1970 SPECIAL REPORT: "NYC BLACK PANTHER BOMBER"
The police said yesterday that they had identified Ishmael Brown, the City College student killed last Saturday in an explosion in an East Fifth Street apartment, as the man who planted a bomb in the Electric Circus, an East Village discotheque.
An employee of the Electric Circus viewed the body at the Bellevue Hospital morgue and was also shown a series of composite photographs.
Stan Freeman, president of the concern that owns the discotheque, said the employee had seen Mr. Brown in the night club carrying a brown paper bag. When he left the Electric Circus “he was not carrying the bag,” Mr. Freeman said.
The blast at the Electric Circus injured 17 persons on the night of March 22. The bomb went off under a mirror‐covered portable stage, spraying the crowded dance floor with bits of glass, wood and metal.
The police, after examining the scene, said the bomb was made of a lead pipe filled with dynamite and small‐caliber am munition and was detonated by a timing device.
Second Man Injured
Last Saturday afternoon Mr. Brown was killed and a companion was criticially injured when a bomb went off in a three ‐ room, sixth ‐ floor tene ment apartment at 706 East Fifth Street.
The injured man, Godwin A. Bernard, a senior at Herbert H. Lehman College in the Bronx, is now in Bellevue Hospital. Both his arms below the elbow were blown off, as was most of his left leg.
The police said at the time that the apartment was a “bomb factory.” Three live explosive devices were found there and were disarmed by members of the bomb section.
The police said they found literature of the Black Panther party in the wreckage of the apartment.
Yesterday a high police source theorized that the Electric Circus had been bombed because the Panthers were angry over the division of proceeds from a benefit at the discotheque. The benefit was to raise funds for 13 Black Panthers awaiting trial here on bomb‐conspiracy charges.
Money Dispute Denied
Mr. Freeman denied he had had any dispute with the Panthers over money. “We have benefits to raise money for the Panthers all the time,” he said. “We have good rela tions with them.”
A week before the blast at the Electric Circus, he said, “we gave proceeds from a benefit to the Black Panthers and to the Conspiracy.” The latter is an organization that grew from the trial of seven persons in Chicago on charges of crossing state lines to incite riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
Mr. Freeman said he believed the, explosion was “an in dividual act” carried out by “a man who wanted to show the world he could create havoc.”
Spokesmen for the Panther party have repeatedly denied that either Mr. Brown or Mr. Bernard was a member of the party.
So far the police have de clined to implicate Mr. Bernard in the Electric Circus bombing. “We can't discuss that at this time,” said Deputy Inspector Thomas F. H. McGuire, who is in charge of the investigation.
Mr. Bernard has been charged with homicide, unlawful pos session of a bomb and loaded firearms, reckless endanger ment and criminal mischief.
On Monday it was disclosed by the Bronx District Attorney's office that Mr. Bernard was held for a time last year as a material witness in the murder of a 16‐year‐old boy who had allegedly been killed because he wanted to quit the Black Panther party.