Prison Leader Hugo “Yogi” Pinell Killed

By Jaron Epstein

Hugo Yogi Pinell, born March 10, 1945 in Nicaragua and one of Black Panther George Jackson’s closest comrades, was killed Wednesday in New Folsom Prison near Sacramento.

Hugo "Yogi" Pinell

Hugo “Yogi” Pinell

Pinell was well known as a member of the San Quentin Six, who along with Willie Tate, Johnny Larry Spain, David Johnson, Fleeta Drumgo and Luis Talamantez, was accused of participating in an August 21, 1971 escape attempt that left six people dead, including George Jackson.

According to Pinell’s attorney Keith Wattley, “The threat of harm to him has been well known by prison officials.”

He added that Pinell had been the target of “long-standing threats,” but said he could not elaborate.

The Post spoke to civil rights attorney Anne Weills, another of the lawyers who represented Pinell, who spoke of the significance of his life and the date of his death.

“This marked the third year anniversary of inmates in the short corridor coming together to publish the agreement to end hostilities,” she said, explaining that the   agreement called for an end to all violence and hostility between different groups of prisoners throughout California, beginning Oct. 10, 2012.

“The fact is that this is Black August, which signifies the struggle Black inmates have faced since the murder of George Jackson in 1971,” said Weills.

“It’s a tragedy for the unity that the men in the short corridor have been building since the agreement,” she said. “The unity amongst prisoners threatens (prison officials) directly.”

Courtesy of the Oakland Post, August 14, 2015 (