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Secret of Black Panther Party Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald’s Death Cause

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A former member of the Black Panther Party, Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald’s death cause is still shady after he reportedly passed away Monday ( March 29, 2021).

member of the Black Panther Party, Romaine 'Chip' Fitzgerald's death cause is still shady
The Guardian

Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, the longest-incarcerated Black Panther in U.S. history, entered the state jail as a young man when he was just in his teens.

He spent just two decades of his life on this side of the walls, and 51 years in a cage for fighting for the liberation of his people. RIP.


Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald’s Death Cause Relates to his Health Condition

The 72-year-old great-grandfather previously suffered a stroke, was not in a good health condition, and was using a cane and a wheelchair for a while. Reporters were asking, “he is not a risk to anymore. So why is Chip Fitzgerald still in prison?”

In the 1960s, the Black Panther Party was being organized in cities all over the country.

Fitzgerald was one of those young Black men interested in joining this community, although anti-war protest and inner-city riots, Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald, entered the Black Panther Party for answers and respected its founders as role models.

Actually, he joined the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party in early 1969 as a teenager who had just been freed from the California Youth Authority. 

Related: Prophet Shepherd’s Daughter Israella Bushiri’s Death Cause at 8


More about Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald’s Sentence

Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald was given two life sentences for the frame-up of the killing of a security guard as well as attempted murder of a CHP officer. 

After being arrested, the young man pleaded not guilty to the charge of the attempted killing of a CHP officer. Although there were some hidden efforts against Chip.

member of the Black Panther Party, Romaine 'Chip' Fitzgerald's death cause is still shady
KOLUMN Magazine

Throughout the days before his arrest, Chip was accused of being involved in the death of a security guard. Nevertheless, the evidence against him was not too heavy, and Chip has denied any involvement, he was still convicted and sentenced to death.

Though Chip was sentenced to death, in 1972, the California Supreme Court banned the death sentence in 1972. He and others on Death Row had their sentences changed to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole, but he has been refused parole many times.

Also, in his 50 years of jail, he’s been housed at every major California prison. He was recently was transformed from R. J. Donovan Correctional Facility San Diego to Lancaster State Prison.


Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald’s Legal Cases

California Highway Patrol pulled over a Volkswagen with Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald and two other members of the Black Panther Party on September 7th, 1969.

Throughout the traffic stop, shooting started, and an officer and Chip Fitzgerald were injured. The three Black Panthers escaped from the scene, left the shot officer in possession of Chip’s driver’s license.

Additionally, Chip flew from another shooting the next day with police as he and the others tried to escape from the house they were held up at.

The other two men were arrested in the altercation, while one of the them shot in the leg.

With a gunshot wound in his head, Fitzgerald escaped to the Panther headquarters in South-Central Los Angeles. There, he could receive treatment. However, his location was informed by a police source. Police attacked the headquarters to discover a blood-soaked jacket.

Chip was not arrested until October 9th, when he was detained. After being taken to jail, he learned that he was both charged with the attempted murder of the CHP officer and the murder of a private security guard, Barge Miller.


Barge Miller’s Murder Story

On September 29, 1969, at 1:42 am, Barge Miller, a security guard at Vons Shopping Center in Los Angeles, was killed while sitting in his car. A witness, James Coleman, saw two men escaping from the scene after shooting and robbing the officer.

Coleman later recognized Romaine Fitzgerald as one of those men. While he claims he did not get a good look at the gunman because of the parking lot’s fluorescent lighting, he was sure it was Chip.

member of the Black Panther Party, Romaine 'Chip' Fitzgerald's death cause is still shady

Throughout the investigation, the witness was given multiple photographs of suspects, such as a photo of Romaine Fitzgerald. Nevertheless, he could not identify Chip as the one who committed the crime.

Chip but announced that due to the gunshot wound to his head, he had a two-inch-wide gauze bandage on the injury for near three or four weeks. According to his words, the bandage was removed three to five days before his arrest on October 9, 1969.

Coleman said nothing about the mentioned bandage that is a black hole in the accuracy of the evidence. Chip refused to be in the vicinity of Von’s parking lot through the early morning hours of September 29, 1969; Also, he denied engaging in the shooting or robbing of Barge Miller at all, testifying that he never went outside at night before October 9, 1969, because he did not want to infect his wound.

Chip’s witnesses believed he was not at the Vons Shopping center as the murder occurred. Romaine Fitzgerald was in Doris Haughton and her sister, Janice Sadler’s apartment at that time, so they stated that he had not left the apartment on that date.

Despite all, he was sentenced to death in 1970 in charge of first-degree murder. Later, the death sentence was changed to life. Chip was also tried for another similar charge.

He and his supporters believe the killing story of Barge Miller was a trap for him because of his presence in the Black Panther Party and due to his lasr altercations with the police.


Parole Law Released Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald

Chip was lucky enough to be released due to changes in California parole law.

According to the law, people more than the age of 65 who have passed 25 years or more in jail are prioritized for release. And Chip’s age at the time of his arrest is a factor to be considered at his hearing. Chip has additionally experienced a stroke. he has been represented in the past by prisoner rights attorney Charles Carbone.

Unfortunately, Chip passed away after suffering a serious cardiovascular event in March 2021 in the hospital the following week before achieving parole.


Reactions to Death of Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald

Following the death news He is remembered on Twitter by many: “Honor him with action,” theOccupyingCaptive wrote.

“Salute to the elder soldier now ancestor!!,” wrote one user.


More about Black Panther Party

Being found in 1966 in Oakland, California, by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, the African American revolutionary party, Black Panther Party, original name Black Panther Party for Self-Defense’s original goal was to patrol African American neighborhoods to protect residents from police brutality.

The Panthers finally turned into a Marxist revolutionary group that asked for:

  • The arming of all African Americans
  • The exemption of African Americans from the draft and from all sanctions of white America
  • The release of all Black Americans from prison
  • The payment of benefits to African Americans for centuries of exploitation by white Americans

In the late 1960s, Panther’s membership arrived at 2,000, and the organization operated chapters in many great American cities.


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