[Ppnews] Hands Off Assata Shakur! Jail Killer Cops!

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Dec 15 18:00:59 EST 2006


Hands Off Assata Shakur! Jail Killer Cops!

12/15/2006--Anger towards the police is growing following the deaths 
by police bullets of 23-year-old Sean Bell in New York and 
92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in Atlanta. Thousands rallied at New 
York Police Department headquarters on Dec. 6 in a militant and 
defiant rally that ended in a non-permitted march, and thousands more 
are expected to rally on December 16 and 21.

The NYPD has tried several tactics to silence the outrage over yet 
another killing of an unarmed Black man by police. First, they 
claimed that they thought that one of the men at the scene had a gun. 
Then, a week later, the cops changed their story and said that there 
was a fourth man, and that he had a gun. This was followed with a 
dragnet that rounded up Black men throughout southeast Queens. But no 
"fourth man" was found.

Their latest tactic has been to try to divert attention away from 
themselves. On December 12, the front page of the New York Daily News 
and several local television news broadcasts carried stories 
attacking the Community Center at CCNY named after named in honor 
after Guillermo Morales and Assata Shakur. The Daily News called 
Assata a "terrorist" and "cop-killer". Not only did this story fill 
the entire front page, but also a full page article inside as well as 
the News' editorial.

The Community Center was named after Guillermo Morales and Assata 
Shakur in 1989 - 17 years ago. Why is it just now becoming a front 
page story? Where is the breaking news justifying a front page story? 
The only new development in the story is that now, while the NYPD is 
facing world-wide condemnation for the killing of Sean Bell, New York 
Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch has 
launched this attack on CCNY students in order to take some of the 
attention off of killings committed by members of the NYPD. Lynch 
cannot justify the actions of his killer cops, so he is trying to 
change the subject.

Who is Assata Shakur?

Assata Shakur was a member of the Black Panther Party who, like many 
other Black activists in the 60s and 70s, became a target of 
COINTELPRO. As part of the FBI's campaign against the Black Panther 
Party, Assata was falsely accused of bank robberies and other crimes 
up and down the East Coast in the early 1970s. Her real "crime" was 
fighting for the liberation of Black people and other oppressed 
peoples from racist oppression.

After she was acquitted six different times on May 2, 1973, Assata, 
Sundiata Acoli and Zayd Malik Shakur were ambushed by state police on 
the New Jersey turnpike. A state trooper shot Assata in the arm and 
back as she had her hands in the air. Another trooper was killed. 
Zayd Malik Shakur was killed. Sundiata escaped and was later captured 
after a massive police manhunt.

After her arrest, Assata was shackled and chained to her hospital bed 
as the police guarding her shouted racist slogans, beat her with 
shotgun butts and threatened to kill her.

One of the state troopers admitted that he shot and killed Zayd Malik 
Shakur. But Assata was charged with the killing of Zayd--who she 
described as her "closest friend and comrade"--as well as with the 
death of the trooper. Sundiata Acoli was also charged with both 
deaths. No evidence linked either of them to the shooting of the 
state trooper. Defense testimony from several expert witnesses made 
it clear that Assata was not involved in the shooting. Nevertheless, 
in 1977 an all-white jury convicted Assata and sentenced her to life 
plus 33 years in prison. Sundiata was sentenced to life plus 30 
years. He remains a political prisoner today.

Assata Shakur escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba, where she 
lives today in political exile. The United States government has 
offered a $1 million bounty for her capture.

Writing about the newly-increased bounty, political prisoner Mumia 
Abu-Jamal wrote, "For centuries, nothing has so stirred up American 
fury like the escape of a slave. That ain't just distant history. For 
daring to slip her bonds and escape from brutal and unjust bondage, 
the Empire now labels her a terrorist. That's because to them, 
nothing is more terrifying than resistance to their imperial will. As 
for terrorists, if they really wanna find some, it shouldn't be too 
hard to find them. Just check the White House."

A statement from CCNY students in response to this PBA-initiated 
controversy said, in part, "We know that many Black people that 
fought for better conditions in the 70's were framed. We consider 
Assata Shakur to be one of the people who were wrongfully and 
purposefully framed for her activities. And we consider her a hero 
and role model for standing up for our people and putting her life on 
the line."

Guillermo Morales, a Puerto Rican freedom fighter, was a member of 
the FALN who also now lives in Cuba.

In the past 17 years, the Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Community 
and Student Center has provided many valuable services for the 
community, including lower-cost textbooks, mentoring, printing 
facilities, and soup kitchens.

Now, Patrick Lynch, the PBA, and the NYPD have launched a public 
attack on the center, demanding the name be changed. Under attack for 
their killings, they are stirring up a racist hysteria against Assata 
Shakur to distract attention from their terrorist actions.

The International Action Center stands in solidarity with the student 
activists--members of Students for Educational Rights, the Student 
Liberation Action Movement and Dominicans 2000--who share the 
Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Community and Student Center. We 
denounce the racist campaign to demonize Assata Shakur and Guillermo Morales.

We encourage all progressive and anti-racist activists to join two 
upcoming marches in New York:

December 16 - "Shopping for Justice." Participants will gather on 
59th Street and Fifth Avenue at noon and march down Fifth Ave. The 
rally is being organized by Al Sharpton's National Action Network, 
Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, and a number 
of Black and Latin@ elected officials, church and labor leaders. For 
more information, call 212-603-3704.

December 21 - Day of Outrage - Shut Down Wall Street. The march will 
assemble at noon at Liberty Street and Nassau Street (One Chase 
Manhattan Plaza). Organized by the Black Men's Movement and the 
December 12th Movement. For more information, call 718-398-1766.

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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