|Never Forget - June 26, 1975 |
With: Ed Woods (Retired, 1972 – 2001)
“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
This week on June 26th -- 39 years since the ambush murders of FBI Special Agents Ronald A. Williams and Jack R. Coler -- supporters of Leonard Peltier are holding the 2nd Annual Leonard Peltier Day at Oglala, South Dakota. We in the Society consider this and other similar commemorations to denigrate the memories of our colleagues and to constitute a slap in the face of law enforcement.
On June 26, 1975, the FBI family was hit hard when Ron and Jack were brutally murdered on the Oglala Sioux Indian Reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, in the case known as RESMURS (Reservation Murders). This case still requires our particular, continued vigilance. Memories of Ron and Jack have been obscured and denigrated by misguided efforts to support Peltier, who was convicted for their murders and received two life sentences that have withstood years of appeals. Using a string of lies and fabrications, Peltier and his supporters have tried to reinvent the history of what really happened and have convinced all too many that he is innocent. Parole is off the table for now, but clemency remains an option for this convicted cop killer. As fellow agents, we owe it to Ron and Jack to be vocal advocates and to set the record straight.
In those years, tensions were high as American Indian Movement (AIM) presence was pervasive in Indian Country. Claiming to fight for Native rights, AIM appeared everywhere there was trouble, most notably at the 1973 occupation at nearby Wounded Knee. On their last day, Ron and Jack were in Pine Ridge to serve an arrest warrant when their cars were spotted and they were ambushed in a deadly hail of gunfire. When the firing stopped, both agents, who had been severely wounded, were summarily executed at close range. Williams and Coler together had fired off only five rounds. Their cars had 125 bullet holes.
As the years pass, each new generation of agents is a bit more detached from the previous one. In the Society, we are committed to reconnecting our many generations of agents, as we remember our friends and colleagues killed in the line of duty. They remind us that FBI service also means sacrifice, and sometimes at the highest possible price.
The Society honored Ron and Jack at our annual conference last year in Sun Valley. A video tribute to them can be viewed at: http://vimeo.com/74140239.