National Parks Pull Black Panther Project Money After Police Groups Complain

BLACK PANTHERS, TEENAGERS AND CHILDREN ALIKE, GIVE THE PANTHER BLACK POWER SALUTE OUTSIDE THEIR LIBERATION SCHOOL IN THE FILLMORE DISTRICT OF SAN FRANCISCO. DECMEBER 20, 1969. UPI B/W PHOTOGRAPH.' Credit: Image via Getty

The National Park Service has decided to drop $98,000 in funding that was slated to go to a project that would have honored the Black Panther Party. The decision was made after the Fraternal Order of Police voiced to President Donald Trump their disapproval of the arrangement.

According to a PBS News Hour report, the police union sent a letter to the President expressing anger that the Park Service was going to honor a group that was involved in the death of a Park Ranger in 1973. A Black Panther member was convicted in the killing of Ranger Kenneth Patrick while he was on duty at that time. 

The National Park Service had pledged the money to the University of California, Berkeley where it was going to be put towards a two-year long research project on the Black Panthers. 

The Fraternal Order stated in their letter to Trump that the Panthers only brought hurt to families of their victims and that they were anti-American. “Why would the NPS seek to commemorate the activities of an extremist separatist group that advocated the use of violence against our country—a country they perceived as their enemy?” the group wrote.

Representative Barbara Lee, a Democrat from California, disagreed with the decision, noting that the Black Panther Party was, “an integral part of the civil rights movement and the public has a right to know their history.”

The National Park Service responded to their decision to pull the University's funding with a statement from its spokesman Jeremy Barnum, in which he said they'd never actually come to a final decision about whether to fund the project. There was an "additional review of the project," he said, and that is when the choice was made to pull funds. 

Read the full report here.