Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Wenjian Liu Rafael RamosBY DONNA WESTFALL

Did you know that thousands of protesters mobbed the New York streets on December 13th, chanting: 

“What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want them? Now.”

It doesn’t take much to influence people. The two New York police officers, who were Hispanic, Rafael Ramos, and Asian-American, Weijian Liu, were killed in cold blood by a 28-year-old black man, Ismaaiyl Brinsley. First he traveled to New York from Baltimore, where he shot and wounded his girlfriend. Then, later he shot the two NY officers and later used his handgun to take his own life by shooting himself on a crowded subway platform.

Back in the mid ’60’s,The Black Panther Party sprung up.  Later characterized by J. Edgar Hoover as the greatest internal threat to security in our county, which he then successfully infiltrated and created all types of mayhem. Many people don’t realize that the BPP also started socialist programs like the Free Breakfast for Children program, and Community Health Centers.

By the ’70’s, in part because of the many concessions made to the government, in-fighting decimated the BPP that had reached 68 cities and thousands of members. Out of it’s ashes arose the Black Liberation Army which was much more militant than the BPP.

The BLA carried out a series of bombings, murders, robberies  and prison breaks. The Justice Department blames the BLA for the murder of 13 police officers.

In light of President Obama’s open arms policy to renew relations with Cuba, there lives among the Cuban’s an American woman, an escaped convict being treated as a heroine.

Joanne Chesimard/Assata Chakur

Joanne Chesimard has been living in Cuba under the name Assata Shakur since 1984 after seeking political asylum.

Born in Queens, New York, she spent time growing up in North Carolina and then back to Queens, NY in the ’60’s during her teenage years.  There she became involved in sit-ins,’ protests and political activities. She became a member of the Black Panther Party and then the Black Liberation Army.

In 1973, during a routine traffic stop for a broken tail light, she shot and killed New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster. She was convicted in 1977 and escaped prison two years later.

Chesimard/Shakur, who became the first woman on the FBI‘s Most Wanted list in 2013, hid in a series of safe houses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania before fleeing to Cuba.

Her rap sheet reads like something on America’s Most Wanted Most of her cases were dismissed, or acquitted for things like attempted murder, bank robbery, murder, assault with a deadly weapon and kidnapping. But she was convicted on the killing of Foerster.

Now, here’s the interesting part, anyone who helps bring Chesimard/Shakur, now 67, into custody stands to get $2 million in rewards, according  to the FBI.

May 2, 2013, was the 40th anniversary of the shooting of  NJ State Trooper Foerster. Repeated attempts to have her extradited to the US have failed. Attempts made since 1997 by NJ Superintendent of the Police plea to the Pope while meeting  with Fidel Castro, then NJ Governor Christine Todd Whitman’s plea to Attorney General Janet Reno, and in 1998, US State Department had offered to lift the Cuban embargo in exchange for the return of 90 U.S. political exiles, including Shakur.

No extradition ever took place. It will be interesting to watch and see if President Obama can bring a satisfactory close to this matter. Also interesting to see if any more cop killers would be able to get political asylum from Cuba in the future.

One thought on “Shoot a Cop, Escape to Cuba”
  1. It is my understanding that the video was edited to sound like that’s what they were saying. It’s a lot different when you listen to the unedited video with a pair of decent headphones on.

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