[Pnews] Former Black Panther to be released after more than 49 years in prison

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Sep 24 11:41:36 EDT 2020


  Former Black Panther to be released after more than 49 years in prison

Ed Pilkington - September 24, 2020

A former Black Panther who has been in prison for almost half a century 
has finally won his decades-long battle for freedom after a New York 
parole board ordered his release.

Jalil Muntaqim, AKA Anthony Bottom, has been in unbroken custody for 
more than 49 years having been arrested and later convicted of the 1971 
murders of two police officers in Harlem. Under the terms of his parole 
he must be released from the maximum-security Sullivan correctional 
facility in upstate New York by 20 October.

Related: The Black Panthers still in prison: after 46 years, will they 
ever be set free? 

At a hearing earlier this month – at least his 10th such panel 
appearance since he became eligible for parole in 1998 – Muntaqim 
expressed his remorse for the killings of Joseph Piagentini and Waverly 
Jones. The officers had answered what they believed was a domestic 
dispute call but were then ambushed and shot.

The two parole commissioners on the panel accepted his expression of 
remorse as genuine.

Muntaqim, 68, was the subject of a Guardian profile 
in 2018 as part of a series that looked at black liberation radicals 
incarcerated for decades in the wake of political and racial turbulence 
in the late 1960s and 70s. At the time of the Harlem incident he was a 
clandestine member of the underground wing of the Panthers, the Black 
Liberation Army.

In the course of a three-hour filmed interview 
<https://youtu.be/0ORtv-4wX-k> with the Guardian in Sullivan, Muntaqim 
described how he was only 18 years old when he signed up for the 
Panthers, quickly going on to join the armed and clandestine BLA. He 
said that in his many years behind bars he had matured from the 
revolutionary position that he adopted in 1971, though he remained 
committed to the cause of racial equality and justice.

“I now take the ‘r’ off the word and make it ‘evolutionary’,” he said. 
“Revolution for me is the evolutionary process of building a higher 
level of consciousness in society at large. I’m an evolutionary 

Muntaqim’s release has been virulently opposed by the New York police 
union, the PBA, and by the widow of one of the murdered police officers, 
Diane Piagentini. In a statement she said: “We are heartbroken to see 
another of Joe’s killer set free by politics. But more than anything 
else, we are angry.”

Muntaqim was one of a dwindling number of black liberation radicals who 
were incarcerated during the heyday of the Black Panthers and who have 
been locked up ever since. Edward Poindexter, convicted of the killing 
of a police officer in Omaha, Nebraska, marked his 50 years in a prison 
cell in August.

Others have been released on parole in recent months. The surviving 
seven members of the Move 9, black liberation and environmental radicals 
from Philadelphia who were arrested following a police siege of their 
communal home in 1978, were all released on parole 
over the past two years.

One of the seven, Delbert Africa, died in June just five months after he 
was set free 

Muntaqim had two co-defendants at trial for the killings of the police 
officers in Harlem, when they each received sentences of 25 years to 
life. Albert “Nuh” Washington died in prison in 2000, and Herman Bell 
was released on parole in April 2018.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://freedomarchives.org/pipermail/ppnews_freedomarchives.org/attachments/20200924/e4df875f/attachment.html>

More information about the PPnews mailing list