Joshua Rhett Miller, New York Post, September 1, 2023
The father of the Georgia district attorney prosecuting Donald Trump was a prominent Black Panther who called police the “enemy,” new recordings have revealed.
John C. Floyd III, whose daughter Fani Willis is the Fulton County, Ga., district attorney, told academic researchers that he considered police in his native Los Angeles in the 1960s to be an “occupying army” that was “nothing but trouble.”
Floyd, now 80, also called a prominent white politician of the era a “Texas cracker.” And he suggested that he believed conspiracy theories that Malcolm X was assassinated by the CIA.
Floyd is extremely close to his daughter Willis, who has brought a sprawling anti-racketeering case against the former president and 18 others — including his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his White House chief of staff Mark Meadows — alleging that they plotted to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.
Willis told The Post she speaks to her father as much as 10 times a day, and that his values continued to guide her. She did not directly address his past as a Black Panther.
Until now, little has been known about Floyd beyond brief details, but it can now be revealed that he was a high-ranking member of the Black Panthers in Los Angeles.
Floyd was a founding member in 1967, and at one point chairman, of the Black Panther Political Party, a faction of the Black Panthers that was more moderate than the others. Floyd became a defense attorney after splitting from the Panthers in the early 1970s.
But before then, he told an interview for California State University’s Tom & Ethel Bradley Center, he was so high up in the Black Panthers that he became friends with Martin Luther King.
Speaking to the Bradley Center for its “Black Panther Archives” series, Floyd said that growing up in Inglewood, Los Angeles, he and other African Americans never went to the police despite the area being riddled with crime.
He said: “I grew up here and I have remarked to myself: As many car break-ins, house break-ins, assaults, I never the whole time I grew up in Los Angeles ever remember anyone calling the police department, because we considered LAPD to be the enemy.
Floyd helped to found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Los Angeles, as its sit-ins against segregated lunch counters in the Jim Crow South spread.
But by the mid-1960s, there were tensions between black groups in Los Angeles, and the prominent California Democratic politician Jesse M. Unruh, at the time the speaker of the state assembly, intervened to mediate. Floyd said Unruh, nicknamed “Big Daddy,” was a “fat Texas cracker.”
In 1967, the Los Angeles Times reported that Floyd, then a 24-year-old teacher, helped found the Black Panther Political Party (BPPP) at a meeting, saying: “Malcolm X is going to be our patron saint. Our political philosophy is black nationalism.”
He told the Sacramento Bee that he was “sick of the Democratic Party,” and listed the BPPP’s aims as including “political power for the black community.”
In 1973, when he was an aide to the campaign by Sam Bradley to be Los Angeles’ first black mayor, he was accused of being part of violence and denied it, saying he was “to the right” of much of the black power movement.
In the interviews, Floyd said he had met “two prophets” in his life: Malcolm X, murdered in 1965, and King, assassinated in 1968.