January 20, 2021
President Joe Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Re: Leonard Peltier
Federal Inmate #89637-132
Clemency Denial Request
Dear President Biden:
I am writing regarding a very serious matter that you may be called upon to consider in the coming months, but first, congratulations on your election.
Leonard Peltier was convicted in April 1977 for the brutal and cold-blooded murder of two already wounded (by Peltier and others), FBI Agents, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams.
Line of Duty deaths:
The court record and facts determined that the Agents were victims of an unprovoked attack while performing their lawful duties on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. They were caught in a deadly crossfire and were both wounded. There is absolutely no dispute concerning how the attack began. Agent Williams was overheard on the FBI radio describing exactly what was about to happen—that they were to be fired upon by multiple individuals. Agent Coler received a devastating wound to his right arm. Agent Williams, wounded three times, waved his shirt as a sign of surrender, (this was ignored by Peltier and the others), which he then used as a tourniquet on Agent Coler’s severely injured arm. The Agents were then approached and shot in the face at point blank range by Peltier with an AR-15. We pray that Agent Coler may have been unconscious when he was shot in the forehead while a second high-powered bullet tore away his jaw. However, Agent Williams was alive and faced his attacker. He had defensive wounds as his fingers were blown through the back of his head.
1-Hon. Rosalind Sargent-Burns, Acting Pardon Attorney, USDOJ, 145 N St. NE, Room 5E.508, Washington, D.C. 20530
1-Hon. Jeffrey A. Rosen, Acting U.S. Attorney General, USDOJ, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 20530-0001
1-Director Christopher Wray, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20535
1-Hon. Drew H. Wrigley, U.S. Attorney, District of North Dakota, 655 First Avenue North, Suite 250, Fargo, ND, 58102-4932
1-Hon. Ronald A. Parsons, Jr., U.S. Attorney, District of South Dakota, PO Box 2638, Sioux Falls, SD 57101-2638
1-Senator John Hoeven, Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs, 838 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510
1-Congressman Brad Wenstrup, 7954 Beechmont Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45255
1-Mr. Louis J. Freeh, 3711Kennett Pike, Ste. 130, Wilmington, DE 19807-2156
After fleeing to Canada Peltier was extradited and then convicted of murder and aiding and abetting and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. He later received an additional seven consecutive years for an armed prison escape. In addition to the armed escape he has not been a model inmate, having served—by his own account—over five years in solitary confinement along with possibly a disciplinary transfer to another federal facility.
This attack on law enforcement is not unlike last year’s September 19, 2020 attempted murder of two Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs who were both ambushed and shot in the face while sitting in their police vehicle.
Your public response regarding that appalling attack was genuinely sincere and appropriate, “This cold-blooded shooting is unconscionable and the perpetrator must be brought to justice. Violence of any kind is wrong; those who commit it should be caught and punished.”
Peltier has made many unsubstantiated claims of innocence and of his alleged wrongful conviction, all of which have been dismissed and discredited.
Through nearly two-dozen appeals, twice reaching the U.S. Supreme Court, Peltier’s conviction and his specious allegations have been examined in minute detail and
not once has his conviction or sentence been altered. For example, these are just an illustration of the many legal findings made by federal courts:
“The direct and circumstantial evidence of Peltier’s guilt was strong…” “…Peltier’s contentions of manufactured evidence are far from convincing.”
[Direct Appeal; 8thCircuit Court of Appeals, 9/14/78]
“The record as a whole leaves no doubt that the jury accepted the government’s theory that Peltier had personally killed the two agents, after they were seriously wounded, by shooting them at point blank range with an AR-15 rifle.”
[Rule 35 Motion, 8thCircuit Court of Appeals, 12/18/02]
There are many more similar findings of fact throughout the appellate record.[i]
Mr. President, to be absolutely clear, Agents’ Coler and Williams were not just murdered, they were summarily executed.
The closest Peltier came to some semblance of compassion for his victims and their grieving families concluded with a statement that both families found disturbing and offensive: “I cannot see how my being in here, torn from my own grandchildren, can possibly mend your loss. I swear to you, I am guilty only of being an Indian. That’s why I’m here.”
This is just one of many examples of Peltier’s contrived innocence.
Peltier has offered many unsubstantiated—bordering on outrageous—claims concerning the events of June 26, 1975 at Pine Ridge, that include, among others; that the agents’ were sent in, alone, to provoke a confrontation; that there were hundreds of law enforcement and SWAT teams in the surrounding area; that the June 26thevents were pre-planned by the government, and as an alibi for nearly two decades was that someone else, the phantom “Mr. X,” killed the Agents. The Mr. X alibi was eventually and publically rejected by one of Peltier’s own attorneys. These deceptive claims have been disproven as misinformation and falsehoods. There is ample proof to discredit Peltier’s illusory fabrications.
Moreover, there is no disagreement that the historical treatment of Native Americans has tarnished our collective national history. However, as a Native American, Leonard Peltier is the last person to correct any wrongs of the past.
It bears noting that none of your predecessors, when they were presented with a clemency decision, found it justifiable to commute Peltier’s sentence. The latest being President Obama. It is a logical assumption that previous Presidents understood the facts and gravity of Peltier’s murderous actions, his lawful conviction, and recognized this for what it really was, a wonton and appalling criminal act. These killings had absolutely nothing to do with Peltier’s Native heritage. Granting Peltier a commuted sentence would only serve as an affront to dedicated law enforcement men and women throughout this great nation as well as the multitude of law abiding Native Americans.
I would respectfully urge you to fully review the legal history of Peltier’s conviction, his discredited claims, and not the myth he has created in an attempt to shroud and deny his heinous cold-blooded actions, and deny his clemency petition.
Leonard Peltier should be given the same degree of mercy he showed to Agents’ Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, and that would be none.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this most import matter.
A concise history of guilt: http://www.noparolepeltier.com/debate.html#concise