Since President Barack Obama’s announcement on December 17, easing decades of tense relations with Cuba, American media resources have jumped on the bandwagon labeling whom or what is defined as a terrorist.
In this case, Assata Shakur known as the only African-American Woman on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 10 Most Wanted Terrorist List under the name of Joanne Chesimard as a quasi ‘Domestic Terrorist’ — is the latest media sensation.
Shakur is wanted on the charge of a May 1973 shooting death of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Forester and injuries to another Trooper James Harper. According to the narrative, Shakur and two co-horts Zayd Malik Shakur (born James F. Costan) and Sundiata Acoli (born Clark Squire) confronted and shot at the officers after a traffic stop over a broken tail light.
The trial which took place four years after the incident — and after Shakur was either acquitted, had charges dismissed or received a hung jury conclusion over the years to seven other alleged charges — resulted in a guilty verdict for Assata Shakur for First Degree Murder and a host of other convictions on March 25, 1977.
Despite the convictions, questions of fact remain today in Shakur’s case.
Including facts such no finding of gun residue from the May 1973 incident on Shakur’s hands and no fingerprints found from Shakur on the alleged murder weapon or other weapons found at the crime scene.
In way similar to the alleged “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” surrender stance alleged by numerous witnesses of 18 year-old murder victim Mike Brown before former Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson shot Brown 8 to 11 times — evidence suggest Shakur also was shot multiple times upon capture with her hands up.
Why has Assata Shakur or known by the FBI Most Wanted list name of Joanne Chesimard made the media circles again?
On November 2, 1979 Shakur escaped the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in New Jersey after three members of the Black Liberation Army (BLA) – which Shakur joined after leaving a high level position in the Black Panther Party – during a prison visit drew concealed .45-caliber pistols, temporarily took two correctional officers as hostages and escaped with Shakur in a prison van.
No one was injured in the escape. The correctional officers taken hostage, were freed shortly thereafter in the prison parking lot, unharmed.
While maintain a presence underground as a fugitive, attorney’s working on Shukar’s behalf tried to launch an appeal of the 1977 murder conviction, Shukar fled to Cuba in 1984 after being granted Political Asylum by then President Fidel Castro.
On December 17, 2014, President Barack Obama announced a historical lifting of 54-year-old American trade embargo against Cuba and subsequently released three US based Cuban prisoners. In return, Cuban President Raul Castro released of former US political prisoner Alan Gross and another unnamed American spy. The same day, Officials with the New Jersey State Police Department demanding the U.S. Government force Cuba to return Assata Shakur back to the States to face imprisonment.
To date, there is no indication the Cuban government or President Raul Castro will comply with the New Jersey State Police Department orders.
Now 67 years old Assata Shakur remains in Cuba as her supporters in the States including The National Conference of Black Lawyers, Hip-Hop Artists Mos Def, Common, Public Enemy, Digable Planets, was Godmother of the Late Tupac Shakur and growing The “Hands Off Assata” campaign organized by Journalist Dream Hampton and maintained by The Talking Drum Collective.
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