The Five Percent Nation and the Black Panther Party, two formerly black nationalist and anti-authoritarian groups, have turned even uglier.

The organization purports to embrace revolutionary principles as well as Native American wisdom. The Black Panther Party (PPP) gained national prominence when it staged a hunger strike in prison, organized protests and organized armed action in Oakland, Calif., during the 1970s.

But in the ensuing years, it became notorious for allegedly engaging in “readjustment crimes” in connection with real or alleged extortions, sexual abuse and domestic violence, according to lawyers who represent Black Panther members, individuals, informants and members of the media, and State Attorney General Xavier Becerra. In the former case, abusers used the party’s tactics to scare and entrap someone into coming clean and giving evidence to law enforcement, said Josh Hartley, an attorney representing alleged Black Panther party members and informants.

What is now known as the Pacific Rockstone gang, toymaker Mattel, the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board and the FBI’s San Francisco office all use various names and descriptions to describe Five Percent Nation members. A 2006 Black Panther Party pamphlet on California gangs describes the Five Percent Nation as a “menace” that spans a “sprawling criminal enterprise.”


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