Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
BUFFALO, NEW YORK Michael Kuzma, an attorney who is part of Leonard Peltier's defense team, was dealt a setback in his pursuit of obtaining FBI documents on Frank Black Horse, whose real name is Frank Leonard Deluca.
Last week a federal judge denied a request to turn over 927 pages of FBI documents it has on Deluca.
Deluca was with Peltier when he was arrested in the killing of two FBI agents at Oglala, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Whether or not FBI's information on Deluca is important to the ongoing fight to free Peltier, who is now 67 years old, is still a mystery given Kuzma has not been able to get the documents he requested through the Freedom of Information Act. With 927pages on Deluca that the FBI does not want to release, it is left to imagination what may be contained within the large volume of documents.
Separate from the requested documents in Kuzma's possession is a FBI teletype, dated November 25, 1975 that calls Deluca a "confidential source who has provided reliable information in the past." See the full teletype here »
“This is an area I want to pursue. Here is a man who was under federal indictment when arrested and yet he was not extradited from Canada. I want to know why. Maybe there are answers in these FBI documents,”
commented Kuzma to the Native News Network last evening.
Frank Black Horse Upon Arrest
in Alberta, February 1976
Frank Deluca represented himself as Frank Black Horse and as a Cherokee from North Carolina when he began associating with the American Indian Movement sometime near the beginning of the Wounded Knee 71 day siege in March.
Subsequently, it was determined he is not even American Indian, but Italian and Jewish who was born in Illinois.
Deluca was accused of shooting an FBI Special Agent Curtis A. Fitzgerald on March 11, 1973 at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
In August 29, 1974, he was indicted by a federal grand jury in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on assault charges for the shooting of Fitzgerald.
From that time, he traveled to Seattle, Washington where he was arrested for unknown reasons while carrying a social security card with the name Richard Tall Bull on it. Early in 1975, he was arrested in Shawano, Wisconsin, under the name of Michael Houston, Arrest #2382, for Obstructing an Officer and Carrying a Concealed Weapon. He posted a $150 bond and was released.
Even with the federal indictment of shooting an FBI special agent and other newer charges, Deluca always seemed to get released.
On June 26, 1975, Deluca was present at Oglala along with some 40 American Indians when American Indian Movement member Joseph Stuntz and FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams were killed. This was disputed by Robert Robideau who claimed that Blackhorse was not at the Jumping Bull property on June 26, 1975. It is undisputed, however, that the FBI was looking for Blackhorse in connection with the deaths of Agents Coler and Williams as they put it, they hoped to "lock" Leonard and Blackhorse into the case.
Leonard Peltier now sits in a federal penitentiary in Coleman, Florida for the deaths of the two FBI agents. Even though Deluca was present at Oglala during the shoot out that resulted in the deaths and was with Peltier when arrested, he was never charged in the deaths of the two agents.
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updated 3:20 pm edt;
posted July 31, 2012 11:10 am edt