A benefit concert for an American Indian activist convicted of murdering two FBI agents drew guests such as "Lone Ranger" Clayton Moore along with condemnation from protesters and the FBI.
Several thousand filled the Pacific Amphitheater to about three-quarters capacity Tuesday for the show benefiting Leonard Peltier. Among the performers were Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson, Joni Mitchell and Kris Kristofferson.
Kristofferson said Peltier "was targeted because he was an activist."
Referring to President Reagan's characterization of the Soviet Union, he said, "I believe that's the kind of thing that goes on in the 'Evil Empire."'
Actor Peter Coyote, who put the event together, made a brief statement urging justice for Peltier and added: "We all grieve for the deaths of the two peace officers and we grieve for the Indians killed (in American history)."
Moore, who portrayed the "Lone Ranger" for years on television, made a rare public appearance without his mask Tuesday. He spoke out for Indians, telling the group, "They're all Americans, just like you good cowboys out there."
Coyote also read a letter from Peltier, in which the activist, serving two life terms at the federal pentitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., told the audience, "You're support is spiritually uplifting to me."
Peltier, a founder of the American Indian Movement, was convicted in 1977 of murdering the two agents in a 1975 shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
Figures on how much was raised for his defense fund by the concert were not immediately available.
A small group of protesters marched outside, carrying signs that condemned the concert. One sign said: "Two agents died, For What?"
State Sen. William Campbell called the concert a disgrace. "This man was guilty," the Republican said. "He shot them (the FBI agents). He gave them a death sentence."
The concert had also prompted an angry letter to the arena last week from Richard Bretzing, FBI agent in charge in Los Angeles, who wrote: "Los Angeles FBI personnel attended the funerals of Ron Williams and Jack Coler ... and saw the grief and despair on the faces of their families and friends.
"I wonder where Willie Nelson, Joni Mitchell, Kris Kristofferson and Robin Williams were on that day?"
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Added to Library on February 22, 2004. (5039)
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