[Ppnews] Murdered by the State

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Sep 1 11:18:07 EDT 2006


From: "tomwatts1 at iwon.com" <tomwatts1 at iwon.com>


Murdered by the State (August 31, 2006)

The state of Texas gave us another reason to forever commemorate 
Black August and to rededicate ourselves to the revolutionary 
struggle. At 6:00 this evening, they executed our brother, Hasan 
Shakur, the Minister of Human Rights of the New Afrikan Black Panther 
Party-Prison Chapter. He had recently turned 29 years old. At 19, he 
was framed for murder. He was called Derrick Frazier, then, a poor 
Black youth who had grown up on the mean streets and in the juvenile 
halls of Texas, after his mother died of a crack overdose.

Tricked by police into confessing to a crime he did not commit, which 
they knew he did not commit because they already had the confession 
of the youth who had done the murder, Derrick Frazier was the victim 
of a racist hate crime, a frame-up, for no other reason than the cops 
could do it and get away with it. Cynically, they convinced Derrick 
they were doing him a favor that would save his life.

They didn't tell him that he had a right to an attorney or that he 
could not plea bargain without one. They didn't tell him they had 
nothing on him, they told him he would die unless he took some blame 
to show he was cooperating...blame for another's actions he did not 
even witness. In a very real sense, Derrick Frazier died in that 
police station.

Hasan Shakur was born on death row. It didn't happen automatically. 
It came out of the depth of despair and with his conversion to Islam 
and the teaching of a prisoner iman who was a veteran of the original 
Black Panther Party. In prison he awakened to the teachings of 
Malcolm X and Mao Tse-tung, of Huey P. Newton and George Jackson. And 
his living mentor, former BPP/BLA political prisoner/prisoner of war, 
Russell "Maroon" Shoats.

Hasan did not fear his death, nor was he afraid to go on living, 
because he had found a purpose to his life and death - REVOLUTION! He 
was prepared to meet the enemy standing on his feet, standing tall! 
Because in life or death he stood for the people!

Today they killed his body, but his spirit will live on, like that of 
Che, Fred Hampton, Sr. and George Jackson. He will march beside us in 
the streets and stand with us at rallies and on the barricades. And 
when the final victory is won, he will be there in the bright future 
of humanity that will have been bought with martyr's blood and the 
struggle of generations against all oppression and for the human rights of all!

Tom Big Warrior, Red Heart Warriors Society

Hasan Shakur: A Maroon on Death Row
By Walidah Imarisha
San Francisco Independent Media Center

Wednesday 30 August 2006
"Whether they murder me or not on Friday, I'm telling you, watch what 
Ima do, the ancestors are gonna be proud." Hasan Shakur uttered these 
powerful words a few days before he is scheduled to be executed in 
Texas, Thursday August 31st.

I am sitting in my rented Chevy Equinox outside of the Polunsky Unit, 
in Livingston, Texas. It's the middle of farm country; there are 
stables right next door to the prison, within pissing distance of the 
electrified fence and concertina wire. I wonder if they belong to the 
prison. How much of this farmland is the prisons? The inmates wear 
all white here. It is ghostly figures I see pushing wheelbarrows, 
carrying rakes through a manicured lawn with flower boxes shaped like 
the star of Texas. This place reminds me so much of the California 
state prison my adopted brother Kakamia is in, the town, the hotel 
I'm staying at, the prison itself, that I walked into the visiting 
room expected to see my afro-haloed hermano. But I guess maybe all 
prison towns start to look the same.

The processing is the fastest I've ever been through going to a 
prison. I have had to wait hours before to be cleared. I do not know 
if it is this prison, or the fact that I'm visiting at off times, or 
the fact that I am visiting someone who has an execution date set. 
Set for Thursday. Days are bleeding away, the 29th is just a breath 
away from the 31st.

Hasan Shakur, aka Derrick Frazier, aka #999284, is dressed all in 
white as well. Visiting is only through glass, and Hasan sits in a 
cage, the telephone pressed to his ear. He is as big as I figured he 
would be. He stands up to go to the bathroom, sticking his hands 
through the slot so they can put the handcuffs on him, and he towers 
over the three guards around him.

But what doesn't come through in the photos on his web site is his 
baby face. 29 years old now, with a face of a 15-year-old. He barely 
made it to 29, wasn't supposed to make it. His life reads like a text 
book case of black ghetto life ("I always felt more comfortable in 
the ghetto, you know?" he says, eyes clear as spring water.): dad 
gone, addicted beloved mother gone, didn't graduate high school, 
slanging and banging and hardening his face to survive, and here he 
sits, for 9 years, on Texas' death row, dressed in baptismal white. 
He was reborn here, held not by heavenly loving hands but by night 
sticks and pepper spray. Not gently laid back to be quietly 
submerged, but head pushed into toilets, and balls crushed under 
boots. Hasan Shakur born out of Derrick Frazier, not through water 
but a hail of bullets and billy clubs, child of George Jackson and 
Angela Davis, Mumia and Sundiata and all the political prisoners. 
Grandchild of Nat Turner and great great grandson of Seminoles and 
maroon colonies and quilombos. He takes his heritage serious as a 
heart attack, induced by a pound of poison shoved into your veins by 
the state.

The visiting room is busy today. Yesterday was family day, with his 
aunt and grandmother coming in to see him, making a three hour drive 
both ways. Today is supporter day. Hasan's wife and support 
coordinator Debbie came from Canada a few days ago. Ray from the New 
York-based group the Welfare Poets came, and me from Philly. Only two 
people are allowed in the visiting room for him at one time, so we 
keep trading off, two hours in, two hours out, a game of death room 
musical chairs.

I met Hasan six years ago when I helped to found the Human Rights 
Coalition, a prisoner family organizing group. It was the brainchild 
and heartchild of Russell "Maroon" Shoats, a Pennsylvania political 
prisoner, former Black Panther/Black Liberation Army member who has 
served almost 20 years straight in solitary confinement, never 
touching another human being except for his captors. Hasan is also 
Maroon's heartchild, his adopted son. "This," Maroon wrote, "this 
brotha is our future, with his lion's strength and determination." 
Hasan wears a bracelet embroidered "MAROON" around his wrist that 
twists and turns as he writes and organizes groups and organizations, 
concerts and newsletters, campaigns and strategy planning from a cell 
the size of a bathroom that has the held breath of murder in it. 
Hasan started a chapter of HRC in Texas and serves on our advisory 
council. He has given invaluable insight to our planning and 
visioning for the organization, and he keeps us grounded. "Wa Wa, I'm 
a workhorse," he says with a half smile, "and I'm going to push 
everyone around me, if I see someone leaning back, Ima crack that 
whip." He says I should be proud of him, because he got six hours of 
sleep the night before, double his usual dose, which I often nag him 
about. "Yeah but how many did you get the night before?" I ask, laughing.

Debbie comes back in and says the affidavits will be filed in court 
today. The hope is that these affidavits will win a stay of execution 
for Hasan. There is also hope of perhaps getting a stay of execution 
from the governor, and an international letter writing campaign has 
been in effect since the date was handed down several weeks ago. 
Hasan was convicted of killing a white woman and her son in Refugio, 
Texas. There is a lack of physical evidence to tie Hasan to the 
scene. In fact, the main piece of evidence against him is a forced 
confession the police illicited from him, a 19-year-old black young 
man, while in their custody, after a promise that he would only get 
30 years for it. He was found guilty by an almost all-white jury, 
some of whom had contact with the victim's family during the trial. 
He had an incompetent lawyer who was later suspended, and a 
questionable indictment that outlined several different theories 
about the murders. I said to Hasan that some people, even black 
folks, still believe in the inherent goodness of the system, that 
there are some glitches but once those get cleared up, it will be 
back on track. He snorted and said, "That's where we go wrong, 
believing that simple shit. The system is on track ... it's on track 
to ride over us."

But there is still reason for hope. Hasan had an execution date 
scheduled for April 27, the day before his 29th birthday. Three days 
before, the courts gave him a stay. The prison shut down his visiting 
the minute the paperwork was filed, so I didn't get to see him on 
that trip. This is our first time meeting face to face, even though 
we have organized and worked together for years. Also, another brotha 
was released from death row last week; a new trial won him a 
different sentence, and since he'd already spent 20 years on the row, 
they let him go. Debbie said, "Of course they got tight restrictions 
on him, he can do nothing, can't use the computer, can't leave the 
house, can't drink ... but shit, at least he's home."

But this is Texas, after all, and hope does not grow well in this 
soil. When it manages to take root, it is promptly stomped back down. 
"Our people don't prepare for the future, you know?" Hasan says, 
scowling. The shatterproof glass between us reflects the light from 
the vending machines behind the cages, and it looks like Pepsi is 
written sliding down Hasan's face like tears, cracked right down the 
middle. "It took us damn near thirty years to recover after we lost 
Malcolm. We have to set it up so that things will continue even if 
they take us out, cause you know that's what they're going to do. Wa 
Wa, just wait, just wait until you see some of the things I'm going 
to do. Watch what I'm going to do," he says, smile showing the 
nine-year-old face I saw on the internet, little 80s afro and solemn 
eyes. "Whether they murder me or not on Friday, I'm telling you, 
watch what Ima do, the ancestors are gonna be proud."

--------

* <http://www.hasanshakur.com/>http://www.hasanshakur.com

The Freedom Archives
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San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
www.freedomarchives.org 
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