off his feet.

A PAIR OF COPS have thrown Tyrone down on the ground --
PISTOLS pressed against his head.

Judge moves to Tyrone's aid. A RIFLE BUTT flashes out,
cracking across Judge's temple, sending him into DARKNESS.

INT. HOLDING CELL - NIGHT

Judge slowly comes to on the filthy floor. Cy, a few nasty
bruises on his face, kneels next to him protectively.

JUDGE
(amazed, in pain)
Jesus...

Disoriented, Judge sees TYRONE and the other PANTHERS. They're
a rag tag little group, battered, locked down. SLOCUM'S there
too.

Coming fully awake, Judge realizes SOMEONE is speaking. It's
HUEY, his voice powerful and arresting in its urgency.

HUEY
(over)
The power structure locks the black
man up. That's right. We move from
chains to bars and locks. Kangaroo
courts put brothers in jail. No jury
of our peers. No jury of black folks.
How do we stop this insanity? It's
simple. Organization. That's the
key. We must organize. We must
maintain discipline...

Judge peers through the bodies and sees HUEY.

TYRONE
That's right brother... listen and
learn.

HUEY
The white power structure wants us
to act like savages.
(a smile)
But we're a different kind of animal
altogether. We're Panthers. And The
Black Panther Party for Self Defense
is very painfully aware that America
has historically reserved its most
barbaric treatment for non-white
people since the beginning of the
country. So we need to organize, we
(a charismatic smile)
keep our shit correct! And effect
revolution. We revolve the power
into the hands of the people. Where
it belongs.
(a beat)
Power to the people baby...

GENE
Power? Shit, old folks can't even
sing without getting their asses
kicked.

HUEY
Well, then like the man said... Maybe
it's time we stop singing and start
swinging.

CARTER
Yeah, but they got the guns.

Something -- some inexplicable mixture of mirth, raw
intelligence and fierce willpower -- crosses Huey's face.

HUEY
We can change that. We got the right
to bear arms, so I'd say it's time
to exercise that right. Like Comrade
Mao says, "Justice through power,
Power through guns."

EXT. COURTHOUSE STEPS - DAY

Blinking in the sunlight, the Panthers descend wearing a
collective grin of relief.

TYRONE
Chickenshits, just harassing our
ass, we weren't breaking any law.

REV. SLOCUM
But at least we're free! God has
delivered us from the lion's den.

BOBBY
Free? We're back where we started.
Shit we still don't have a stop light.

HUEY
Well as the Rev says, God helps those
who help themselves.
(a smile)
We'll be our own stoplight.

EXT. INTERSECTION - DAY

Huey marches into the middle of the street. Amid swerving
cars and screeching brakes he begins DIRECTING TRAFFIC.

EXT. STREET - DAY

Judge and Cy split off as the other Panthers march into the
intersection, joining Huey's traffic duty.

CY
(pointing)
Check it out... Great huh? I tell
you those guys know what time it is.
Man I'm with that...

JUDGE
I don't know. Look around man.

CY
C'mon Judge we got to start somewhere.

JUDGE
Yeah, and I'm gonna start by getting
on my feet. Working on things from
inside the system.

CY
Inside ain't in the system.
(poking Judge)
It's right there inside you!! I'm
joining up.

Judge's face cracks into a wry SMILE. Suddenly his smile
fades when he spots RITA staring at him from her stoop.

JUDGE
I... I gotta go...

Judge crosses the street, heading over to his mother.

EXT. BROWNSTONE - DAY

Concern searing her face, Rita regards her son warily.

JUDGE
It's okay Mom. I'm allright.

RITA
You don't look alright.

JUDGE
(touching his head)
Yeah... cop hit me...

RITA
I saw. I saw that big one
(pointing to Carter)
hit that police man. Saw 'em drag
you off too.
(a beat)
They take you to jail?

JUDGE
(soft)
Yeah.

RITA
Lord, never thought I'd live to see
my boy in prison.

JUDGE
Mom! It wasn't like that. It was
bullsh... They were just harassing
us. No charges were filed. It's
alright.

Worry in her voice, Rita stares across at the Panthers.

RITA
You meet those friends of yours in
jail too?

JUDGE
Yes... No... Mom it's not like you
think. They're alright. There out
there trying to do something.

RITA
I hear them boys, those Black
Panthers, they're communists. They
don't even believe in God.

JUDGE
Mom, black folks been praying to God
for four hundred years. Maybe it's
time we tried something else...

RITA
You believe that?

JUDGE
I don't know. I really don't.

A moment passes, Rita notes her son's confusion.

RITA
I'll tell you one thing Judge...

EXT. INTERSECTION - DAY

Following Huey's lead, the Panthers move traffic through the
intersection. CY'S with them, guiding cars past.

RITA
(over)
Them boys gonna start a bunch of
trouble they keep on like that.

INT. OAKLAND POLICE HEADQUARTERS- DAY

DORSETT, the Chief Duty Officer, shifts behind his desk,
popping a TUMS. A VOICE comes from the doorway.

RODGERS
(over)
Those things don't work...

Looking up, Dorsett sees RODGERS -- a hawk-faced guy with
slippery glasses. He's FBI down to the shine on his shoes.

DORSETT
Don't I know it. Come on in Agent
Rodgers. Sit down. Always a...
pleasure to see you. How can I be of
help?

RODGERS
It's a bit more like how can we help
you. Bay Area's become quite a
hornet's nest in terms of subversive
activities. And... well Mr. Hoover
wants to reiterate that the FBI will
be happy to assist local authorities
in any way we can. On a strictly
advisory basis... of course.

DORSETT
Of course. Well, I appreciate your
offer, but we got things pretty well
under control. Same bunch of kooks
you guys already have under
surveillance. They're still doing a
lot of yelling and pot-smoking but
nothing to worry about.

RODGERS
(cocking an eyebrow)
I see. What about the Black Panther
Party for Self-Defense?

DORSETT
Heh, bunch of shines running around
in dark caps waving their fists about
some streetlight. They're loud, but
they aren't dangerous,

RODGERS
Can you make a deal with them?

DORSETT
Naw... They're kids mostly. Idealists.
They actually think they're for real.

RODGERS
Hmmm. As you know the Bureau -- and
Mr. Hoover -- is particularly
"sensitive" to anything that might
agitate or solidify the coloreds on
the left.

Dorsett pauses for a second, trying to read the angle.

DORSETT
You want me to put a man on it?

RODGERS
That would be an excellent start.
(a pause)
Tell him to keep a low profile.

EXT. FIFTY FIFTH AND MARKET - DAY

Panthers direct traffic at the corner. On the other side of
the street a VW BUS with a UC BERKELEY sticker sits.

SABU's talking to a WHITE HIPPIE in the bus.

SABU
What do you want? Panama Red? I can
get you Panama Red Sinsemilla? Got a
line on some chocolate hash... get
you high as a motherfucking monkey...

WHITE HIPPIE
Uhh... man I was wondering...
(dropping his voice)
can you get some Cocaine?

SABU
Coke? Shee-it.
(dropping his voice)
Yeah, I can get you cocaine. But
it's dangerous. Cops everywhere.
Gimme twenty dollars and meet me
back here in an hour. And don't fuck
around white boy, this is the serious
shit.

WHITE HIPPIE
Uh okay, alright. You'll be here in
an hour?

SABU
Yeah I'll be here.

Sabu grabs a TWENTY from the van. He SMILES as the van pulls
away.

SABU
(to himself)
Now that was one dumb motherfucker...

Cy, Tyrone at his side, APPEARS.

CY
Sabu, what the fuck you doing? Ain't
nobody gonna push on this street.

SABU
Shit, I ain't doing nothing. White
bread asks for cocaine, I take his
money. Shit... you know... It was
just a hustle.

CY
Sabu... High white dude's the only
thing you could hustle.

SABU
Man... fuck you. Why you always
bustin' my balls? All that high and
mighty militant shit. I ain't doing
nothing.

TYRONE
I dig, you just hustling. But you
make sure it stays like that brother,
or you will have much grief on your
sorry ass.

Cy lets Sabu go. He scrambles down the street.

SABU
(to himself)
Motherfucking Panthers, worse than
the police...

INT. UNMARKED CAR - FIFTY FIFTH AND MARKET - DAY

Nestled among empty paper COFFEE CUPS, BRIMMER - a once
athletic white cop -- watches the Panthers at the corner. He
stubs yet another CIGARETTE into an overflowing ashtray.

Brimmer sees CY taking over traffic duty from CARTER. There's
a NOTEPAD on the seat next to Brimmer. He makes a HASH MARK
in it -- COUNTING Panther heads.

EXT. STAIRS - DAY

Bottle of BITTER DOG in hand, Rose sits with the other
drinkers, STARING at Brimmer's car. Taking a swig and smiling
at his buddies, Rose walks toward the car.

EXT. UNMARKED CAR - DAY

Sauntering up to the car, Rose flashes a wicked grin.

ROSE
What's the matter Casper, you lost
or something?

Brimmer IGNORES him.

ROSE
Hey! I'm talking to you.

Rolling his eyes, BRIMMER holds up his BADGE. A gold
DETECTIVE'S shield gleams at Rose through the glass.

ROSE
Ohhhh... Looky there...
(to the other drinkers)
It's a Cop...

Behind him the other drinkers RISE, checking Brimmer out.

INT. BRIMMER'S CAR - DAY

Brimmer fumes, so much for keeping a low profile.

BRIMMER
Fuck.

The Detective STARTS his car.

EXT. FIFTY FIFTH AND MARKET - DAY

Rose and the others goofing at him, Brimmer PULLS AWAY from
the curb.

EXT. PANTHER HQ - DAY

BRIMMER'S CAR glides by the storefront.

INT. PANTHER HQ - DAY

HUEY talks earnestly with TYRONE and GENE.

HUEY
...Yeah, it's a perfect next step,
let the community know that we're
dedicated to Malcolm's ideals...
(checking his watch)
Damn where's Bobby Seale?

BOBBY SEALE, a whirlwind of energy, come careening through
the door.

BOBBY SEALE
Huey!! Man you gotta check this out...
You're gonna love...

HUEY
(interrupting)
Hold up a second... We got a decision
to make.

BOBBY SEALE
What's up?

HUEY
Dig it, you know those brothers over
in San Fran... call themselves the
Black Panthers too?

BOBBY SEALE
Sure, those boojie jokers don't do
anything except print up a lotta
paper saying "Black is Beautiful."

TYRONE
Shit, nothing but Paper Panthers.

HUEY
(a smile)
Yeah... but it seems they're bringing
Malcolm's widow Betty Shabazz to
town, to speak at a rally, do an
interview for Ramparts.
(a pause)
And they want us to help with
security.

BOBBY
Well if anyone's gonna protect
Malcolm's legacy it better be us.

HUEY
Damn straight...
(rising)
Let's go check out these Paper
Panthers.

CUT TO:

EXT. BLACK PANTHER OFFICE - DAY

BOBBY'S PONTIAC sits in front of a rather upscale house, on
a street that would never be mistaken for Oakland.

INT. BLACK PANTHER OFFICE - DAY

Looking street and very tough, BOBBY, HUEY, TYRONE, LITTLE
BOBBY and GENE walk in. Spotting them, ROY -- the Paper
Panther President -- picks his afro and smoothes his DASHIKI
vainly.

In the background other men in AFRICAN GARB can be seen,
along with ALMA - a REGAL BLACK GIRL.

ROY
Greetings African brothers... You're
here to help us with Sister Shabazz
no doubt?

TYRONE
(under his breath)
Fucking boojie...

HUEY
That's right. We'd be proud to provide
as escort for Malcolm's widow. How
many men you got?

ROY
(to Alma)
Get the brothers a beer. Me too while
you're at it.
(to Huey)
Men? Well we can spare six for
security...

HUEY
(to Alma, declining
the beer)
No thank you sister.
(to Roy)
Six?!! That seems a little light.
Cops are watching Betty, watching
her hard. We need at least twenty
men. And that's twenty armed Panthers
dig? You do have guns don't you?

ROY
I assure you that we as the
revolutionary vanguard are as serious
about this as you are. We'll be
prepared.

EXT. BLACK PANTHER OFFICE - DAY

Disgusted, HUEY stalks to the car with the others.

TYRONE
They ain't fit for the name Panthers.

BOBBY
Twenty men? I don't know if we got
that.

HUEY
We'll get them. Right now we got to
worry about being armed and ready to
protect Betty Shabazz. Those phonies
sure as hell can't. We need guns.

TYRONE
We need money first...

HUEY
Yeah... Bobby you gotta...

BOBBY
(moving)
Got it covered Huey, that's what I
was trying to tell you before. Check
it out...

Bobby's pops the PONTIAC'S TRUNK. BOXES sit inside it,
overflowing with LITTLE RED BOOKS.

BOBBY
Bought every copy in Chinatown. Got
us a discount too, thirty cents a
piece.

CUT TO:

EXT. SATHER GATE - BERKELEY CAMPUS - DAY

In the stream of students, Tyrone, Huey and THE PANTHERS
hold up Mao's LITTLE RED BOOK. A RADIO can be heard blaring
Gladys Knight's "Heard it through the Grapevine."

HUEY
Here it is Brothers. The Lowdown
straight from comrade Mao's mouth.
(to Bobby)
If you open the minds, the bodies
will follow.

CARTER moves toward Huey with TWO WHITE STUDENTS

CARTER
(looking confused)
Huey uhhh... these... these guys
want to join...

Huey smiles and shakes his head congenially.

HUEY
I'm sorry boys. But right now The
Party feels it's important for Black
People to do it for themselves. We're
not signing up white folk.
(the trademark smile)
But, if you are down with what we're
doing, organize some righteous white
folks. I got a feeling we're gonna
need each other.

EXT. SATHER GATE - DAY

Judge, holding notes and SCHOOLBOOKS spots the Panthers. Cy
catches his eye.

JUDGE
Hey, this what they got you doing
now?

CY
Party needs the bread.
(to the students)
Be hip to the struggle, only a
dollar!!!

STUDENT
A dollar? Far out! Is it authentic?

CY
Comrade, this here's the real deal,
straight from Revolution HQ.

STUDENT
Huh?
(catching on)
Hey, I can dig it man.
(buying book)
Thanks! Long live the revolution,
brother.

CY
(to Judge, pocketing
the bills)
Money's cool, but what the party
really needs is brothers like you.
(hands Judge a RED
BOOK)
Judge I could use someone like you.
These books, hell I don't know half
the words. You might.

JUDGE
Have to pass on the revolution today
man, I got class... But how about
tonight, I was gonna check out "Cloud
Nine." Just like old times.

CY
Can't... they're having a PE meeting
at Headquarters tonight, come on
down. Check it out.

JUDGE
PE? What? You guys doing gym class?

CY
No man. PE -- "political education."

TYRONE moves closer to Cy, checking out Judge

TYRONE
You're a smart brother... you should
dig what Huey and Bobby got to say...

JUDGE
Maybe...

TYRONE
(a smile)
Fuck maybe... be there.

Judge grins back at Tyrone, holding ground.

JUDGE
Like I said... maybe.

EXT. PANTHER HEADQUARTERS - 56TH AND GROVE - NIGHT

Essentially a storefront, the PANTHER HQ's a rag-tag, hipster
shrine. POSTERS hangs in the window -- "BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL,"
the BLACK PANTHER LOGO, an upraised BLACK FIST.

CY and JUDGE walk past a couple of loitering street folk.
ROSE is there, happily munching on a paper plate of stew.

JUDGE
Rose, what the hell you doing here?

ROSE
Just come for the food, man. Ain't
quite sure what their bag is but...

Rose POINTS through the doorway to BOBBY SEALE standing at a
podium speaking front of a very small GROUP.

ROSE
That one's one hell of a cook...

INT. PANTHER HEADQUARTERS - NIGHT

Little Bobby and Tyrone PASS out LEAFLETS labeled with "What
we want" and What we Believe" to a SMALL ASSEMBLY.

At the podium, Bobby SPEAKS passionately. Judge and Cy make
for empty secondhand seat.

BOBBY
...We... the Black Panther Party are
not anarchists. We want a government
that serves the people. In the black
community we want a government that
serves black people. Black cops for
Black People. Not the Army we have
occupying the community "Army?" you
ask. "What army? This isn't Vietnam."
Well the Army's right out your door
folks. They're the cops.

A chorus of "Yeahs," "Right Ons and APPLAUSE."

BOBBY
They're pigs brothers and sisters.
And these pigs are soldiers fighting
against us. Whether you got an Afro
or a process on. Whether a sister's
got her hair straightened or whether
she's got a natural on. Whether it's
a brother in a dashiki or a pimp
with a sharp suit on. Whether a
sister's prostituting or teaching
kids to read. The pig will murder
you because you're black. No matter
what kind of hair you wear. So we
best get ourselves together, organize,
learn our history and put the power
in the hands of the black community
before this army, these pigs wipe
this community out.

Applause rings out. Even JUDGE claps.

INT. PANTHER HQ - NIGHT

Political Education over, the small group of Panthers and
neighborhood folk, chat as Judge makes his way over to Cy.

CY
...Glad you came man.

JUDGE
Yeah, only I figure you'd be the one
doing the speaking.

CY
Not yet, one of these day's maybe.
Bobby's party chairman. Political
Education's really his bag.

Huey steps up with TYRONE.

HUEY
You're Cy's Vietnam buddy right?
(Judge nods)
C'mere I'd like to talk with you...

Huey pulls Judge toward a BACK ROOM, Tyrone watches them
leave, protective, suspicious...

HUEY
You were. infantry right?

JUDGE
Yeah.

HUEY
So I guess it's safe to say you know
about firepower.

INT. YANG'S HARDWARE - SAN FRANCISCO - NIGHT

CLOSE UP: A nest of WEAPONS -- shotguns, M1's, handguns --
sit is on a DESK in the cluttered back room of the store.

Judge's hands run over the guns, checking them out. He sets
an AUTOMATIC aside.

JUDGE
Busted firing pin.
(checking a revolver)
You want only the legal stuff right?

TYRONE
Just the legit shit.

Judge SETS ASIDE the revolver.

MR. YANG -- a nervous oriental man -- hovers over them.

MR. YANG
Nothing wrong with that pistol.

JUDGE
Serial number's been filed. Cop
catches you with that he figures you
either stole it or killed someone
with it...

MR. YANG
I don't want no trouble. No cops
coming to me about these guns.

HUEY
No trouble here. You got a permit to
sell.
(handing over cash)
We're buying. All perfectly legal.

MR. YANG
(counting)
These are worth a lot more.

BOBBY SEALE
(pointing to a Mao
portrait)
I thought you were a revolutionary.
We can't afford em if you don't cut
us some slack. But... you treat us
right and we'll be doing a lot of
business.

MR. YANG
Alright.

EXT. HARDWARE STORE - NIGHT

Cy and Tyrone load the weapons into Cy's VAN. Bobby, Huey,
and Judge talk.

HUEY
We appreciate your help with this.

JUDGE
So what's the deal?

HUEY
(a smile)
Freedom... We're just gonna test
some of the words in that law book.

Truck loaded, the Panthers make to leave. Huey lingers a bit
with Judge.

HUEY
Judge... we're doing security for
Betty Shabazz's visit next week. I'd
like to have someone who knows there
way around a pistol there. Someone
like you.

JUDGE
I don't know.

HUEY
You are down for protecting Malcolm's
widow aren't you?

JUDGE
Yeah... let me think about it.

HUEY
Okay man I ain't going to push. But
remember the revolution isn't going
to wait for anyone. Come on, we'll
give you a lift.

JUDGE
No man. Gonna walk.

Tyrone watches Judge warily as he turns and walks away.

MONTAGE:

EXT. CITY STREETS - NIGHT

Judge, feet moving across pavement, walks alone.

INT. CLASSROOM - DAY

A WHITE PROFESSOR nasally drones about ECONOMICS as Judge
stares out the window, watching PANTHERS sell RED BOOKS.

EXT. GHETTO - DAY

Panthers exhorting the community. Chaos slowly turning into
organizations, repainting, sickle cell program, and handing
out bags of food as BRIMMER watches from his car.

EXT. CITY STREETS - DAY

A COP CRUISER slowly passes Judge as he walks, shining its
SPOTLIGHT on him.

INT. JUDGE AND CY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

It's late. Judge studies a TEXT BOOK. Next to it sits MAO'S
RED BOOK. He can't concentrate. Grabbing his jacket, Judge
heads out the DOOR.

END MONTAGE:

INT. BOBBY'S PONTIAC NIGHT

Huey's DRIVING. Bobby's next to him, a RIFLE on his lap.
Tyrone and CY sit in back. They're all in UNIFORM.

HUEY
(to Cy)
This here's a "Panther Patrol." We
see a brother getting busted. We
check it out, make sure the pig don't
go beating on the man. Brother gets
taken downtown, we post bail, hook
'em up with a lawyer.

TYRONE
We're like policing the police.

Huey SPOTS something through the windshield a COP CAR.

HUEY
(pulling over)
Damn straight.

EXT. GROVE STREET - NIGHT

TWO BEEFY COPS have a BLACK MAN up against the wall. Panther's
Pontiac pulls to the curb. The cops TURN...

HUEY -- holding a RIFLE, backed by the other Panthers --
stares solidly at the policeman.

BEEFY COP #1
(into radio)
Get me some back up...

In the BACKGROUND, the man against the wall SCOOTS AWAY.

EXT. STREET - NIGHT

Walking thinking, Judge moves down the street. After a bit,
RED LIGHTS can be seen on the wall behind him. Judge MOVES
quickly toward the lights, SPOTTING something.

EXT. GROVE STREET - NIGHT

Near Panther HQ, FIGURES move in silhouette against a SQUAD
CAR's HEADLIGHTS.

High tension as HUEY and BOBBY SEALE stand next to the beat
up PONTIAC holding a RIFLE. THE BEEFY COP faces him --
flashlight in one hand, Huey's LICENSE in the other.

Cy, Tyrone and other Panthers -- in full PANTHER UNIFORMS --
move through the crowd passing out BLACK PANTHER PARTY TEN
POINT PROGRAMS.

BEEFY COP
Okay now, er, Huey, so what's your
telephone number?

HUEY
I have confirmed to you my address,
that's all I'm required to by law to
do. We have broken no law.

BEEFY COP
What are you doing with the gun?

HUEY
(calm, controlled)
What are doing with yours?.

As JUDGE pushes through the semi-circle of black folks, TWO
MORE SQUAD CARS pull up. The cops inside swagger over. One
of them a BABY FACED COP, has his NIGHT STICK drawn.

BABY FACED COP
These boys giving you trouble?

Beefy Cop shines his light on the PASSENGER SEAT of the
Pontiac. It illuminates a PISTOL.

BEEFY COP
Here's another one. That your pistol
there?

Bobby Seale reaches over and PICKS UP the pistol. The Panthers
snap to a STRAIGHT LINE behind Huey.

BOBBY
No! It is not his weapon. A handgun
would be a violation of his probation.
It's mine!

Nearby, THE CLOUD NINE NIGHTCLUB pulses with MUSIC. Purple
suited hipsters move onto the sidewalk observing the
escalating scene between Panthers and police.

BEEFY COP
(stretching out his
hand)
Lemme see that rifle son...

HUEY
(snatching the gun
away)
No! This is my private property.
According to California law we have
a constitutional right to bear arms.

BLACK VOICE IN CROWD
Them's some badass niggers...

COP 2
(to the crowd)
Okay. Okay. Move along. Go on about
your business...

Reluctant but docile, the crowd begins to DISPERSE.

HUEY
Wait!! Brothers! Sisters!! You don't
have to go anywhere. This is your
business. Stay right here. The law
says as long as you keep a reasonable
distance, eight to ten feet to be
exact, you've got a right to observe
the police carrying out their duties.
From what I can see, you're standing
some 22 feet away from this man here.
So brothers ain't no law being broken.

Emboldened by Huey's words, the crowd REGROUPS.

BLACK VOICE IN CROWD
Talk that good shit Brother...

BEEFY COP
Is that gun loaded BOY?!!

The crowd GASPS, then goes silent as Huey steps right up
into the cop's face.

HUEY
Fish and Game laws clearly state
that it is unlawful to have a live
round of ammunition in the chamber
of a shotgun or rifle in a vehicle...
PIG!!

BLACK VOICE IN CROWD
Oh sweet Jesus, I do believe I have
died and gone to heaven...

COP #2
Refer to him as officer.

BOBBY
Well then don't refer to him as BOY!

BEEFY COP
(glaring)
Well... is it loaded?

HUEY
I tell you "officer", it wasn't...

Huey COCKS A ROUND into the chamber.

HUEY
...but now IT IS!

The cops TENSE. The Beefy One blows a gasket.

BEEFY COP
For the last time Boy!!! What do
those guns mean??!!

HUEY
They mean, Pig!, that the Black
Panther Party declares that if you
try to brutalize our community or
take our weapons.
(a beat)
We are going to shoot you!!!

The crowd stands FROZEN. Joy spreads out beneath their guarded
ghetto masks.

BLACK VOICE IN CROWD
(whirling like a
dervish)
Pigs that's just what the hell they
are!!!

Cops and Panthers stand TOE TO TOE. Deadly moments pass. Cop
eyes flash from Panthers to Crowd. Then something TURNS. The
cops BACK OFF, climbing into their cars.

GROVE STREET - NIGHT

Judge moves away, walking down the street. He senses the joy
and amazement of the community, picking up on SNATCHES OF
CONVERSATION from a dozen different doorways.

VOICE
(over)
Never thought I'd live to see the
day! You know the police ain't nothing
but the KKK with badges.

A breeze wafts a TEN POINT PROGRAM past Judge. Slowly,
thoughtfully he picks the leaflet up.

INT. DORSETT'S OFFICE - NIGHT

CLOSE UP: A TEN POINT PROGRAM sits in Dorsett's fleshy
fingers.

It's after hours as Dorsett, Rodgers and BRIMMER - each
holding PAMPHLETS -- have a tense "discussion".

DORSETT
One: "We want freedom. We want the
power to determine the destiny of
our Black Community." Two: "We want
full employment for our people."
Three: "We want to end the robbery
by the white man of our Black
Community." Christ, they're asking
for reparations...

RODGERS
They couldn't have thought this up
for themselves.

BRIMMER
(sarcastic)
Yeah... Sounds like the Constitution
to me. With a little of the Bill of
Rights thrown in...

RODGERS
Inspector Brimmer, this is no joke
During your surveillance have you
seen any outside agitators?
Professorial types? Communists?

BRIMMER
No. I've seen Black men handing out
bags of food. Having meetings.
Patrolling the neighborhood. Having
more meetings. They ain't...

RODGERS
They are carrying guns. They are
threatening police officers. They
are undermining the United States of
America. And you Inspector Brimmer
are not taking your duties
seriously...

DORSETT
Now hold on Rodgers...

RODGERS
Chief Dorsett, if the Black Panthers
are going to remain in your
jurisdiction, some fundamental changes
in attitude need to be made...

BRIMMER
Like?

RODGERS
Like, you Inspector Brimmer are not
going to be sitting in your car
anymore. I think it's time for a
more active type of involvement.

EXT. POLICE HEADQUARTERS - NIGHT

Beat by late hours, DORSETT walks to his car -- a brand new
CADILLAC, sitting in his 'reserved' spot.

A LIMOUSINE pulls up next to him. Its window rolls down. At
first we don't see the passenger's face.

VOICE
Evening Chief. Another hard day
keeping the streets safe?

DORSETT
(forced joviality)
What are you doing out so late?

VOICE
I like to keep an eye on my
"investments" so to speak. You know
we still need to discuss that business
expansion we spoke of.

DORSETT
(ill at ease)
Look, I don't think...

LOUIS TRAFFICANTE -- all style, all mobster -- LEANS out the
window. His right hand man, TONY, at the wheel. He points to
the Cadillac.

TRAFFICANTE
That's a beautiful car. You'd do
well to remember who paid for it.
Good night, Chief, we'll speak again
soon.

INT. JUDGE AND CY'S APARTMENT - DAY

Dawn pushes pink against the loft windows as Judge, dressed
for class, pores over Cy's copy of "Wretched of the Earth."

CY
(coming out)
Man, did you see Huey down on Grove
street? All up on that cop, that was
beautiful.

JUDGE
Yeah, it was alright. Hey, can you
give me a lift?

CY
You got it. Berkeley?

JUDGE
No, Panther Headquarters.
(a smile)
Least that way we could hang out
more like we used to.

CY
You joining? My Brother..
(hugging Judge)
My brother.

INT. PANTHER HQ - DAY

Panther HQ has improved. Bobby Seale stands behind a newly
painted display counter, interviewing NEW RECRUITS.

BOBBY'S POV - FACE MONTAGE

FACES -- all of them BLACK, all of them MEN, most of them
ANGRY -- flash into the frame, each talking.

FACE #1
Sign me up!! Just gimme a gun and
point out the cops you want me to
shoot...

FACE #2
Where's the free food at?

FACE #3
My momma, she marched with King.
Don't know exactly what kinda change
that brought. But man you put that
cop on Grove through some serious
changes!!!

FACE #4
I hear you Panther boys get the finest
pussy.

FACE #5
Vietnam man... I go there and then
come back to some honky motherfucker
telling me what to do, beating my
ass if I don't. Man... fuck that.

A FINAL FACE comes into view... JUDGE'S

CUT TO:

INT. PANTHER HQ - DAY

CY stands proudly next to Judge in front of Bobby.

CY
Judge is gonna join us.

Tyrone looks less than pleased at the news.

BOBBY
Welcome Brother, if we stand together
we can break the chains.

TYRONE
(miffed, to Judge)
Huey wants to see you.

JUDGE
Huh?

TYRONE
He had a feeling you'd be coming by.

INT. BACKROOM - DAY

Judge moves warily into the dim and musty room. As his eyes
acclimate to the gloom he spots HUEY sitting half hidden in
the shadows.

HUEY
Welcome brother, have you decided to
get down with us?

JUDGE
I'm down.

HUEY
Yeah... You were a lot of help with
those guns. Your soldier shit is bad-
ass.

JUDGE
I'd hoped I was finished with all
that. But...
(shrugs)

HUEY
You know, you're lucky to be back.
Most niggers die on the front lines.
Seems like that's what they're there
for.

JUDGE
Don't I know it. Every brother I
knew in 'Nam's dead. My company... a
land mine. Twenty of my friends dead
in less than a second.

HUEY
Mind if I ask you something? Why'd
you put up with shit like that for
someone else's war?

Judge flashes Huey a look of bare honesty.

JUDGE
Hey, GI bill pays for school. And
shit, if I stuck around here, instead
of signing up, I'd probably be in
jail, or sitting on the stoop drinking
Bitter Dog with Rose, you know?

HUEY
Yeah I know. You're smart Judge. You
ain't no bourgeois nigger like those
Paper Panthers across the bay. I
need every good man to help us with
the security on Betty Shabazz,
particularly soldiers. You do solid
on that I might have something else
for you, something real important.

JUDGE
Whatever you need, I'll be there.

HUEY
Right on Brother Judge...

Huey and Judge grip HANDS.

EXT. OAKLAND AIRPORT - DAY

TITLE: FEBRUARY 21, 1967

With tight precision, HUEY, TYRONE, JUDGE, CY, GENE, BOBBY,
CARTER and LITTLE BOBBY form a circle around BETTY SHABAZZ
guiding her past AIRPORT POLICE to a waiting car.

Led by ROY the PAPER PANTHERS seem useless in their dashikis
and fluffed Afros.

INT. RAMPARTS OFFICE - DAY

In an INNER OFFICE, Betty Shabazz talks with ELDRIDGE, a
tall man wearing sunglasses. In the OUTER OFFICE, Huey's
PANTHERS stand by while ROY'S PAPER PANTHERS do little.

ELDRIDGE
What would you tell young brothers
and sisters to do in following Brother
Malcolm's footsteps?

BETTY SHABAZZ
I'd say that Malcolm lives in each
of us. We all need to work together
for the community.
(gesturing outside)
Like those brothers out there are...

Overhearing, Roy PREENS a bit at Betty's words. Nearby JUDGE
flicks his eyes to the GUN at Roy's waistband.

JUDGE
(low)
Huey...

Suddenly ROY spots something outside... POLICE CARS, followed
closely by NEWS VANS.

ROY
(nervous)
Oh oh...

Snapping up his SHOTGUN, Huey nods to the others. Bobby Seale
pulls back his jacket revealing a .45.

Solemn, professional, Huey and the Panthers file out the
door. ROY'S PAPER PANTHERS hang behind.

EXT. RAMPARTS OFFICE - DAY

Led by Huey, the Panthers take up a line between the cops
and the office. REPORTERS, expecting another GROVE STREET,
push forward.

COP #1
(eyeing Huey's gun)
What's going on here son?

HUEY
We are breaking no law, you've have
no right to detain us.

A REPORTER spots BETTY SHABAZZ, flanked by JUDGE and TYRONE
leaving the building heading toward a car.

REPORTER
There she is!!!

Surging forward the reporters PUSH CAMERAS toward BETTY
SHABAZZ. One of them, CHUCK, tries to push HUEY away.

Controlled, Huey holds Chuck in check, watching Betty move
toward the car. Chuck PUSHES FORWARD trying to get a PICTURE.

Seeing Betty safely inside and the car PULLING AWAY, Huey
SHOVES Chuck back. Chuck makes to swing at Huey. Huey SHOVES
HIM DOWN.

HUEY
(to Cop #1)
Arrest this man!!!

COP #1
If I'm gonna arrest anyone it's going
to be you...

Fast, the PANTHERS take up position behind Huey, their GUNS
highly visible. Huey flicks the SAFETY of his shotgun.

HUEY
Not today!!

ROY come running out, UNARMED, scared yelling at Huey.

ROY
Don't point that gun!!!

COP #1
That's right be a smart nigger like
your friend.

TENSION ripples through the air as ROY runs back inside.
Huey glares at the cop.

HUEY
He's not my friend and I promise you
pig. Your men draw and this will be
a blood bath. It's your call.

EVERY PANTHER stands facing the cops, weapons at the ready.
THROUGH the glass PAPER PANTHERS can be seen HIDING.

Slowly the cops begin backing away.

CHUCK
(to the cops)
Aren't you going to do anything...

COP #1
(nervous)
Like he said asshole, they're not
breaking any law...

Screeching their TIRES the police leave.

CUT TO:

INT. BOBBY'S CAR - NIGHT

Packed in the car, Bobby, Little Bobby, Judge, Cy and Tyrone
recount the day as HUEY drives.

LITTLE BOBBY
You see that on jive dashiki man,
hiding under the desk. Shit paper
panthers.

Huey notices JUDGE'S SILENCE.

HUEY
What it be Judge. Nobody got hurt,
Sister Betty's safe. This was a good
day...

JUDGE
They were empty...

BOBBY
What was empty?

JUDGE
The Paper Panthers' guns, they weren't
loaded. I know guns man. Those guns
were empty.

Huey's KNUCKLES TIGHTEN on the steering wheel.

EXT. YARD - DAY

FISH fries on a grill as ROY and the PAPER PANTHERS celebrate.
Alma's looking DISGUSTED with the whole thing.

ROY
Like I say Brothers we are the
vanguard.
(to Alma)
Get me a beer... I tell you once
Cleaver's story comes out, we're
gonna...

ROY'S face DROPS as HUEY AND THE OTHER PANTHERS appear at
the edge of the party. Huey marches up, YANKING Roy's gun
from his pants, checking it.

HUEY
We put our lives on the line today.
Malcolm X's widow was on the line
today. And your guns weren't even
loaded.

ROY
A gun's a gun man. It don't need to
be loaded.

HUEY
Tell that to the pigs. Better yet
tell that to Malcolm.

ROY
Wait a second there brother...

HUEY
No you wait a second. You and your
"Panthers" got three choices. One
you join with us and follow our rules.
Two you change your name.
(a smile)
Or three you face annihilation.

PAPER PANTHERS step up, Huey's men follow suit. Judge standing
right at Huey's.

ROY
Pretty boy, you're a long way from
Oakland. Fuck you.

Bam! Huey hits Roy with a ferocious hook. A BIG PAPER PANTHER
moves on Huey, Judge DROPS HIM like a stone.

In seconds Huey's men have kicked the shit out of the Paper
Panthers. Huey's got ROY'S FACE in the grill.

HUEY
You're exactly the kind of brother
we don't need. Kind of brother who
gets others killed. Now you gonna
change your name.

Huey pulls Roy up, his SINGED BEARD covered with fish and
onions. ROY just glares silently.

ALMA
Roy, tell him you'll do it.

Huey shoves Roy's face back down toward the grill.

ROY
Please!!! Yes!!! We'll change the
name.

Throwing ROY away, Huey LOCKS EYES with Alma as the Panthers
depart. She watches them every step of the way.

Nearby SOMEONE ELSE watches the Panthers also. ELDRIDGE
CLEAVER, the reporter from Ramparts.

INT. HUEY'S OFFICE - NIGHT

Unwinding, alone with Judge, Huey hands him a beer.

HUEY
You were alright Judge, better than
alright. You're what the Party needs.
A fighter but also one that's going
to school not making the man too
nervous.

JUDGE
I don't know about that.

HUEY
I do. You think you're smart enough
to keep playing the game?

JUDGE
What, I don't know how you mean?

HUEY
See, the thing about Panthers. For
all their speed and strength. They
are not naturally aggressive. They
don't just go out killing, tearing
through the jungles murdering. No,
the Panther
(makes a fist)
keeps his claws hidden until he is
attacked, until he's backed into a
corner. Then
(opens his fist)
believe me those claws are fierce.

JUDGE
Huey, you're losing me. What are you
talking about?

HUEY
I'm talking about survival. Yours,
mine, all of it. Outside and in. You
got to do something for me. Staying
alive might depend on it. The pigs
are gonna try to infiltrate us and
we're gonna let 'em. But their spy's
gonna be our spy too. How about it?

There's a pause as Judge chews on the grave proposition.

JUDGE
Me? You've got a whole lot of other
folks signing up. Why me?

HUEY
You fit the profile, Brother. You
look exactly like the kind of nigger
they think they can trust...

EXT. GOVERNMENT BUILDING - WASH D.C. - DAY

A cold harsh building sits like a satisfied giant on the
Capitol street.

EXT. DIRECTOR'S OFFICE - DAY

Passing a SIGN on the door: FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
DIRECTOR: J.E. HOOVER.

The Uber-cop himself sits at the desk, his large watery eyes
scanning a TELETYPE. He presses an INTERCOM.

HOOVER
Get me out man in Oakland...

EXT. PANTHER HQ - DAY

A HUGE LINE of NEW RECRUITS stretches outside the building.

INT. PANTHER HQ - DAY

Bobby and Tyrone stand there uncomfortably facing ALMA and a
platoon of SISTERS.

TYRONE
Alma!? I uhh I don't think...

ALMA
What do you mean? We're black ain't
we? And we care about improving the
plight of out people don't we? Or
you figure oppression stops at that
thing dangling between your legs!

TYRONE
(looking to Bobby)
Uhh... I with it sister but...

ALMA
But nothing, we want full fledged
membership in the Black Panther
Party... and none of this "Okay sugah
as long as you stay in the background
washing my socks and rubbing my feet"
bullshit either!

Bobby GRINS.

BOBBY
I can dig that! If your down with
the Ten-Point-Program, sign up.

MONTAGE:

EXT. PANTHER HQ - DAY

Panthers place POSTERS of Bobby Seale and Huey in the
storefront window as JUDGE, ALMA, CY and TYRONE load LEAFLETS
into a VAN.

BOBBY
(over)
There's a lot of work to be done.

INT. SCHOOL - DAY

Little Bobby Hutton lectures a group of school kids

INT. CHURCH BASEMENT - BREAKFAST PROGRAM - DAY

Judge's HAND ladles out porridge to a sea of hungry kids.
ALMA smiles across the room at them.

EXT. JUNKYARD - DAY

Tyrone and Cy watch as Judge holds an M1 RIFLE, lecturing
NEW RECRUITS. Each recruit has a DISASSEMBLED RIFLE. Judge
starts his stopwatch. The RECRUITS fumble with the rifles.
Suddenly a sound -- the perfect clicking and clacking of
metal on metal. ALMA assembles her rifle with lightning speed.
Still FUMBLING with their rifles, the other recruits stare
amazed at Alma. Judge checks the stopwatch... TWENTY SEVEN
SECONDS. Looking up, Judge and TYRONE'S EYES MEET.

EXT. FIFTY FIFTH AND MARKET - DAY

Judge takes his place DIRECTING TRAFFIC. Turning Judge LOCKS
EYES with RITA across the street. She looks worried.

END MONTAGE

EXT. UC BERKELEY CAMPUS - DAY

Judge hawks RED BOOKS to park goers, engaging them in pro
panther banter. Black folk move away from him when they spot
BRIMMER, an obvious cop, striding toward Judge.

BRIMMER
You're Judge right? We need to talk.

JUDGE
I don't know you and I got nothing
to say to you.

BRIMMER
(flashing his badge)
Yeah you do. It's up to you either
here or downtown.

Giving up, Judge walks with Brimmer listening as the cop
talks.

INT. CHURCH BASEMENT - DAY

Huey's COOKING BREAKFAST for the kids as Alma, Tyrone and
Little Bobby serve up bowls of porridge.

Passing the munching kids, Judge -- obviously excited --
moves over to Huey.

JUDGE
(sotto voce)
They tried to recruit me. Just like
you figured.

Tyrone looks over,FROWNING. Huey signals him that everything's
cool.

HUEY
(joking loudly)
You're a little old to be a school
boy aren't you brother.
(whispering)
Cool it! You're probably not the
only one they've gone after. Stall a
little so they believe you're for
real. Make them trust you.
(raising his voice)
Hey Tyrone, you figure feeding our
children is gonna make The Man jumpy?

TYRONE
(bantering back)
Black people getting uppity, feeding
their children breakfast, taking
their destiny into their own hands.
What's this world coming to?

EXT. STREET - NIGHT

TITLE: RICHMOND CALIFORNIA, APRIL 1, 1967

Pursued, a thin Black man -- DENZIL DOWELL -- LIMPS painfully
past. TWO COPS, guns drawn, run after him.

COP #1
Hands up, you ain't going nowhere.

Faced with a BLIND ALLEY, Dowell RAISES his hands. The cops
close in.

DENZIL
I wasn't going nowhere in the first
place. I ain't done shit.

COP #2
"Done shit, SIR!!" Nigger don't
move...

Scared, Denzil instinctively BACKS AWAY from the cops.

DENZIL
I ain't done...

GUNFIRE rips through the alley.

CUT TO:

INT. LIVING ROOM - DOWELL HOME - DAY

The room is filled with mourners. Shades are drawn but a
little sun brushes the PANTHERS LEATHER JACKETS. Denzil's
brother GEORGE, speaks softly to MOMMA DOWELL.

GEORGE
Momma, these here are the Panthers I
asked over from Oakland.

MOMMA DOWELL
I thank you all for coming to grieve
with us. The police won't tell us
nothing.

MOURNER
They been shooting Black men down
around here like they're going out
of style.

MOMMA DOWELL
(breaking into tears)
My boy didn't do nothing. He didn't
do nothing. Can't nobody do something.

HUEY
We came to do something.

EXT. RICHMOND RALLY - DAY

Panthers, carrying GUNS, line both sides of the block. NEW
FACES can be seen with Judge, Alma, Cy, Tyrone, Little Bobby
and the others.

A block or so distant, the SHERIFF'S OFFICE looms up.

EXT. RICHMOND RALLY - DAY

BOBBY SEALE shuttles back and forth distributing PROGRAMS
and LEAFLETS to a forest of outstretched Black hands.

HUEY stands on top of a car, his strong voice ringing out
over the gathering.

HUEY
...The police report says he was
shot three times but the coroner's
report says quite clearly that Denzil
Dowell was shot six times. And two
of those shots were in his armpits.
Brothers and Sisters you know why
that is?
(raises his arms up)
Because Denzil had his hands up!!

BOBBY SEALE
(to crowd)
No more police brutality! WHAT DO WE
WANT?

THE CROWD
JUSTICE!

Frenzied hands grab all the PAMPHLETS from Bobby.

SEALE
(to Judge)
More programs man!!! In the car.

Judge moves away toward the PONTIAC.

EXT. BOBBY'S CAR - DAY

Judge grabs a pile of LEAFLETS off the seat. Turning back to
the rally, Judge comes nose to nose with BRIMMER.

BRIMMER
Afternoon asshole... You shoulda
told me about this. C'mon...

EXT. RALLY - DAY

Tyrone SEES Brimmer spin Judge around and cuff him.

BOBBY SEALE
WHAT DO WE WANT?

THE PANTHERS
JUSTICE!!!

Tyrone NUDGES Huey, gesturing to Judge being led to Brimmer's
UNMARKED CAR.

TYRONE
C'mon let's...

HUEY
No! Just harassment. Can't let it
stop this.
(an eye to car, then
the crowd)
Brother we got momentum!

Whipped up, the crowd YELLS as Tyrone looks perplexed.

BOBBY
What do we want!!??

THE CROWD
JUSTICE!

REVEREND SLOCUM steps out, trying to calm the crowd.

REVEREND SLOCUM
Amen! The Lord God Almighty be our
witness. Let us bow our heads and
pray for...

BOBBY
(interrupting, raising
his fist)
POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!

CROWD
POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

The Panthers move into precise FORMATION. Huey and Bobby at
the front, the crowd moves toward the Sheriff's Office.

EXT. SHERIFF'S OFFICE - DAY

Tense, a DOUBLE LINE of police blocks the entrance. With the
crowd screaming for "JUSTICE!" and "BLACK POWER!" behind
them, Bobby and Huey step up to the Deputies.

DEPUTY
(shoving Huey)
You're not getting in here with no
gun.

Huey SHOVES the cop back. The line of cops BRISTLES.

HUEY
This firearm is being carried in
plain view and is therefore perfectly
legal according to California
statute...

COP
Over my dead body.

Huey steps back and Clack!, jerks a ROUND into the gun. A
HUSH falls over the crowd. The POLICE raise their weapons.

HUEY
That's your call pig.

Rev. Slocum puts a steadying hand on Huey's arm.

REV. SLOCUM
(to cops)
We come for justice, not bloodshed
but don't be pushing us too far.

Tense moments pass. Huey looks over at MOMMA DOWELL, reading
the concern in her eyes.

Then, Huey and Bobby RAISE their weapons up, PASSING THEM to
the police. Unarmed, The Panthers enter the building.

INT. SHERIFF'S OFFICE - DAY

Surrounded by deputies, Bobby and Huey confront the smug
SHERIFF.

BOBBY
Bled to death!?!? The Coroner's report
says he was shot to death. We demand
a grand jury investigation in the
death of Denzil Dowell and the pattern
of brutality against the Black
citizens of Richmond.

SHERIFF
(icy)
The Police department has conducted
its own inquest and concluded that
no misconduct occurred. As for a
"pattern of brutality..." The charge
is ridiculous.

HUEY
Then what do you call four dead Black
men in six months?!

SHERIFF
I call it the police doing there
duty under the law. You got a problem
with that... take it to the
legislature but get the hell out of
my office.

BOBBY
(to Huey)
The pig might just have a point.

EXT. ABANDONED WAREHOUSE - DAY

Brimmer's UNMARKED CAR sits in front of the tattered building
near the heart of Oakland.

INT. ABANDONED WAREHOUSE - DAY

JUDGE -- handcuffed to a chair in the vast lofty space --
looks like he's been through the wringer. BRIMMER, smoking
vehemently, hovers over him.

BRIMMER
So... we understand each other Judge?

JUDGE
(sullen)
Yeah.

CUT TO:

INT. ANOTHER PART OF THE WAREHOUSE - DAY

RODGERS watches Judge and Brimmer from the SHADOWS.

CUT TO:

INT. ABANDONED WAREHOUSE - DAY

Brimmer UNCUFFS Judge from the chair.

BRIMMER
Alright then.

Judge STANDS a little shakily. Brimmer slides a BUSINESS
CARD in his pocket.

BRIMMER
I expect to hear from you soon. If
Huey Newton takes a crap, I want to
know how big it was. Otherwise I'm
gonna come looking for you. And I
won't be as "friendly" as today.

JUDGE
I got you.

Judge turns to leave. Brimmer stops him

BRIMMER
You just remember one thing Judge.
You've got a lot at stake. And The
Panthers are gonna lose. Question
is, are you gonna lose along with
them? Your future? Your mother? Think
about it.

Judge leaves. Brimmer takes a long drag of his cigarette,
STARING at RODGERS.

EXT. WAREHOUSE - DAY

Half a step out the door, Judge THROWS Brimmer's CARD away.

EXT. DE FEMERY PARK - DAY

A combination BARBECUE/AWARENESS RALLY covers the park.
Panthers and just plain neighborhood folk eat, drink and
talk. Judge - a worried look on his face -- walks by.

Huey's on the podium, speaking clearly and passionately.

HUEY
As soon as black people exercise
their rights to bear arms and defend
themselves the pigs want to change
the law. We're not going to make it
easy for them to have unarmed targets.
Now, you all have a good time cause
this here's our community and it is
a beautiful thing.
(raising his fist)
Power to the people.

Pulsing MUSIC kicks in as Huey steps from the stage.

EXT. DE FEMERY PARK - SIDE OF THE STAGE - DAY

Huey joins a meeting in progress with Tyrone, Alma and Bobby,
who's particularly edgy.

HUEY
This brothers is gonna be a colossal
event. We'll shut the mother down
right at the capitol, in front of
the cameras.
(annoyed off Bobby's
pacing)
Will you cool it? What's up man?
What it be Bobby?

BOBBY
What it be is, You aren't coming
with us.

HUEY
What? We're the leadership, you and
me. There ain't enough of us to...

BOBBY
That's just it Huey. The pigs don't
know how many Panthers there are.
Both of us show and they might start
putting 2 and 2 together. We're not
even two hundred strong yet... but
we got 'em guessing thousands.

HUEY
I hear you. Alright. I'll go, you
stay.

Admiring, Bobby shakes his head.

BOBBY
Huey... We took a vote. You're still
on probation. We can't risk you.
Things is starting to get hot. Go
mow yo momma's lawn like you promised.

Huey's TENSES, ready to argue. Then he SPOTS Judge. A LOOK
passes between them.

HUEY
Alright, I'll stay. Judge, I want
to...

TYRONE
(to Judge)
Where you been? I saw the cops
rousting you at the rally.

JUDGE
Aw... uh... it's was just harassment.
My driver's license expired.

HUEY
Chickenshits, they're grabbing at
anything.

Huey leads Judge away, Tyrone WATCHES them closely, very
suspicious.

EXT. ANOTHER PART OF THE PARK - DAY

Huey's charged, talking fast to Judge.

HUEY
What's the pig's name?

JUDGE
Brimmer.

HUEY
(very serious)
You got to keep very cool on this.
Icy god damn cool. Cause baby, you
just became the strongest weapon we
got. Let me guess, he wants you to
call him, tell him what we're doing.

JUDGE
Yeah.

HUEY
And you're gonna do just that. But
I'll tell you what to feed the pig.
You alright with this?

JUDGE
Yeah... I guess. Any of other Panthers
know about this?

Huey just looks at Judge silently.

JUDGE
Man, this shit's pretty thick.

HUEY
You got that right. And brother, I
got a feeling it's going to get a
whole lot thicker.

EXT. LEGISLATURE BUILDING - DAY

TITLE: SACRAMENTO CALIFORNIA MAY 2, 1967

Governor RONALD REAGAN stands on the Capitol lawn speaking
to THE FUTURE LEADERS -- a teenage group.

Suddenly, THE PANTHERS pull up, stepping out of their cars,
ARMED, clad in black leather. CHAOS erupts.

Bodyguards whisk Reagan away as a swarm of NEWS CREWS converge
on the Panthers. CAMERAS flanked around him, a REPORTER shoves
a microphone in Bobby's face.

NEWSMAN
Is this a militant action? Are the
Panthers storming the Capitol?

BOBBY
No!!! Definitely not!!!
(to the news camera)
We are here to send a message. The
Black Panther Party for Self Defense
calls upon the American people in
general and Black people in particular
to take careful note of the racist
California Legislature now considering
the Mulford Act, which is aimed at
keeping Black people disarmed and
powerless while racist police agencies
throughout the country intensify the
terror, brutality, murder and
repression of Black people.

INT. LEGISLATURE - DAY

It's hard to tell who there's more of -- Panthers or reporters --
as the chaotic circus enters a LONG CORRIDOR.

Seale's in the lead, with Little Bobby, Alma and Tyrone
following. Disoriented, they CLIMB stairs, continuing down
another CORRIDOR. A GUARD at a DOORWAY starts to freak.

GUARD
You can't come in here!

BOBBY
We are here to observe the Assembly.
You will not stop us.

GUARD
This door leads to the Assembly floor,
it's closed to the public. You have
to go to the Visitor's Gallery,
it's...

The guard TURNS TO POINT, Seale twists to follow his finger.
Reporters swing around. A crewman BUMPS into the guard. CHAOS.
The entourage PANICS, stumbling through the door. A mass of
Panthers and reporters spill into...

INT. ASSEMBLY ROOM FLOOR - DAY

Pro Tem Speaker Carlos Bee's mouth drops as a noisy mass of
Panthers and reporters careens into the chambers.

Swiftly the rat pack of reporters BACKS AWAY, leaving the
Panthers, armed and confused, in the MIDDLE OF THE ROOM.

SECURITY GUARDS converge on the Panthers.

FOOTAGE

Camera pans up from lawnmower to Huey's face.

FADE INTO

US and International HEADLINES scream the story. "New York
Times," France's "Le Figaro, Italy's "Il Giornale." The
Panthers have just become a worldwide phenomenon.

PROSECUTOR
(over)
Tell the court Mr. Seale are you
proud to be the co-founder of the
Panthers, an anti-white movement.

BOBBY
(over)
The Black Panther Party is not anti-
white, you cannot fight racism with
racism.

APPLAUSE rings out.

JUDGE
(over)
Gentlemen, please approach the bench.

The Judge's GAVEL BANGS.

CUT TO:

INT. COURTROOM - AT THE BENCH - DAY

Bobby, Huey, Prosecutors, Defenders and the Judge yell. GAVEL
still banging, a rapid-fire PLEA BARGAIN is underway.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY
My clients broke no law. It was an
accident, a wrong turn. Besides, the
guns were not illegal. Dismissal!

PROSECUTOR
They will be as soon as the Mulford
act passes. Six Months for everyone!

Huey SHAKES his head at the Defense Attorney.

PROSECUTOR
Okay, last offer. Ninety days, no
felony charges, just a disturbing
the peace.

Huey NODS.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY
Deal!

PROSECUTOR
Not so fast. But only if he
(points to Bobby)
and one of his lieutenants agree to
six months.

HUEY
You got six months to donate to the
party, Bobby?

BOBBY
You know it brother.

INT. HOOVER'S OFFICE - DAY

The TAPE MACHINE rolls as a very agitated FBI director growls
into the phone.

RODGERS
(over)
...at least that takes Bobby Seale
off the street...

HOOVER
Not good enough Rodgers. Not good
enough at all. Black terrorists on
the floor of a State Capitol. I will
not say this again, these Negro
Commies are to be stopped and now.
You tear them down. Either from the
outside or the inside.

RODGERS
(over)
We're working on that...

HOOVER
Work harder. And get me some results.
Those Black Bastards could be up to
anything.

EXT. MARKET STREET - NIGHT

Finished with traffic duty Judge walks home. He passes
BRIMMER'S CAR at the curb.

BRIMMER
C'mon we're going for a ride...

EXT. BAY BRIDGE - NIGHT

Brimmer's car pulls onto the bridge.

INT. BRIMMER'S CAR - NIGHT

Brimmer lights a cigarette angrily.

BRIMMER
Why didn't you tell us about the
party you boys were planning at the
capitol?

JUDGE
Shit man. It was... you know
spontaneous.

BRIMMER
Spontaneous my ass!! You told the
press and you don't tell me. Remember
you're working for us.

JUDGE
Yeah... whatever you say.

BRIMMER
Are you fucking with me? You smartass
piece of shit...

EXT. BAY BRIDGE - NIGHT

Brimmer's car SWERVES pulling over in the MIDDLE of the
bridge. Playing angry cop to hilt, Brimmer jumps out.

BRIMMER
Get out of the car.

JUDGE
What's with you?

BRIMMER
Get out of the fucking car.

Judge obeys. Brimmer produces HANDCUFFS. He CUFFS Judge.

BRIMMER
"Whatever you say, Inspector Brimmer."
Fucking a right pal. Time you got
your wiry head on straight.

Brimmer grabs the front of Judge's shirt, PUSHING him hard
against the railing. It's a hellish drop. Brimmer pushes
harder. Judge's FEET scramble for purchase.

JUDGE
What are you crazy?

BRIMMER
Do you know how easy it would be for
you to just disappear. Shit, you
wouldn't even wash up for weeks. Do
you fucking understand?
(still pushing)
I want you to move your ass outta
neutral. I want a bunch of Panthers
served up on a fucking plate. I want
you to set 'em up... armed robbery!!

JUDGE
I can't... they don't operate that
way...

BRIMMER
Fuck how they operate. Just do it.
like your man says, "By any means
necessary."

Brimmer UNCUFFS Judge, stuffing an ENVELOPE OF MONEY in his
pocket.

BRIMMER
Alright then. Here's a little help
on your tuition. Get back in the
car.

EXT. STREET - NIGHT

In UNIFORM, proud -- Tyrone and Cy walk down the street toward
Cy and Judge's APARTMENT.

TYRONE
Where the hell's Judge anyway?

CY
Between school and the Panthers,
he's been running raw. I never see...
Aw shit...

Cy catches SOMETHING happening across the street.

EXT. CY'S POV - ACROSS THE STREET - NIGHT

SABU makes a furtive EXCHANGE with a young BLACK KID.

EXT. JUDGE AND CY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Tyrone sees what Cy's looking at.

TYRONE
You want a hand?

CY
(tossing Tyrone KEYS)
No... go on up. I been kicking his
narrow ass since high school.

Cy trots across the street. A WHITE GIRL walks his way.

WHITE GIRL
What you got to sell?

CY
(rolling his eyes)
Lady, every Black man you lay eyes
on ain't a dope dealer.

INT. JUDGE AND CY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Tyrone waits inside the messy apartment. Suddenly he spots
JUDGE'S CLOTHES hanging over a chair. A moment passes. Then
Tyrone, begins RIFLING through a pair PANTS.

He checks Judge's WALLET. Pulling out a DRIVER'S LICENSE,
Tyrone's finger traces the EXPIRATION DATE: 5/20/69.

TYRONE
(to himself)
"My license was expired" Yeah, right.

EXT. STREET - NIGHT

Cy's got SABU against the wall, hissing into his face.

CY
I ain't gonna tell you no more. No
pushing in the neighborhood,
especially not on my fucking street.
You're killing your own people
asshole.

SABU
Man, fuck you!!!

CY
No Fuck you!!!

Cy SLUGS Sabu hard in the gut, dropping him to the ground.

CY
I ain't playing Sabu. You keep on
like this and I'm going to bust you
up.

Shaking his head in disgust, Cy heads toward home.

EXT. STREET - NIGHT

Holding his belly, Sabu catches his breath. SHOES appear in
front of him, shiny COP SHOES. It's SGT. SCHRECK.

SABU
Aww man...

SCHRECK
Those Panthers are turning into real
shitheels ain't they...

Schreck REACHES DOWN, helping Sabu. Sabu's amazed at the
"Good Cop" routine.

SABU
Yeah, they're motherfuckers, all
high and mighty.

SCHRECK
You shouldn't take that. If I was
you...
(an edge of violence)
I'd stand up for myself, if you know
what I mean.

INT. JUDGE AND CY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

CY looks around the empty space.

CY
Tyrone? Shit, where'd you go?.

INT. PANTHER MEETING - NIGHT

Room filled with all the PANTHERS and more than a few NEW
FACES, Huey stands at the podium, filled with purpose.

HUEY
Look around you, brothers and sisters,
we're building the numbers. New
members coming in almost every day.
I'd like to introduce one of them.
He's is the author of "Soul on Ice,"
a respected journalist and I'm proud
to say the newly appointed Minister
of Information for the Black Panther
Party. Brothers and sisters, Eldridge
Cleaver.

Applause rises as the tall, black man from before, still
wear SUNGLASSES, strides to the podium.

ELDRIDGE
Brothers and Sisters! You are all
well aware of the chains that we as
a people bear. The chains of slavery,
of second class citizenship. But
there are other, more invisible
chains. The chains of not speaking
your mind. The chains of all the
words left unsaid out of fear of
reprisal by The Man. The silencing
of our Black voices. I'm here to
tell you that we have a voice.
(a smile)
And I'd like to prove to you. All of
you, repeat after me.

SILENCE fills the room, everyone hangs on Eldridge's words.

ELDRIDGE
Fuck Ronald Reagan.

Smiles hit the assembled faces. Judge chuckles.

ELDRIDGE
I'm serious. Repeat after me. Fuck
Ronald Reagan.

ASSEMBLY
Fuck Ronald Reagan!!!

ELDRIDGE
Feels good don't it. Amazing how
saying your mind can free your soul.

ASSEMBLY
Fuck Ronald Reagan!!

Powerful and playful, the CHANT course through the room.
Everyone's SMILING, reveling in the camaraderie.

EXT. OUTSIDE THE MEETING - NIGHT

Meeting over, Huey, Judge and Tyrone watch the room clear.
Tyrone's EDGY, trying to get Huey alone.

TYRONE
Huey man I got to talk with you...

HUEY
So talk...

TYRONE
(looking at Judge)
Alone...

HUEY
Look... can we deal with this
tomorrow... I'm tired...

Huey walks away, leaving Tyrone glaring at Judge.

EXT. BAY BRIDGE - DAY

Sun streams through the girders, shining its light equally
on both sides of the bridge.

INT. HUEY'S VW - DAY

Upset and in deeper than he ever expected, Judge smacks the
dashboard in frustration.

HUEY
Listen Judge, Oakland's Panther
International Headquarters. We shut
the Pig's infiltration down here,
they're gonna think twice about
running their games on other chapters.

JUDGE
Huey, man who's gonna straighten out
the brothers if they get on my ass?

HUEY
Like the manual says, "Information
is...

HUEY AND JUDGE
(in unison)
disseminated on a need-to-know basis."

HUEY
Yeah, and what I need to know, is
what exactly your gonna do about
feeding the pigs a bust?

JUDGE
I don't know man. I don't know. That
reminds me.
(passing an ENVELOPE
to Huey)
Another little donation from the
police.

HUEY
If the pigs only knew they were
subsidizing The Panthers...

JUDGE
Yeah well, they want a lot for their
money. They want a felony, preferably
with "violent intent." We've got to
give them something. They'll kill me
if I don't. And the Panthers are
going to kill me if I do. I'm scared.

HUEY
Me too. That's why I fight so hard.

EXT. GROVE STREET - DUSK (MAGIC HOUR)

Something's CHANGED in the neighborhood, the Panther presence
seems to have given the street focus. Folks gather nearby,
hanging enjoying the sunshine.

Bo Diddley's "Oh Baby" grooves from a radio.

CY -- amped on the movement -- walks out of the PANTHER HQ.
He runs into JUDGE out on the street.

CY
Hey, it's the invisible man. Brother
where you been?

JUDGE
(gripping Cy's hand)
Cy... I ain't even sure.

CY
C'mon we'll walk and talk...

JUDGE
(pointing inside)
Naw... I gotta...

CY
I hear you. I'll catch you in a bit.
Feeling cooped up in there, you know?

Cy steps out into Grove street. Judge WATCHES him go.

EXT. MARKET STREET - DUSK

Cy cruises the street. People check out the UNIFORM, some
even offer up a "Right on." or flash the fist salute.

ROSE -- staked out on his steps -- beckons Cy over.

ROSE
Hey... Cy... what now you a righteous
Panther man, you too uppity to drink
with us?

CY
You know that's bullshit.

Rose passes him the BOTTLE, Cy takes a small swig. Immediately
his FACE PUCKERS.

CY
Aaaah, Bitter Motherfucker... I almost
forgot how nasty that shit is.

ROSE
Well don't go forgetting your friends.

CY
(leaving)
Ain't gonna happen, stay cool.

ROSE
You know it. Stay Black...

CY
Damn straight.

EXT. 50TH STREET - NIGHT

Rounding a corner Cy spots SABU -- yep, he's still dealing.
Rolling his eyes, Cy steps toward him.

CY
I swear, you gotta be a card-carrying
member of the stupid revolution.

Sabu's SCARED, he backs away from Cy. Customers SCATTER.

SABU
Motherfucker... you stay away...

CY
Look this is bull...

Dumb, cowardly, SABU comes up with a PISTOL. He FIRES it
into Cy, not even aiming, just fear pulling a trigger. Once,
Twice, Three times.

Cy takes a PAIR of BULLETS straight to the chest. Blood flecks
his surprised face.

CY
(amazed)
...shit...

Cy COLLAPSES onto the pavement as SABU runs away.

INT. PANTHER HQ - NIGHT

Alone in the main room, Judge works a MIMEOGRAPH MACHINE,
running off more Ten Point Programs.

TYRONE comes in through the back door, startling Judge.

TYRONE
C'mere...

EXT. ALLEY BEHIND PANTHER HQ - NIGHT

Carter has an obviously terrified YOUNG PANTHER up against
the wall as Judge and Tyrone step into the half light.

TYRONE
Signed up 'bout a month ago. Says
his name's Matty. I call him spy!

Wham!! Tyrone SLUGS Matty right in the gut.

TYRONE
Motherfucker gave the pigs the license
numbers of every Panther car.

Tyrone grabs Matty's INDEX FINGER.

TYRONE
(to Matty)
This the finger you ratted on us
with?

CRACK!! Tyrone jerks Matty's finger back BREAKING IT.

Repulsed, Judge turns back inside.

INT. PANTHER HQ - NIGHT

Tyrone bolts in after Judge.

TYRONE
What? You don't like to see a traitor
get hurt? I wonder why that is?

JUDGE
If you got something to say, say it.

TYRONE
Anything happens to Huey it ain't
gonna be a finger. I'll...

GENE -- eyes lit up with anger and fear -- bursts in.

GENE
It's Cy... he's been shot.

Bam! Judge SNAPS pushing Tyrone away and bolting out the
door. Tyrone follows.

EXT. 50TH STREET - NIGHT

Cy WRITHES in agony on the pavement, in a pool of blood.
Judge kneels down next to him, cradling him. Cy's COUGHING,
trying to talk.

JUDGE
Cy... Cy... Oh shit man... who did
this to you. Was it the pigs?

CY
N... N...... Not... Oh.

Cy DIES right there in Judge's arms. Something twists in
Judge's heart, the struggle has just become very personal.

INT. JUDGE AND CY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

His shirt covered with his dead friend's blood, Judge sits
at the table, destroyed.

JUDGE
Motherfuckers...

Judge grabs the phone, punching out a number.

BRIMMER
Inspector Brimmer

JUDGE
Yeah, it's me.

BRIMMER
Judge, hold on, is your phone safe?

JUDGE
Who fucking cares? You cops killed
Cy. And before you bastards kill
anyone else, I'll give you your
fucking set up. That make you
happy??!!

BRIMMER
Judge, calm down.

Judge grits his teeth.

JUDGE
I'm calm. I'm calm. You just shut
the fuck up. And listen...

CUT TO:

EXT. ROAD - DAY

The PANTHER VAN heads down the road, sticking out like a
sore thumb.

EXT. ROAD - DAY

POV: Through the windshield of a police vehicle. The VAN
crosses the screen right to left. Starting forward, the police
car following at a safe distance.

INT. PANTHER VAN - DAY

TYRONE'S driving as Judge sits -- preoccupied -- in the
passenger seat. Suspicion hovers between the two. GENE's in
back next to a load of NEWSPAPERS.

TYRONE
(eyeing Judge)
What's up with you?

JUDGE
Nothing.

TYRONE
You got something on your mind...
"brother."

JUDGE
Yeah, "brother" My best friend is
stone dead.

The words cool Tyrone off a bit.

TYRONE
Sorry man...

JUDGE
S'alright. I'm sorry too. Shit, I
gotta take a leak... Pull over at
that gas station.

EXT. GAS STATION - DAY

The VAN pulls into the TINY station. Judge's hops out heading
inside.

EXT. BRIMMER'S CAR - DAY

BRIMMER watches the scene through BINOCULARS. He hisses into
a WALKIE TALKIE.

BRIMMER
It's going down... Right on time.

INT. GAS STATION - DAY

An OLDER MAN sits placidly behind the counter as Judge enters,
the door ringing a BELL.

OLDER MAN
If you want gas my nephew...

TYRONE
(interrupting)
Where's your bathroom...

OLDER MAN
Out back.

Judge stands, stock still, sweating. The Man cocks his head,
strangely.

Adrenaline raging, Judge PULLS a GUN.

JUDGE
Open the god damn register!!!!

INT. PANTHER VAN - DAY

Impatient Tyrone drums his fingers on the dash.

TYRONE
How long can a piss take?

Gene SHRUGS.

GENE
Hey... I got one for ya. Two brothers
are taking a leak off the Bay Bridge.
First one says, "Damn, this water's
cold." Other one just smiles and
goes, "Yeah and deep too."

Tyrone CHUCKLES, suddenly his face DROPS.

TYRONE
What the fuck?

EXT. GAS STATION - DAY

SIRENS LIGHTS. Half a dozen POLICE CARS swoop down on the
filling station.

Fast, like storm troopers, the cops pull TYRONE and GENE
from the van, roughing them up.

BRIMMER
(pushing through)
Watch the faces Goddamit!! We want
them recognizable...

Tyrone SHOVES a cop away from him. Brimmer DRAWS his .38,
training it calmly between Tyrone's eyes.

BRIMMER
Easy boy... Or I will blow you right
away...

TYRONE
(putting up his hands)
We haven't done nothing! Why don't
you fascist pigs stop harassing us?

BRIMMER
Harassment my ass, pal. You just
stuck up this station. We got a
witness...

TYRONE
What kind of bullshit...

ROOKIE COP
I'll go get the other one.

BRIMMER
No!!! Get the bastards cuffed, I got
him...

EXT. BACK OF STATION - DAY

Brimmer dashes around the corner. He bangs on the BATHROOM
DOOR. Nothing. He puts his mouth to the door.

BRIMMER
(hoarse whisper)
It's me Brimmer. Get the fuck out of
here.

Judge BOLTS out of the toilet. Brimmer FIRES over his head.
Judge runs fast through the weeds, up the hill.

THE ROOKIE COP sprints around the corner, AIMING at Judge.
Brimmer BUMPS him. The shot fires wide.

Judge DISAPPEARS over the hill.

EXT. POLICE STATION - DAY

REPORTERS swarm the steps. DORSETT, basking in the camera's
glow, smugly addresses them.

DORSETT
Today's arrest exposes the Black
Panthers for what they truly are...
common criminals. Yes, we have a
group of the so called revolutionaries
in custody right now. Caught red
handed robbing a local business. And
as soon as our witness gives us a
positive identification, we'll file
charges of armed robbery with intent
to kill...

NEWSMAN
Sir... was anybody hurt?

DORSETT
(turning back inside)
I have no further comment.

INT. DORSETT'S OFFICE - DAY

Flushed with victory, Dorsett strides into his office. Pissed,
Rodgers looks up from a TELETYPE.

DORSETT
I want it duly noted, that this
operation was entirely under the
auspices of the Oakland Police
Department. The FBI doesn't have a
monopoly on agents infiltrating enemy
organizations, my friend. As I've
said before, Agent Rodgers, we have
things under control in our city...

RODGERS
Are you finished?

DORSETT
No I'm not. I'd like to say, frankly
and off the record, that I resent
the Bureau's presence here. "Advisory
Basis" or not. And, once we get these
boys put away and the Panthers
permanently discredited, I'd
appreciate it if you'd leave us to
take care of our own. Now I'm
finished.

Rodgers fixes Dorsett with a stony glare.

EXT. SEEDY STREET - NIGHT

Fast, head down, JUDGE moves through Oakland's skid row,
heading for an ABANDONED GARAGE.

INT. LINE UP ROOM - DAY

Actually the line up room is two chambers. Dorsett and Rodgers
enter the smaller room. BRIMMER, haggard, smoking, beckons
Dorsett to a corner. Rodgers sticks by the door.

Brimmer WHISPERS to Dorsett, we can't hear the conversation
but obviously The Chief doesn't like it.

In the FOREGROUND, THE MAN from the gas station stands in
front of TWO WAY GLASS -- A UNIFORM cop at his side.

TYRONE AND GENE stand on the line up platform on the opposite
side of the two way glass.

Dorsett and Brimmer move to the man. We see now that he's
staring blankly at the Panthers.

DORSETT
Brimmer, what are you telling me?

The uniform cop WAVES his hand in front of the man's face.

UNIFORMED COP
He's blind chief. Couldn't I.D. his
own mother.

BRIMMER
(sheepishly)
He just stands in for his nephew
during lunch.

Dorsett TURNS, locking eyes with Rodgers. Fixing Dorsett
with a WITHERING GLARE, Rodgers walks out the door.

INT. ROSE'S GARAGE - DAY

Rose's place -- the back of a chop shop -- is a forest of
BOTTLES and CAR SEATS. An OLD TV blares a NEWSCAST: "Panthers
Freed" complete with a PHOTO of Tyrone and Gene.

ROSE
This cool the heat off you any?

JUDGE
I don't know.
(rising)
But I'm sure I'll find out. Rose,
you did me solid.

Judge PULLS some BILLS from his pocket.

ROSE
Unh... Unh Man... I don't take no
money from friends that need help.
Fuck no. What do you think I am a
bum?

JUDGE
Not at all.
(gripping Rose's hand)
I'll catch you later.

Rose -- something big on his mind -- STOPS Judge at the door.

ROSE
Judge... I... I shoulda told you
this before but... well... fuck...

JUDGE
What?

ROSE
It was Sabu killed Cy.

JUDGE
Where is he?.

ROSE
Ain't no one seen him.

JUDGE
Why didn't you tell me?

ROSE
Didn't want folks to think I was a
snitch. You know?

PAIN creases Judge's face.

JUDGE
(softly)
Yeah man... I know.

INT. PRINTING PLANT - DAY

The Panthers are celebrating. TYRONE and the others release
while the paper gets printed. BOB DYLAN's "Ballad of a Thin
Man" PLAYS. Huey, wine in one hand, grooves to the music

HUEY
(to Tyrone)
Shit... check this out.

SONG
(over)
...something is happening here...

HUEY
But you don't know what it is Mr.
Jones. See Dylan is hip. The part
about the geeks getting the worst
jobs, that's like us, man. Black
folks always get given the lowest
shit.

TYRONE
(with purpose)
Yeah man, but where's Judge?

HUEY
(pointedly)
You know I think Brother Judge needs
our support right now, not our
suspicion
(picking up paper off
the press)
This is beautiful man. Folks around
here never read the truth like this
before.

TYRONE is just about to speak, when ELDRIDGE who's been
bustling around escorts Huey into a basket chair, replacing
his wine glass and paper with a spear and rifle. Tyrone stares
after them as ALMA comes over.

HUEY
El Rage what's with all the Zulu
shit?

ELRIDGE
We can no longer let the white media
control our image. We gotta let the
people know what we are about
ourselves.

HUEY
That's what our newspaper will do.

ELDRIDGE
But lots of our people don't read,
man. They need strong imagery to
help them out.

HUEY
Yeah... then shouldn't this be all
of us together.

ELDRIDGE
(propping up a shield)
Trust me Huey, this picture will be
worth a thousand words. Now have you
given any thought to that Peace and
Freedom Party thing. They really
want to hook up with us. Do a rally
together. Hell it'd broaden our base
of visibility.

HUEY
Yeah, but aligning with white
organizations. I'm not sure now's
the time.

ELDRIDGE
The time, my friend, is what Sartre
called, "the moment the match is
being put to the fuse." Question is,
is the hand holding that match gonna
be black or white.

HUEY
...no full fledge alliance. But I
think we should do a rally with them.
Show that there's some common ground
between Black and White. You all
with that?
(everyone nods)
All right then Eldridge, set it up.

EXT. ANTI WAR DEMONSTRATION - DAY

TITLE: OAKLAND INDUCTION CENTER OCTOBER 20, 1967

By far this is the largest rally we've seen. Police stand in
RIOT FORMATION as a HUGE CROWD looks up to a podium near the
center's steps.

CROWD
Hell No! We won't go! Hell No! We
won't go!!!

HUEY, TYRONE, ALMA, ELDRIDGE and a contingent of Panthers
hold precise formation at the side of the platform as AVAKIAN,
a sandy haired young man finishes his speech.

AVAKIAN
Not long ago, we came to these steps
to protest. We were four thousand
then. Tonight we are ten thousand.

A HUGE ROAR rises from the crowd.

CUT TO:

EXT. JUDGE'S PLACE - DAY

The ROAR continues over as Judge approaches his DOORWAY, a
CAR glides to the curb. BRIMMER -- eyes red-rimmed with hate --
stares out.

JUDGE BOLTS, running fast down an alleyway and turns the
corner. Screeching tires, two uniformed cops in a SQUAD CAR
blast out of nowhere, sealing the exit, weapons drawn.

Brimmer PULLS UP on the curb. In seconds he's got Judge face
down on the hood, CUFFED.

Brimmer SMACKS Judge's head against the car.

BRIMMER
Thanks a lot Motherfucker, that blind
man was real cute.

Brimmer drags Judge toward an ALLEY.

CUT TO:

EXT. ANTI WAR DEMONSTRATION - DAY

AVAKIAN
Ten thousand different voices. All
unified, saying one thing. That you
cannot have an imperialistic war
abroad and social peace at home. So
with that unity, that purpose in
mind... Ladies and Gentlemen I give
you the Minister of Defense of the
Black Panther Party -- Huey Newton.

APPLAUSE.

HUEY
Thank you. The Black Panther Party
is proud to be here tonight. Here in
front of this monument to oppression
both at home and abroad. Not far
from here, Brother Bobby Seale is
locked down.

Shouts go up, "Yeah Bobby!!" "Set the brother free!"

CUT TO:

EXT. ALLEY - DAY

Brimmer pushes Judge up against the wall.

HUEY
(over)
A victim of the tyranny we feel here
at home.

EXT. ANTI WAR DEMONSTRATION - DAY

HUEY
That same tyranny is at work many
miles from here. In Vietnam. Black
men are dying there, white men are
dying there. Yellow men are dying
there. We're told they're dying in
the name of freedom.
(a beat)
Freedom. Well, now if their blood's
keeping us free. How come so many of
us -- like Bobby -- are in jail. If
they're dying so we can enjoy our
rights, how come the police still
kill us in the streets?

Angry YELLS rise, agreeing with Huey.

CUT TO:

EXT. ALLEY - DAY

Brimmer lays into Judge, hitting him in the gut. Defenseless,
CUFFED, Judge takes each brutal punch.

CUT TO:

EXT. ANTI-WAR DEMONSTRATION - DAY

HUEY
So, when you think about it. The
question we have to ask is... Why
should the Black man go fight the
Yellow man for the White man? It's
that simple. The answer's simple
too.
(a beat)
We shouldn't!

THE CROWD CHEERS

CUT TO:

EXT. ALLEY - DAY

CHEERS ringing out, Brimmer's hands work for pain.

CUT TO:

EXT. ANTI-WAR DEMONSTRATION - DAY

HUEY
The Black Panther Party is opposed
to the war in Vietnam! We know our
war is here. Against hard drugs in
the community. Against unemployment.
Against a system that beats a Black
man in his home, then sends him to
die in a foreign land. That my
brothers and sisters, is our war.

Ten thousand unite in THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE.

CUT TO:

EXT. ALLEY - DAY

Crumpled on the ground, Judge's doubled up in pain. Brimmer
UNCUFFS him and WALKS AWAY. Over, the APPLAUSE rises to a
deafening pitch.

INT. HALLWAY - DAY

Brimmer stalks down the hall, unhappy. FBI guys in suits are
EVERYWHERE -- pulling teletypes, on the phones. They're like
an occupying army.

BRIMMER
(passing a doorway)
What the fuck?

RODGERS
(over)
Brimmer! Could you come in here
please?

INT. OFFICE - DAY

Rodgers has set himself up in a command center. Across from
him DORSETT sits like a whipped dog.

RODGERS
Sit down, This concerns you too.
(pulls out a Black
Panther newspaper)
I don't need to say that your
department's handling of the Black
Panthers -- particularly Inspector
Brimmer's "undercover operation" has
been a complete travesty.

BRIMMER
Just hold on a god damn minute. I...

Ignoring Brimmer, Rodgers passes the PAPERS to Dorsett.

RODGERS
These are memos from the commissioner,
the mayor and Hoover himself, putting
the Black Panthers and their
subversive activities under the full
jurisdiction of the Bureau.

DORSETT
(reading)
Jesus...

RODGERS
As far as Mr. Hoover is concerned
the worst has happened, the Panthers
have unified with other organizations --
most likely sponsored by communists --
to undermine the war in Vietnam.
(a beat)
By doing so, they have quite simply
guaranteed their own extinction.

Rodgers studies Dorsett and Brimmer's incredulous faces.

RODGERS
Of course we welcome any cooperation
the your department has to "offer..."

MONTAGE:

Jimi Hendrix's "Machine Gun" plays as the cops move in for
the kill...

EXT. MEETING HALL - NIGHT

A BOMB crashes through the window. Yells, Chaos, Then an
EXPLOSION.

INT. SAN FRANCISCO PANTHER HQ - DAY

Cops BATTER down a door, storming the place. They BURN papers,
destroy FOOD for the breakfast program. It looks and feels
like a modern day version of Kristalnacht.

EXT. OAKLAND PANTHER HQ - NIGHT

TYRONE and LITTLE BOBBY stand out front. A SQUAD CAR passes.
White faces gaze stonily at Black. A cop points his finger
like a GUN at the Panthers.

EXT. STREET - DAY

Cops SLAP NEWSPAPERS from Gene's hand, pushing him up against
the wall.

COP
What's your name punk?

GENE
Five.

COP
What?!?!?

GENE
Five!!

END MONTAGE:

INT. HUEY'S VW - NIGHT

Gene spins out his tale to HUEY. Jimi Hendrix plays in the
background

GENE
And I keep saying "Five" like the
fifth amendment you know? And shit
this cop is getting pissed. But there
ain't much he can do... So... dig
this, he gives me a ticket for
littering, on account of the papers
he ripped outta my hand.

Huey notices "cherry tops" red glow in the rear view mirror.

EXT. STREET - NIGHT

TITLE: OAKLAND SATURDAY OCTOBER 28, 1967

A SQUAD CAR sits, lights FLASHING, behind HUEY'S VOLKSWAGEN.

The belligerent BABY-FACED COP from the showdown on Grove
Street -- settles his flashlight beam on HUEY.

GENE, sitting next to Huey, looks very nervous.

BABY FACED COP
Well, well, well, what do we have
here, the great Huey P. Newton...
(a smile)
Get out of the car.

Huey holds up his LAW BOOK.

HUEY
(calmly and carefully)
California law does not require the
driver to leave a vehicle, unless he
is being placed under arrest...

BABY FACED COP
Well, then you're under arrest get
out of the car...

Baby Face pulls his REVOLVER.

GENE
Huey...

Huey moves out of the car very, very slowly -- his life
depending on it.

HUEY
I am not resisting arrest. Nor am I
armed. Any use of force on your part
is illegal...
(holding up BOOK)
according to California...

BABY FACED COP
You can take that law book and shove
it up your ass nigger...

ANOTHER SQUAD CAR pulls up. A NERVOUS PATROLMAN gets out.
His hand HOVERS over his pistol.

NERVOUS COP
Hey... whatcha got...

Baby Face COCKS his .38. Huey stiffens. TENSION.

BABY FACED COP
Buddy, we just got ourselves a
promotion.

There's a SOUND, GENE'S getting out of the car.

BABY FACED COP
You!!! Get the fuck back in...
(moves the gun)

GUNFIRE rings out. Hitting Huey in the gut. BABY FACE, also
wounded, drops.

The NERVOUS COP has freaked out and is shooting wildly.
Bleeding HUEY crawls toward BABY FACE'S GUN. He grabs it,
turning it on the NERVOUS COP.

MORE GUNFIRE. Chaos. Screaming. Splattered with BLOOD, THE
LAW BOOK lies on the ground, bearing an inscription on the
flyleaf: HUEY P. NEWTON.

CUT TO:

INT. CORRIDOR - HOSPITAL - NIGHT

Huey's HANDCUFFED to a GURNEY, being wheeled fast through
the hall. I.V.'s hang. Blood is everywhere. COPS hover
malevolently over his spread-eagled form.

Cops COVER HUEY'S FACE with a towel, then start viciously
BEATING HUEY. Doctors and Nurses look on impotently.

INT. PANTHER HQ - MORNING

Tears streak Alma's face. TYRONE, JUDGE and the other Panthers
sit solemnly. NEWSPAPERS cover every surface blaring: COP
SLAIN PANTHER LEADER WOUNDED IN SHOOT-OUT.

In the background, Panthers put Huey's WICKER CHAIR poster
in the window. Eldridge's got his ear glued to a PHONE.

ELDRIDGE
(to the others)
The pigs are going for Murder one...

TYRONE
Right with Bobby getting out, they
try to put Huey in the gas chamber...
Damn.

LITTLE BOBBY
Please Huey stay alive

INT. ALAMEDA COUNTY JAIL - DAY

In a MOS sequence, JACKSON a Black Trustee leads Bobby Seale --
dressed in STREET CLOTHES -- down the windy halls. Bobby
holds a FILE of RELEASE PAPERS.

Seale comes to the doorway of the INFIRMARY. HUEY lies there,
beaten and bloody. The two men LOCK EYES, each raising a
FIST in salute.

INT. AUDITORIUM - FREE HUEY MEETING - NIGHT

Bobby enters. The auditorium is empty except for Cleaver,
Tyrone, and Little Bobby.

BOBBY SEALE
(shocked)
Where's everybody?

TYRONE
We had over a hundred people, just
on the "Free Huey" Defense Committee
alone until we chose a lawyer.

CHARLES GARRY, a white man in a crumpled suit move across
the gym floor towards them.

BOBBY SEALE
Can he free Huey?

ELDRIDGE
If anybody can, he's the man.

Bobby Seale SHAKES Garry's hand.

BOBBY SEALE
(to the Panthers)
Brothers the struggle has begun...
We need allies and we need 'em fast.
Eldridge?

ELDRIDGE
I'm on it...

EXT. STEPS - ALAMEDA COUNTY JAIL - DAY

TITLE: JANUARY 10, 1968

Panther FLAGS fly -- now bearing the words "FREE HUEY." A
nonstop RALLY/VIGIL of Panthers and Black Folks covers the
steps. WHITE FOLKS wear "HONKIES FOR HUEY." buttons.

Uniformed COPS stare out from the jail's GLASS DOORS.

CROWD
Black is beautiful/FREE HUEY!/Set
our warrior free/FREE HUEY!/Black is
beautiful/FREE HUEY/Set our warrior
free...

Bobby Seale stands next to Eldridge and other BLACK ACTIVISTS
near a microphone. A very intense, wiry man in sunglasses
approaches the mike -- STOKELY CARMICHAEL.

Carmichael's speaking style is unique, his slow low-key drawl
underscoring the incendiary nature of the words.

CARMICHAEL
We say that Huey P. Newton is a
prisoner of war. Many people say
that that's not true. Or that the
Party is exaggerating. I think it's
clear, it's crystal clear that the
United States has declared war on
Black people. She did that when she
took the first black man from Africa.

The Crowd ROARS in approval, raising Black FISTS.

CARMICHAEL
Now of course, she never came out
and said the words, "I declare war
on Black people. She did not do that.
Well now, the United States to this
day has not declared war on Vietnam,
but there is Vietnam. They did not
declare war on North Korea but they
fought in North Korea. And they did
not declare war against the Indians.
They just wiped them out.

MORE applause, even non-Panthers pick up on the message.

CARMICHAEL
So we must define our position... We
are at war. Huey P. Newton, Minister
of Defense, is our leader. He is in
jail. He is a prisoner of war. We
must get him by any means necessary.
If we cannot get him, we must, we
must retaliate. Period.

CHEERS, a CALL rises from the crowd -- plain in it's message:
"Free Huey." Over and over again. "Free Huey."

CUT TO:

INT. PANTHER HQ - DAY

A bee hive of activity, Bobby mans the phone. Tyrone, Alma
and Judge open a BOX -- containing FREE HUEY BUTTONS.

ELDRIDGE
Man, we can't make enough of these
things. We got movie stars calling
up, asking how they can help. I tell
you sister it's nation time...

ALMA
Yeah I wish we didn't need no pins...
Wish Huey was here right now...

JUDGE
(softly)
Me too...

Tyrone fixes Judge with an INQUISITIVE STARE.

TYRONE
You sure about that... brother?

At the door LITTLE BOBBY -- amazed -- YELLS to the others.

LITTLE BOBBY
Brothers!!! Sisters! Come here. This,
you gotta see...

EXT. PANTHER OFFICE - DAY

A GOOD SIZED NEIGHBORHOOD group caries FOOD inside. OLDER
MEN, kids, BOBBY HUTTON'S MOM. In the front walks RITA.

Judge pushes to the front, his jaw drops. He exchanges a
probing LOOK with his mom.

RITA
You all been working so much... you
know. Me and some others thought you
might be missing the home cooking...

MRS. HUTTON taps a finger to his "Free Huey" button.

MRS. HUTTON
Hey... you got any more of those...

LAUGHTER rises as the Panthers usher their folks in.

INT. RODGERS OFFICE - DAY

Rodgers, obviously getting an earful over the phone, splutters
excuses and explanations.

RODGERS
Granted, the Free Huey thing has
become a bit of a rallying cry for
the left...

HOOVER
(over)
Rallying cry, it's an insurrection.
Seale, that god damned Cleaver, Where
the hell do these guys come from?

RODGERS
Well... like they say, there's a
Panther born every minute in the
ghetto. Uh... we seem to have
"underestimated" the support of the
Black community. It's their power
base...

CUT TO:

INT. HOOVER'S OFFICE - DAY

Hoover takes a couple moments before saying his next words.

HOOVER
Well, then we're going to take that
power away from those bastards.

RODGERS
(over)
You mean...

HOOVER
Yes, that's exactly what I mean. And
Agent Rodgers?... This conversation
never occurred.

Hoover HANGS UP.

CUT TO:

EXT. FISHING BOAT - DAY

MEN wander the decks as RODGERS and DORSETT stare off the
bow at the Bay. TONY keep an eye on them from a distance.

DORSETT
Rodgers... this is no good...

RODGERS
Cut the crap, you've been taking the
man's money for years. Now it's time
you earned it.

A booming VOICE grabs their attention.

TRAFFICANTE
(over)
Gentlemen!!! Forgive me for keeping
you.

An immaculately dressed man -- LOUIS TRAFFICANTE -- steps
out. Smooth as silk, his every movement spells Mafia.

TRAFFICANTE
Odd isn't it Chief Dorsett? No matter
how much we try to deny it, we find
ourselves on the same side of the
coin. It's almost funny...

Trafficante settles easily into a deck chair. Dorsett's
looking mildly indignant.

DORSETT
To be quite honest it turns my
stomach.

RODGERS
Neither your stomach or your opinion
matters here Dorsett... What matters
is that Mr. Trafficante and the Bureau
have come up with a solution to our
Panther Problem. One might say...The
Final Solution.

TRAFFICANTE
Well put. As you and Agent Rodgers
know, my organization has moved into
narcotics. It was decided that this
product would be confined to the
ghettos. However, you and your police
department has made operations in
Oakland impossible. I take delivery
of shipments and they sit. I -- and
my associates -- lose money. Vast
sums of money. Now, you have some
very large problems with the Black
community.

RODGERS
More like a revolution. West Oakland's
turning into hostile territory.

TRAFFICANTE
I assure you the pacifying properties
of Heroin are quite remarkable. See,
junkie's politics are different from
yours and mine. For them the only
Party's the next fix.

DORSETT
Dealing dope... And you want the
department to turn a blind eye while
you turn Oakland into a city of
zombies.

TRAFFICANTE
Not the entire city, just one
troublesome part.

DORSETT
And what if it spreads to the rest
of the population?

TRAFFICANTE
Relax, Chief. That will never happen.
I gotta little gypsy in me. Soon the
moolies gonna be too busy -- we'll
sell 'em a few guns too -- blowing
each others brains out over the stuff
to be fucking with protests. Now
I've got the product. What I need is
a center of operation and someone to
oversee the movement of the product.
Not one of my people but a native,
someone inside the community.

RODGERS
I don't think that will be any
problem...

DORSETT
You talk as if this thing's already
been decided.

Rodgers hits Dorsett with a piercing GLARE.

RODGERS
It has.

CUT TO:

INT. RITA'S APARTMENT - DAY

JUDGE and LITTLE BOBBY sit, finishing dinner as Rita bustles
around clearing DISHES, being a mom...

In the background, the TV plays, its sound turned down.

RITA
Glad to see you boys eat like that.
No wonder either you're both looking
like scarecrows. Don't sleep, don't
eat, ain't no way to live...

LITTLE BOBBY
It's good to be skinny, easier to
run from fat cops.
(his eye catching the
TV)
Hey what's that?

Casually, everyone glances at the television.

HORROR hit RITA'S face.

RITA
Oh no... Dr. King...

CLOSE UP: TELEVISION - KING ASSASSINATION

FOOTAGE: The balcony... Abernathy, Young, Jackson POINT to
where the shots came from as Dr. King bleeds on the cement.

INT. RITA'S BROWNSTONE - DAY

Everyone stares at the television. Rita has dropped a BOWL
on the floor. Little Bobby's face is covered with TEARS.

RITA
Oh lord, please god no. No.

LITTLE BOBBY
They killed him. He never hurt nobody.
They killed him...

CUT TO:

FOOTAGE: America EXPLODES into riot.

EXT. MARKET STREET - DAY

The Panthers trot over to where THREE YOUNG MEN face a SMALL
GROCERY. One's holding a GAS CAN.

YOUNG MAN
That's right burn the mother down.

REVEREND SLOCUM steps from the shadows.

SLOCUM
Hold on there, exactly what are you
boys doing?

YOUNG MAN
Sending a message... They shoot Dr.
King... we burn them...

SLOCUM
What good's burning our neighborhood
down.

YOUNG MAN #2
Fuck you.

It gets TENSE. Then a voice come from a SIDE STREET.

VOICE
Brother... you best clean out your
head, or we will do it for you.

Turning, the young man spots a CADRE of Panthers -- Tyrone,
Alma, and Little Bobby moving toward them.

TYRONE
Reverend's right, you burn the
neighborhood, you're just doing the
pig's work for him. And we sure as
hell ain't gonna stand for that.
Dig?

Eyeing the deadly serious Panthers, the men back down.

YOUNG MAN
I dig. But how we gonna let 'em know
we ain't gonna take this shit.

ALMA
You know where Black Panther
headquarters is? You come on down
there, speak your mind, listen.
Organize.

YOUNG MAN
I don't know...

TYRONE
(grabbing the can)
Later for that... be there.

Rev. Slocum gazes at the Panthers with new respect as they
head off into the night.

INT. PANTHER HEADQUARTERS - NIGHT

Tense, angry, the PANTHERS meets. Flanked by two PANTHER
BODYGUARDS, ELDRIDGE speaks pure rage.

ELDRIDGE
No more words!!! No more god damn
words!! No more sitting, no more
praying for the pig to stop killing
us. Later for lying down. Later for
waiting to get shot like dogs.
Nonviolence has died in Memphis,
died with Dr. King. We must retaliate.
We've got the fucking guns, it's
time to use them.

BODYGUARD
Off the pig man. Off the god damn
pig.

Bobby Seale -- his eyes steely -- INTERRUPTS.

BOBBY
Brother Eldridge... I hear you. But
I disagree. And we both know Huey
disagrees too. Yeah, we got the guns,
but the Pigs got more. The Pig has
got the National Guard. I'm not afraid
to fight. But we aren't stupid either.
We got to be smart, not angry.

ELDRIDGE
Later for that...

TYRONE
(pissed)
No man... later for you! What? We
gonna forget Huey and his trial?
Start killing pigs, start the
revolution now. With our leader in
jail? We do that and Huey's a dead
man. We're all dead. No man, we stay
cool.

ELDRIDGE
What? You giving me orders now?

TYRONE
Just telling you what it is.

ELDRIDGE
Fuck that. It's time to intensify
the struggle. That is what it is.

Indignant, Eldridge storms out -- his guards follow.

BOBBY
(watching them leave)
Fuck.

INT. VISITING ROOM - DAY

Bobby Seale -- haggard, concerned -- faces HUEY under the
watchful eye of a GUARD.

HUEY
You got to sit on Eldridge...

BOBBY
Man, El-Rage is El-Rage. You know
him.

HUEY
Yeah, I do, but he's gotta cool it...

EXT. STREET - OAKLAND - NIGHT

TITLE: OAKLAND CALIFORNIA APRIL 6, 1968

SMALL HOUSES sit quietly on this tree lined street, as...

Car full of cops screeches into frame blasting ELDRIDGE fires
back. A couple of other Panthers scatter as Eldridge pulls
LITTLE BOBBY towards a house for safety.

ELDRIDGE
C'mon.

EXT. BASEMENT - NIGHT

ELDRIDGE tumbles down STAIRS, LITTLE BOBBY right behind him.
They hunker down in the basement, sweating. Eldridge checks
his legs -- BLOOD soaks his pants.

EXT. HOUSE - NIGHT

HALF A DOZEN police cars screech to a stop in front of the
house. Cops POP up, armed to the teeth.

INT. BASEMENT - NIGHT

BULLETS tear through the room as Eldridge and Little Bobby
hit the deck. It's a ferocious volley of fire, hundreds of
shells pouring through the thin walls.

EXT. HOUSE - NIGHT

For a second the GUNFIRE STOPS. A SERGEANT makes a motion to
his men. TEAR GAS rifles appear.

The COPS fire gas canisters THROUGH the basement walls.

INT. BASEMENT - NIGHT

Smoke chokes the room, as Little Bobby and Eldridge, blinded
hacking, crawl along the floor.

LITTLE BOBBY
Papa E, we got to get out of here.

Eldridge THINKS for a second.

ELDRIDGE
Take off your clothes.

LITTLE BOBBY
What?

ELDRIDGE
(undressing)
Take 'em off. Pigs ain't gonna shoot
an unarmed, naked man. Where they
gonna say you hid a gun.

LITTLE BOBBY
No man I can't.

ELDRIDGE
Later for that. Just do it.

EXT. HOUSE - NIGHT

HANDS UP, Eldridge and Little Bobby emerge from the house.
Eldridge's NAKED, Little Bobby's fully CLOTHED.

Cops descend on them, grabbing them.

COP#1
(pointing to a car)
Go on, get in that car fuckers, and
don't try nothing.

Moving very slowly, Eldridge heads for the car.

ELDRIDGE
I am not resisting arrest!!

Suddenly, a COP SHOVES Little Bobby forward. He stumbles a
bit, out in the open, EXPOSED.

A VOLLEY of SHOTS rips through Little Bobby. Tearing him up,
KILLING him in moments.

EXT. POLICE CAR - NIGHT

Next to the car, Eldridge stares horrified at Little Bobby's
ruined body. A SERGEANT stands nearby.

A COP approaches the Sergeant holding a .22 PISTOL.

COP
He was going for this...

ELDRIDGE
(disgusted)
Motherfuckers...

Wham! The Sergeant PISTOL WHIPS Eldridge into unconsciousness

The SCREEN goes BLACK.

EXT. PANTHER HQ - DAY

Opposite the HUEY poster, a new IMAGE hangs -- LITTLE BOBBY's
picture. A memorial to a Panther's martyr.

EXT. CEMETERY - DAY

A SMALL CASKET lowers into the ground. Panthers pay their
respects. The CROWD with JUDGE, ALMA, TYRONE, RITA, AND REV.
SLOCUM disperses.

ALMA
Little Bobby... Just a kid...

TYRONE
(somber)
They're hurting us, baby. Huey locked
up. Bobby Seale running all over the
country holding things together. Cy
dead. Little Bobby... I don't
recognize half the faces at meetings.

Tyrone's eyes JUDGE suspiciously.

TYRONE
'Cept him...

Strain showing on his face, BOBBY SEALE heads over.

BOBBY
Look... I gotta get on a plane
tonight. Huey's trial's starting. I
need you to make sure there's a strong
Panther Presence there.

TYRONE
What about Cleaver? You got him out
on bail, didn't you?

BOBBY
Yeah... but well, things are too
hot. Eldridge and Kathleen...

EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY

Tyrone watches from the window of ELDRIDGE'S PLYMOUTH as
Eldridge and Kathleen climb out of the car and into the back
of an old pickup truck.

BOBBY
(over)
...they're gonna disappear...

MONTAGE:

FOOTAGE: NEWSPAPER JULY 15, 1968

The headline reads: NEWTON TRIAL BEGINS.

INT. PANTHER HQ - DAY

An absolute MADHOUSE of activity, Alma, Judge and Tyrone
juggle phones, fill boxes with pins. Everywhere the words:
FREE HUEY can be seen.

END MONTAGE:

INT. WAREHOUSE - NIGHT

Rodgers and Dorsett sit facing TWO BLACK MEN, one is named
SHORTY, the other we cannot see. Dorsett looks ill. He pops
a TUMS. BRIMMER'S there too, looking very unhappy.

RODGERS
So you enjoy your little "vacation?"

VOICE
I tell you, Vegas don't have much
flavor. But it was alright. Good to
get back to the neighborhood though.

RODGERS
That's what we wanted to talk to you
about. We have a proposition for
you. One that will make you the most
powerful man in West Oakland...

The CAMERA MOVES. We see the man Rodgers is talking to --
SABU.

SABU
(smiling)
I'm all ears...

EXT. SAN FRANCISCO BAY - DUSK

SUNSET paints the water peaceful colors a night falls.

INT. JUDGE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

It's late as Judge lays on his bed, staring at the ceiling,
tortured.

BOOM! Judges door flies off its hinges. BRIMMER storms in --
mean, drunk. He's on Judge in a second -- handcuffing him.

JUDGE
Hey... what the hell you doing?

BRIMMER
Shut up. Just shut the fuck up.

EXT. BAY BRIDGE - NIGHT

BRIMMER'S CAR pulls onto the bridge.

INT. BRIMMER'S CAR - NIGHT

Apprehensive, Judge eyes Brimmer from the back seat.

JUDGE
Brimmer what's with you man?

Stone silent, Brimmer takes a deep swig from a PINT BOTTLE.

EXT. BAY BRIDGE - NIGHT

Brimmer's car approaches the center of the Bridge, then KEEPS
GOING.

INT. BRIMMER'S CAR - NIGHT

Judge stares at Brimmer's back, relieved, confused.

BRIMMER
(mumbling, loaded)
Twenty years asshole. Twenty years
on the force. I've seen some fucked
up stuff. Done some fucked up stuff...
(a beat)
But nothing like this...

EXT. BAY BRIDGE - NIGHT

Brimmer's car pulls over on the shoulder past the toll booth.
He yanks Judge out of the car. Then UNCUFFS him.

BRIMMER
Go! Run! Go on! Get the fuck out of
here!!

JUDGE
What? So you can shoot me? Call it
resisting arrest?

BRIMMER
I ain't gonna shoot you Judge. Look...
it's over. Just run away. Get out.
Stay away from Oakland. Cause it's
gone... it's gone.

JUDGE
Brimmer you're fucked up...

BRIMMER
Yeah... I'm fucked up. You're fucked
up. Government's fucked up. Whole
country's fucked up. You got no idea
what's going on here. This is bigger
than you and me. We're just little
tiny soldiers getting moved around
on some big asshole's desk. The
Panthers... fuck you're history...
they killed you and you don't even
know it.

JUDGE
Who's they?

BRIMMER
(rambling on getting
into his car)
Drugs Judge, they're gonna flood
West Oakland with dope. Jack you up
and string you out like a two dollar
whore. And while the community's
shuffling for a fix, they're gonna
snuff every Panther they can find.

JUDGE
Who? I mean besides the FBI?

BRIMMER
I don't know. Except, it's one of
you. Maybe not a Panther, but it's
someone from the neighborhood. Judge.
Look, just go. Get away. It's over.
You lost.
(a beat)
We all lost.

Brimmer's car lumbers away, kicking up gravel. Judge --
thinking furiously -- stares after it.

THE BRIDGE looms up in the background, dwarfing Judge.

JUDGE
Fuck that. Ain't nothing over.

EXT. BAY BRIDGE - DAWN

Judge WALKS across the bridge heading BACK to Oakland.

EXT. JUDGE'S PLACE - DAY

Judge, weary approaches his building. He spins, startled, as
something moves in the alleyway. A voice calls out.

VOICE (O.S.)
Judge...

Judge moves into the alley, eyes adjusting to the darkness.

JUDGE
Rose?

ROSE
(scared... whispering)
Yeah... Look man, what I gotta say.
It's just you, me and the rats, right?
Alright... well... Sabu's back.

JUDGE
Motherfuck... well then I got
something to do.

ROSE
No... wait, there's something else,
something weird. I hear he's set up
down at that warehouse on fifty deuce.
He's talking big and living bigger.

REALIZATION dawns on Judge.

JUDGE
God damn it's him. I gotta go.

ROSE
Judge man. Watch yourself. Sabu's
got juice now.

JUDGE
You don't even know it man, but you're
a god damn hero.

Judge bolts out the alley. ROSE stares after him.

INT. VISITING ROOM - JAIL - DAY

MOS: Judge and HUEY TALK EARNESTLY through a GLASS PARTITION.

EXT. STEPS - ALAMEDA COUNTY COURTHOUSE - DAY

Alma and Tyrone stand at the front of a huge CROWD standing
vigil for HUEY'S trial.

CROWD
No more brothers in jail
Off the Pig!
The pigs are gonna catch hell
Off the Pig!
Revolution has come
Off the Pig!
Time to pick up the gun
Off the Pig!

INT. COURTROOM - DAY

NEWSMEN cover every available seat, frantically writing notes
as THE PROSECUTOR finishes examining THE WOUNDED POLICE
OFFICER from the shoot-out.

CHARLES GARRY, Huey's lawyer, a WHITE MAN in a rumpled suit,
sits next to Huey, with a STRANGE smile on his face...

PROSECUTOR
Now you say that it was Huey Newton
that opened fire without any
provocation What makes you so sure?
It was a dark night, there was a lot
of confusion.

WOUNDED COP
Well, sir I was there.

PROSECUTOR
That's right you were.
(to the Jury)
He was there. He saw everything. And
he is not on trial. He does not need
to lie to save his life.
(to Garry)
Your witness.

GARRY
Thank you.
(to the Judge)
If it would please the court, I would
like to introduce testimony of a new
witness. One who is not on trial for
his life and... one who was there
also. I call Gene McKinney to the
stand.

A MURMUR ripples through the court as Gene McKinney takes
the stand. The Prosecutor goes red with rage.

PROSECUTOR
Objection, who is this man?

GARRY
This is an eyewitness to the shooting.
The passenger in Huey Newton's car.

JUDGE
Overruled Mr. Garry you may examine
your witness.

GARRY
Mr. McKinney, were you a passenger
in the car on the night of October
28, 1967.

GENE
Yes sir I was.

GARRY
And did you witness the shoot-out?

GENE
Yes sir, I did.

GARRY
From what you saw, did Huey Newton
start the shooting?

GENE
No sir he didn't.

More MURMURING, the Prosecutor looks dumbfounded.

GARRY
Huh, well then...
(a pause)
did someone else start shooting?

GENE
I refuse to answer the question on
the grounds it might incriminate me.

The COURTROOM EXPLODES in shock and amazement.

GARRY
Did you shoot the officers in
question?

GENE
Again I'll take the fifth amendment
on that question.

MAYHEM, the Prosecutor begins yelling. The Judge bangs his
gavel, and the jury looks very confused.

CUT TO:

INT. PANTHER HQ - DAY

Excited, ALMA slams down a PHONE. Every set of Panther eyes
is on her.

ALMA
That was Garry.
(smiling)
He says they're gonna come back with
manslaughter.

YOUNG PANTHER
What's that mean?

TYRONE
It means youngblood, Huey's out in
less than two years. He ain't gonna
get the chair. He might not be free
yet, but brothers and sisters he is
not going to die.

A CHEER ripples through the room. Alma HUGS Tyrone.

TYRONE
I gotta call Bobby...

Tyrone reaches for the PHONE, it RINGS before he can pick it
up.

TYRONE
Black Panther Party.

RODGERS
(over)
Congratulations asshole. Huey got
off, but we just got your boy Bobby
Seale.

CUT TO:

EXT. HIGHWAY KIDNAPPING (BLACK/WHITE) - DAY

POLICE CARS on a highway force a PANTHER wedding caravan off
the road. Guns drawn, cops rip SEALE from the car, dragging
him on his back toward an UNMARKED CAR.

TYRONE
(over)
Who the fuck is this?

RODGERS
(over)
The tooth fairy. And I got a present
for you. Guy who helped us get Bobby
His name's Judge.

CUT TO:

INT. PANTHER H.Q. - DAY

Click, the line goes dead. Tyrone smacks the phone into it's
cradle. GRIM-FACED, Tyrone looks to ALMA.

INT. ROSE'S - NIGHT

Something moves outside, Rose turns dropping his wine. It's
Sabu and Shorty. Sabu fires... killing Rose and his dog.

INT. PANTHER HQ - NIGHT

Judge moves into the dark, senses on alert. Something's wrong.
Suddenly he's attacked. He flips his assailant as the light
snap on. Tyrone has Judge in a choke hold, Alma has him at
gun point.

JUDGE
Fuck is up?!

TYRONE
Mothafucker! You just set Bobby Seale
up to be kidnapped. They dragged him
off to some bullshit conspiracy trial
in Chicago. How much the pigs pay
you for this one, Judge?
(pulling out his gun
and cocking it)

Judge's HAND flies out, grabbing ahold of Tyrone's GUN HAND.
Neither moving a muscle, Judge STARES at Tyrone.

JUDGE
You got it wrong.

Alma, puts her 38 to Judge's face.

ALMA
Let him go. And drop your piece.

Outgunned, Judge obeys.

CUT TO:

EXT. GROVE STREET - NIGHT

TWO COP CARS move slowly toward Panther HQ.

INT. COP CAR - NIGHT

An ANGRY COP lights a cigarette as his partner drives past
Panther HQ.

ANGRY COP
Can't believe that rat bastard ain't
going to the chair. That Newton turd
should be taken out and shot.

Pointing to the WICKER POSTER, the driver SMILES.

PARTNER
How about a little target practice?

INT. PANTHER HQ - NIGHT

Glaring at Judge, Tyrone's finger TIGHTENS on the TRIGGER.

JUDGE
(dead serious)
You better just kill me Tyrone. And
when Huey gets out, when Oakland's
just wall to wall junkies, you tell
him you blew away the only chance we
all got. I'm sure he'll be real happy
about that.

TYRONE
What are you saying?

JUDGE
The pigs are gonna start flooding us
with dope. Huey wants us to stop
them.

TYRONE
Bullshit...

ALMA
Tyrone hold on...

BLAM!! A shot from outside shatters the window. The trio
dives for cover. Another SHOT wings ALMA.

EXT. PANTHER HQ - NIGHT

Out front, FOUR COPS in two cars, FIRE on the OFFICE. Bullets
rip into the POSTERS of HUEY and LITTLE BOBBY.

INT. PANTHER HQ - NIGHT

Tyrone, gun still on Judge, huddles on the floor.

Screeching tires can be heard outside, the COPS LEAVING.

TYRONE
Chickenshits? What you bring your
buddies with you?

JUDGE
No man No!! Tyrone listen... we got
to move man, they got a warehouse...

TYRONE
Shut the fuck up!!

Alma APPEARS her left arm BLOODY.

ALMA
Tyrone...

TYRONE
Oh shit Alma... you're...

ALMA
I'm okay... listen to me...
(serious)
Let's go with Judge, check it out.

TYRONE
What?!? Don't tell me you're buying
this?

A tense moment, Alma looks from Judge to Tyrone.

ALMA
Yeah, I believe him. And you do too.

After a moment of thought, Tyrone RISES. Then he picks up
JUDGE's .45. Alma GRABS her own GUN.

TYRONE
Alright, but no fucking around.

EXT. WAREHOUSE - NIGHT

TWO BLACK THUGS stand on opposite sides of the warehouse
doors, checking out the street.

INT. ELDRIDGE'S CAR - NIGHT

TYRONE - in the passenger seat, a gun on Judge -- stares at
the warehouse from the car. Alma, her arm ROUGHLY BANDAGED
sits in back.

ALMA
Those ain't cops.

TYRONE
And they sure ain't from the
neighborhood. Figure Sabu's in there?

JUDGE
Yeah with a whole load of drugs. So,
you trust me now?

Tyrone takes his .38 off Judge, then COCKS Judge's .45 and
HANDS it to him

TYRONE
Brother, I ain't got a choice...

INT. WAREHOUSE OFFICE - NIGHT

SABU is talking quietly with TRAFFICANTE's right hand man,
TONY. SHORTY and THREE BURLY BLACK BODYGUARDS stand nearby.
Suddenly Sabu hears and sound and pulls his gun.

SHORTY
Fuck was that?

SABU
Check the back.

Suddenly gunfire rips out. Tony disappears as Shorty gets
taken down. One of the THUGS nails Tyrone in the shoulder,
Judge retaliates blasting him backwards.

JUDGE
(helping Tyrone up)
You alright?

TYRONE
Not really. Gimme the keys for the
trunk.

ALMA moves shakily from the BACK SEAT.

TYRONE
(to Alma)
Stay here, watch this door. Anybody
besides me and Judge steps out kill
them.

Alma -- ever the soldier -- NODS.

INT. WAREHOUSE

Warily, Judge and Tyrone step in. Tyrone's BLEEDING heavily.
Judge holds a GAS CAN. It's quiet. Too quiet.

TYRONE
There it is...

On a TABLE in the corner of the DARK warehouse sits BOXES,
VIALS and a stack of GLASSINE BAGS - filled with POWDER.

JUDGE
(handing the CAN over)
Shut the motherfucker down. I'll
find Sabu.

Tyrone moves to the table. A BULLET hits him in the leg.
Another rips into Judge, dropping him to the floor.

SABU
(over)
You just did.

INT. WAREHOUSE - NIGHT

Tyrone drops, his GAS CAN spilling out over the floor.

Judge ROLLS -- operating like a soldier -- emptying the .45
into the BODYGUARD #1.

Sabu and the other BODYGUARDS disappear into the SHADOWS.

EJECTING the clip from the .45 and slams a fresh one in. He
gets to his feet, LIMPING into the DARKNESS.

A NOISE sounds, Judge WHIRLS firing, dropping BODYGUARD #2.
Judge TURNS coming eye to eye with a .45, held by a very
HIGH SABU.

SABU
Drop the gun Panther man.

Pistol pushed against Judge's skull, Sabu moves around to
Judge's side. Judge DROPS the gun.

SABU
All your mighty militant bullshit,
man you don't know what fucking time
it is do you? Dig it
(holding up a bag of
COCAINE)
this is power baby.

JUDGE
Sabu you sorry motherfucker...

SABU
Sorry? Not me not now. This is my
time not yours. Black Panthers? Who
the fuck are you. Promising everything
to everyone. Well fuck that. I got
mine... Now y'all get yours...
brother.

Sabu COCKS the gun.

Judge SPINS, batting Sabu's gun hand away.

JUDGE
You ain't my fucking brother!!

BULLETS tear through Sabu as TYRONE fires from the ground.

TYRONE
Damn straight.

INT. WAREHOUSE - NIGHT

Judge and Tyrone help each other up... From BEHIND a CRATE,
the SECOND BODYGUARD bolts toward the DOOR.

GUNFIRE blares out, blasting the BODYGUARD across the room.
ALMA appears in the doorway.

TYRONE
Alma I told you to...

ALMA
(icy calm)
Fuck that, we've got company...

EXT. WAREHOUSE - NIGHT

POLICE CARS pull up in front. Armed to the teeth with RIOT
GUNS, half a dozen COPS take up position behind the cars.

INT. WAREHOUSE - NIGHT

Alma -- hidden in the shadows -- watches the windows. Behind
her. Tyrone -- BADLY HURT -- leans against the wall next to
her. Behind them Judge finishes pouring out the GAS CAN.

ALMA
Judge... hurry!

Throwing that can away, Judge SMILES at Tyrone.

JUDGE
Hey, brother you got a match?

GUN SHOTS rip through the walls as the cops OPEN FIRE.

EXT. WAREHOUSE - NIGHT

Riot Guns pour lead into the building a la the Fred Hampton
massacre. Today, the police are taking no prisoners.

Behind the POLICE, RODGERS watches the mayhem, SHAKING his
head. Whatever the outcome, the operation's OVER. Alone, he
WALKS back to his car.

INT. WAREHOUSE - NIGHT

Tyrone CRAWLS across the floor, leaving a trail of BLOOD,
toward Judge and Alma.

JUDGE
Motherfuckers...

TYRONE
(hurt bad)
Look... You... take her and get the
hell out of here. I'll keep 'em busy.

ALMA
No...

TYRONE
(to Judge)
You gotta. You gotta stay alive. You
know what they were trying to do
here. You got the pigs dead to rights.
It's like Huey said, you're more
important than any of us.

JUDGE
We'll all get out of here together.

TYRONE
Later for that. I'm done either way...

Another BARRAGE of bullets rips through the walls. One GRAZES
Tyrone's ARM. His GUN slides across the floor.

The PISTOL settles ominously in front of Alma. She looks
over it at Tyrone. Their eyes LOCK.

TYRONE
Go...

Click! Clack! Faster than a thought, Alma checks, clears and
COCKS the pistol. She HANDS it to Tyrone. Tragic understanding
flows between them.

Grabbing the pistol, Tyrone SCOOTS across the floor.

ALMA
Tyrone!!!

Near the door, Tyrone turns to Judge and raises his fist.

TYRONE
Power to the people.

EXT. WAREHOUSE - NIGHT

FLAMES leaping up behind him, TYRONE, pure defiance, steps
out and FACES the cops.

The IMAGE FREEZES. GUNFIRE cuts through the air. The moment
is frozen, in time, in history, in legend. Slowly, the IMAGE
dissolves. Fading into...

EXT. PANTHER HEADQUARTERS

SUPERIMPOSED over the WAREHOUSE FLAMES, the bullet-riddled
posters of HUEY and LITTLE BOBBY stare out, like a legacy...
or a warning.

CUT TO:

EXT. CLOSE-UP: SIDEWALK - DAY

CONCRETE, cracked and dirty, fills the frame. A SMALL FOOT
steps onto the pavement.

EXT. 55TH AND MARKET - DAY

A STOPLIGHT hangs at the once deadly intersection. SCHOOL
KIDS wait at the corner. The light CHANGES and they step
safely into the street.

JUDGE
(over)
The community got the streetlight...
finally. But the way I see it...

THE SCREEN GOES BLACK. A TITLE APPEARS

IN 1970 THERE WERE 300,000 ADDICTS IN THE U.S. YESTERDAY,
THERE WERE 3 MILLION...

JUDGE
(over)
The struggle continues...

THE END

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