The San Francisco Police Department Park Station bombing occurred on February 16, 1970, when a pipe bomb filled with shrapnel detonated on the ledge of a window at the San Francisco Police Department’s Golden Gate Park station. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Investigators in the early ’70s said the bombing likely was the work of the Weather Underground, and not the Black Liberation Army,”but the crime was never solved. Brian V. McDonnell, a police sergeant, was fatally wounded in its blast; Robert Fogarty, another police officer, was severely wounded in his face and legs and was partially blinded.
No one was ever charged with the crime although six years the FBI was close to indicting Ayers wife and fellow terrorist Bernardine Dohrn around six years ago.
Tomorrow Larry Grathwohl, former FBI informant in the Weather Underground will be holding a press conference to tell what he knows about the bombing. What follows is what he prepared as his “Opening statement”
Remarks of Larry Grathwohl, at America’s Survival, Inc., “Justice for Victims of Terrorism” conference, March 12, 2009.
One of the issues in Washington, D.C. for President Barack Obama is what to do with the terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after he issued an executive order to close the detention facility. The question we want answered is why terrorists close to him politically have escaped justice for the 1970 bombing of the Park Police Station in San Francisco. We believe the Department of Justice should make available all the evidence in this case to local authorities and law enforcement officials.
I was in the Weather Underground as an informant/infiltrator for the FBI. I have testified, spoken, and written about the involvement of Weather Underground terrorist leaders Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn in that bombing. That bombing on February 16, 1970, took the life of Sergeant Brian V. McDonnell. There is no statute of limitations on murder.
But first, let me back up.
I remember the Sunday morning in January of 1970 when it was obvious to me that the three FBI agents were upset. They wanted to know when the bombings of the Detroit Police Officers Building and the 13th precinct would take place and which members of the Weather Underground would be assigned to do it. Bill Ayers had debriefed me regarding every aspect of the plans we had developed before telling me I was being reassigned to Madison. Bill’s two major requirements were that the bombs go off at the same time and that the greatest number of police officers would be killed or injured. Both bombs were to contain fence staples or roofing nails to ensure this effect. Bill Ayers didn’t care if innocent people were also killed or injured. Bill had even gone so far as to tell us that the bomb at the 13th precinct should be placed on a window ledge. Both bombs were set four days later than originally planned but both also failed to detonate due to failures in the timing devices.
I wouldn’t see Bill Ayers again until February of 1970 in Buffalo when I returned from a day of obtaining death certificates for use in creating phony ID’s for fellow members of my new cell of Weatherman terrorists. As soon as we had all assembled, Bill began a criticism session of myself and my associates for having spent too much time preparing for actions (bombings) and not doing anything. He reminded us of the commitment all of us had made to the overthrow of the U.S. government at the National Council Meeting in Flint the previous December and how our inactivity was harming the Cubans, the Vietnamese and the Chinese. Bill went on to describe how Bernardine Dorhn, a Weather Underground central committee member and considered the leader of the Weather Underground, had to plan and commit the bombing of the Park Station in San Francisco. This bomb contained fence staples and was placed on a window ledge during a shift change ensuring the presence of the greatest number of police officers and the greatest possibility of death and injury. Several Police Officers were injured and one, Sergeant McDonnell, was killed by fence staples used in the bomb. He was in the hospital for two days before he succumbed to his injuries.
At the National Council Meeting which took place in Flint, Michigan, in late December of 1969, Bernardine Dorhn had praised mass murderer Charles Manson and said, “The Weatherman is about a communist revolution to destroy the white racist’s society and establish a democratic centralist’s government”. Furthermore, Bernadine wanted everyone at the council meeting to, “bring the war home and off (kill) their parents”.
One other historical fact that demands mention is the explosion of the Weatherman bomb factory in Greenwich Village in February of 1970. The bombs being built for use at an Army dance at the Ft. Dix Army Base on a Saturday night contained roofing nails for the shrapnel effect, and if the bombs hadn’t prematurely detonated, killing three Weathermen, the effect would have been devastating.
Many of the charges against Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn were dismissed due to alleged improper acts by the U.S. government and the FBI. Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn got off on technicalities and not because they were innocent. This is an important observation when reflecting on Bill Ayers recent statement, “guilty as hell, free a bird… isn’t America a wonderful country.” Not a bad situation when considering his avowed purpose was to destroy that country.
My role as an informant/infiltrator for the FBI ended after providing sworn testimony to Grand Juries, Senate Committees and at the W. Mark Felt/Edward S. Miller trial. The convictions of these two former FBI agents were on appeal when President Reagan granted them pardons.
I went back to school and went to work as a manager for several companies. I was aware of Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn re-surfacing in the 1980s and that Bill had established himself as a well known “professor of education.” I was also aware of Bill’s radical education concepts dealing with “social justice” and his focus on having students and future educators teach this in our schools. I heard of his book, “Fugitive Days,” but refused to purchase or read it. Bill and Bernardine were rewriting history to their own ends and I felt that the record was clear for anyone who wanted to know the truth. My story had also been told in the 1976 book, Bringing Down America.
My testimony on Bernardine Dohrn’s role in the 1970 Park Station bombing has been consistent throughout. I gave that testimony before the Senate in 1974 and the same information is in my book. Bill Ayers told me that he knew about her role and complained that she had to take on that bombing on her own.
I figured that the media would do the necessary research and reveal this information when Ayers and Dohrn re-emerged during the 2008 presidential campaign as friends or associates of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. But I was wrong. I later discovered that Cliff Kincaid had confronted the Chicago Tribune about its failure to mention the Weather Underground responsibility for the Park Station bombing. The paper refused to correct the record.
In April of 2008, I noticed not only that the media were failing to report on the Park Station bombing, but were repeating the claim that the Weather Underground was just an anti-war group. I had a copy of the Weather Underground Prairie Fire manifesto, dedicated in part to convicted assassin Sirhan Sirhan. He had assassinated Robert Kennedy, the leading anti-war candidate in 1968. The Weather Underground was not anti-war; it was pro-war. In fact, it waged war on the United States, in close consultation with foreign enemies of the U.S. in such places as Hanoi and Havana.
Bill Ayers told the media that great efforts were made to ensure only property was damaged and that, with the exception of the bomb that killed three of their own members, the public wasn’t hurt or killed. That was a lie. It is a lie being repeated by Weather Underground member Mark Rudd in his new book.
In an article published in the New York Times, Bill stated his only regret was that he believed the Weather Underground hadn’t done enough. Bombing the Pentagon, the Capitol, and police stations wasn’t enough?
I was concerned enough to begin contacting news organizations during the presidential campaign with the details of my story and what I learned and knew about Ayers and Dohrn. I contacted major newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post and network news organizations such as NBC, ABC and CBS. Finally, Sean Hannity of Fox News contacted me. Later, Bill O’Reilly, also of Fox News, contacted me and had me on the air.
I thought the media would investigate then-candidate Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers, why they sat on a foundation board together, and why he had assisted Ayers in distributing the Annenberg Foundation money, supposedly for “school reform” efforts in Chicago. I also thought the media would examine the nature of the relationship, including the Obama fundraiser held at Bill and Bernardine’s home. Obama played down their relationship, saying at one point that he and Bill were merely two people living in the same neighborhood. He also said that he didn’t approve of their despicable acts.
This is a time when President Obama can act on those words. He can order the Department of Justice to provide any and all of the evidence that may be relevant in the Park Station bombing case.
For his part, Bill Ayers remained mostly silent during the campaign. Last October, however, he was confronted by a Fox News Channel reporter on the sidewalk outside his home. Bill mumbled something about private property and called the police.
I predicted that Ayers and Dohrn would begin talking when the election was over. He did so. “I never hurt or killed anyone,” Ayers said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program on November 14, 2008. In fact, Ayers was a member of a group that deliberately targeted and killed police officers.
He went on to say on “Good Morning America” that, “I was a militant. I was part of the militant faction of opposing the war and I’ve been quoted again and again as saying I don’t regret it, and frankly, I don’t think we did enough and I don’t think we did enough, just as today, I don’t think we’ve done enough to stop these wars and I think we must all recognize the injustice of it and do more.”  (emphasis added). Again, Ayers was not opposed to the war; he was in favor of the communists winning that war.
On November 9, 2008, the New York Times reported on the appearances of Dohrn, Tom Hayden, Jamal Joseph and David Fenton at the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York. The Times quoted Dohrn as saying that her and her husband were still “proud radicals” and were “definitively not now, or then, terrorists.” 
On February 10, 2009, the New York Times published an interview with Ayers, in order to promote his new book, in which Deborah Solomon asked such probing questions as, “How do you feel when you wake up?”  He replied, “Happy, and then I drink coffee and I’m even happier. I’m a work in progress and, even at 64, living in a dynamic history that’s still in the making.”
This sick circus has got to end. One purpose of this press conference is to provide the other side of the story – the evidence of their terrorist activities, and to demand justice for their victims.
You can’t replace a life. Sergeant McDonnell is dead. And his killers have not yet been brought to justice.
Since the election I have paid much more attention to Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dorhn. It is interesting that Ayers was denied entry in early January to Canada, where he was scheduled to speak on “teacher activism” at the University of Toronto. But he continues to travel around the U.S.
I was present on January 28th to protest Bill’s appearance at St Mary’s College in Moraga, California. Several hundred protesters, led by Melanie Morgan of Move America Forward, turned out to protest his appearance. I sat through an hour and a half lecture on “social justice” so that I could make good on Bill’s promise that he would answer any and all questions. I stood in line for over an hour waiting my turn so that I could ask if he could explain his view of the “value” of human life and his focus on killing police officers in the attempted bombings in Detroit and the murder of Sergeant McDonnell at the Park Police station.
When I was just two people away from confronting Bill Ayers for the first time in 39 years, the question and answer period abruptly came to an end. Too bad because I was looking forward to this confrontation and I’m also certain that Bill knew of my presence (he looked directly at me several times). I also believe it unnerved him as did the protest — which was the first time an anti-Bill Ayers protest had been organized.
Through the years I have often wondered why so little effort has been made to bring the murders of Sgt McDonnell to justice. Usually, when a police officer is killed in the line of duty the, police, the prosecutors and the community are moved to action and the media keeps attention focused until justice is complete. I now understand that there are many people in San Francisco and around the country, many of them retired law enforcement officers, who want to see justice done. We have heard from them. They have contacted us with offers of support and encouragement. We are their voice in Washington, D.C.
Two efforts are being made to rectify this situation. One is pursuing the possibility of criminal prosecution of Bernardine Dorhn and others. It is a matter of public record that the Park Station bombing case has been re-opened. Evidence continues to be sought and collected. More needs to be done. And that is why we are asking FBI director Robert Mueller to exercise his independence from the Administration and make sure he does everything possible to facilitate FBI assistance to those authorities continuing to investigate the Park Station bombing case.
I have also been in contact with a group of local San Francisco citizens who are outraged that this case remains officially unsolved and are in the process of putting together a community organization to ensure that Sergeant McDonnell and his family find justice.
I also had the privilege of making the acquaintance of Jim Pera, who is a retired San Francisco Police Officer and who was one of the first to arrive at the Park Station after the bombing. Jim had one of the fence staples from that night and we met at the anti-Bill Ayers protest at St Mary’s on the 28th of January. Jim told me he preferred to avoid protests (I suspect he spent too much time on the other side of most protests) but felt compelled to be there to let Bill know what he thought and felt. I understand other retired San Francisco Police Officers are speaking up and are ready to get involved and my hope is that all of these efforts will combine to bring justice to this tragedy that occurred so long ago on a dark February night.
 Ronald Reagan, in his April 15, 1981, “Statement on Granting Pardons to W. Mark Felt and Edward S. Miller, said, “America was at war in 1972, and Messrs. Felt and Miller followed procedures they believed essential to keep the Director of the FBI, the Attorney General, and the President of the United States advised of the activities of hostile foreign powers and their collaborators in this country.”
The statments for the other speakers are aslo at the site, you can find them HERE