30521, US Government declares a $1million bounty for Assata Shakur|
Posted by Phenomenality, Mon May-02-05 05:51 PM
just posted this in gd.. thought it fit over here tho..
U.S. Government Declares $1 Million Bounty For Assata Shakur, Tupac's Godmother
By Houston Williams
Date: 5/2/2005 6:00 PM
The federal government has announced a $1 million bounty for the capture of fugitive JoAnne Chesimard, who is widely known as Assata Shakur. Assata, who is also Tupac’s godmother, has lived in Cuba nearly 30 years after escaping a maximum security jail.
Today represents the 32nd anniversary of a notorious clash between members of the Black Liberation Army and the New Jersey state troopers. At the end of the conflict, two were dead and two were incarcerated, including Assata.
Rappers like Paris and Common have written sympathetic, reflective songs about Assata . Common explained his support of Shakur.
“The reason I was even connected to this woman is because of her humanity and her passion for people,” the Chicago native told AllHipHop.com. “And when I met her on a Black August trip four years ago and I learned she was innocent and that all the pain and hate that had been placed upon her, she'd overcome. There's no way than anyone in this world should want to harm her. She’s such a beautiful human being.”
Accounts of that fateful day vary. On May 2 1973, New Jersey State Trooper James Harper pulled over Assata, Zayd Shakur and Sundiata Acoli for an apparent broken taillight on their vehicle.
The incident rapidly escalated into a gunfight and resulted in the deaths of Zayd Shakur and Trooper Werner Foerster. Harper and Assata were also injured in the melee.
The authorities maintain that Assata murdered Foerster executioner style after he was injured, but her lawyers charge that she herself was too severely wounded to do such and act. She was hit twice and her gunshot wounds were inflicted as she surrendered.
Nevertheless, Assata was convicted and served six and a half years in prison at the maximum security wing of the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in New Jersey.
In 1979, with the help of others, she escaped and found asylum in Cuba. She asserts that she was living in deplorable conditions and was brutalized by correctional officers. Tupac’s godfather Mutulu Shakur, a political prisoner, was also sent to prison and accused of helping Assata escape Clinton.
Despite her legal status, he still has staunch supporters stateside.
“Assata is innocent. She is a legitimate political refugee in Cuba. Castro recognizes her as such because the case against her in New Jersey nearly 30 years ago was an attempt to frame a Black revolutionary who was herself shot and tortured by police,” writer/author Dream Hampton told AllHipHop.com.
Hampton, author of Jay-Z’s upcoming autobiography “The Black Book,” is also a member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, helps organize Black August and helped launch the “Hands off Assata” campaign.
“But we should never lose sight of the fact that she's innocent. And now more than ever she needs our support,” Hampton said. Hampton said that three experts testified in the case and there was no gun power residue present to support the theory that she murdered officer Foerster.
In her own words, Assata, now 57, has proclaimed her innocence in writings now widely posted online. “I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government's policy towards people of color,” Shakur has written in the past. “I am an ex-political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984. I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one.”
On the classic song “Rebel Without A Pause,” Chuck D of Public Enemy declared himself to be a “supporter of Chesimard” and Hampton concurred that the fugitive continues to inspire the generations after her escape to Cuba – as she is vilified in the mainstream press and domestic government.
“Black August, our annual Hip-Hop benefit concert, is inspired in part by Assata. The artist we've taken to Cuba---Mos, dead prez, Common and Kweli have all been moved to action by Assata. She's our soldier and hero.”
Regardless of her grassroots backing, the federal authorities haven’t eased their pursuit of Assata Shakur and plan to use international influence to squeeze her out of her Cuban sanctuary.
"She is now 120 pounds of money," State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes said to the NJ Star-Ledger. " is going to exert pressures that weren't in place nationally and internationally before. And we're going to follow up to make sure everybody is aware of this both inside and outside of Cuba."
The bounty on Assata Shakur is the largest reward ever placed on an individual in the state of New Jersey.
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