On January of 2010, a woman was sitting within earshot of Ojore Lutalo, a Black Liberation activist who had spent the majority of his life in prison. While sitting on the Amtrak train, she had overheard Lutalo’s alarming conversation and reported the terrorizing comments to the train staff. As the train arrived to its destination in La Junta, Colorado, Lutal was met by authorities at gunpoint and arrested on site where he spent the next three days in jail.
During this time, officials came to the conclusion that they could not confirm Lutalo’s purported terrorist threats, and raised questions on whether or not he should be released without charges. Assistant District Attorney Barta called arresting Officer Mobley on the phone to discuss a way to save the investigation and ensure an indictment. Fortunately, they fumbled the case badly and Lutalo was never charged.
Here is an excerpt of the phone conversation between the two:
Arresting Officer Mobley: I should have just let [the arrestee] get off the train and go.
Assistant District Attorney Barta: Ah, you should have said that he pulled a knife on you and shot the son of a bitch.
Barta: (Laughter) He pulled something out of his pocket and it looked like a gun… then… it was a goddamn comb, I’m sorry! (Laughter)
Mobley: My bad, I’m sorry! (Laughter)
Barta: My bad! (Laughter)
Barta: (Laughter) Oh well, anyway… (Pause) Or, you could have arrested him, alleged that the train tried to pull out, and here’s a thought, throw him under the track, the wheels, and then say he tried to escape. But too late for that….
Mobley: Yeah …
Mobley: Oh well! Anyway….
Listening to a discussion between an attorney and a police officer about the possibility of murdering someone so nonchalantly can be quite disturbing. The recordings were revealed during discovery after Lutalo sued the city for violating his constitutional rights. Thanks to this hard evidence of this blatant lunacy and racism, the suit was settled out of court.
Listen to the conversation here: