What follows is the beginning of an editorial essay written in 2000 and posted to the No Parole Peltier Association website relating to the timing of the unprovoked attack and brutal murder by Leonard Peltier of Special Agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams.
The details below are as valid today as they were on June 26, 1975:
Most people have heard the expression Timing is Everything. For the incident on June 26, 1975, timing WAS everything. Perhaps the most crucial and telling evidence of what happened that day at Pine Ridge comes from the words of Agent Williams himself. A number of employees in the FBI Resident Agency in Rapid City (RCRA) overheard the first radio transmissions of what the agents were facing that day. Although there has been much discussion and lengthy litigation about what exactly was said, considering that in moments of extreme stress perceptions and recollections may vary, nevertheless, one aspect of those radio transmissions is undisputed.
The book, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse reviews the timing of Agent Williams' radio calls to the RCRA and other agents but is presented for reasons other than defining the timing of those transmissions. Its purpose was to lay the groundwork for the supposed contradictions and confusion by the FBI over the (alleged and later determined to be fictitious) red pickup truck (Footnote #1). It does, however, clearly establish the initial sequence of events as Agents’ Coler and Williams followed a vehicle—which they believed contained fugitive Jimmy Eagle, onto the Jumping Bull property.
All those who overheard the transmissions are consistent over how rapidly the situation developed.
"...when a number of people monitoring the FBI channels heard an increasingly urgent series of transmissions." (ITSOCH p. 173-176)
As Waring (an FBI Agent) recalled Williams's words...There appears to be some Indians in the vehicle and they appear to have rifles. Then almost instantly, he said he had come under fire and immediately requested help from any units that were listening at the time. It was basically a continuous conversation by him on the radio. He continued by indicating that "they are on the ridge above us and firing on us." He was noticeably out of breath at that point and his voice had a little more excitement in it and he announced that, "I've been hit."
Agent Gary Adams responding from about fifteen miles away overheard Agent Williams, "There are several guys around this house...and it looks like they're going to take off. They're getting into that pickup. I hope you have a lot of gas (presumably radioed from Agent Williams to Agent Coler)." "It looks like those guys are going to shoot at us! Within two minutes, Adams heard gunfire on his radio. Then Williams yelled, "We have been hit."
FBI stenographer Linda Price in the RCRA overheard Agent Williams state, "We're following a red vehicle, you want to keep an eye out for it." There was a pause for approximately 30 seconds, when SA Williams transmitted, "I hope you have enough gas." The next transmission made by SA Williams were words to the effect, "We got a problem here." There was another pause for approximately 30 seconds, [then] "get up on the hill, we're being fired at."
Agent John McCarthy in the Rapid City office heard "something about chasing a red jeep," and FBI stenographer Ann M. Johnson heard Williams say, "There is something wrong here, we are being fired on," followed by the emergency exchange between Williams and Adams.
All of these transmissions were overheard within SEVERAL MINUTES before and after 12:00 noon and all reasonably within a TEN MINUTE period.
Given what the listeners overheard from Agent Williams and the responding agent (Adams), and presuming that their recollections may differ, one element is consistent, they all heard something during the same brief period of time.
The above transmissions establish, with reasonable certainty that within moments of driving onto the Jumping Bull property, they immediately recognized that they were in danger and began taking fire from the individuals in the vehicle they were following and from elsewhere in the compound. Within those minutes they had no time apparently to turn around and depart Jumping Bull, but attempted to defend themselves.
Clearly, based on the overheard conversations, the agents did not stop, exit their vehicles, and start shooting (as Peltier has repeatedly and fictitiously claimed). Their shooting was a result of trying to defend themselves from attack. They knew from the outset of driving onto the reservation that they were out-numbered and ill equipped for an armed confrontation with only their service revolvers with them inside the vehicles (more powerful weapons still in the trunk). They were miles away from any responding assistance and in an understandably hostile area with an AIM camp nearby. Suggestions by Peltier and his supporters that the agents entered Jumping Bull and started a shootout belies what actually happened...
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Please see the remainder of the editorial essay, “Timing is Everything” (and the companion essay that follows it, “The Smoking Gun”) available from the NPPA homepage or http://www.noparolepeltier.com/timing.html
“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
1) The lie of Mr. X and the red pickup truck: http://www.noparolepeltier.com/lie.html