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News in Brief: A summary of developments across Los
Angeles County | Community News File / Pasadena

Ex-Black Panther to Bid Farewell to Long-Running Cable Program

January 21, 1998

Former Black Panther and cable producer Michael Zinzun, who has used his Pasadena-based public access show for 10 years as a forum to discuss police abuse, the gang truce, and other urban issues, will air his last regular program tonight at 7.

Zinzun, 48, said he is leaving to devote more time to his post as chairman of the Coalition Against Police Abuse, but still plans to broadcast several shows a year.

"He's one of the real significant voices for the community out there," said Kevin Brechner, production manager of Channel 56, which is operated by the city of Pasadena. "One of the first meetings between Crips and Bloods took place in our studio."

Zinzun's show documented topics such as violent attacks by police canine crews and footage taken by a Watts boy of his day-to-day life in a housing project, Brechner said. The show, called "Message to the Grass Roots," after a term coined by Malcolm X, has been shot on location around the world.

Zinzun funded the show, which is aired nationwide, with money he was awarded from three major lawsuits, including two against the Los Angeles Police Department and one resulting from an encounter with Pasadena police that left him blind in one eye.

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