[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
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
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