“I saw this as a necessary step, not only because I was innocent..but because I knew that in the racist legal system of the United States I would receive no justice”Who is Assata Shakur? Assata Shakur, also known as Joanne Chesimard, was a black activist, a member of the Black Liberation Army & the Black Panthers. She is the godmother of hip-hop legend Tupac Shakur.On May 2nd, 1973, she was unfairly convicted of shooting and murdering State Trooper Werner Foester in New Jersey.On that fateful morning, Assata and her fellow Black Liberation Army (BLA) members Sundiata Acoli and Zayd Malik Shakur were stopped by NJ state troopers for a broken taillight, that ended in a shootout.
Later after they pulled over, both Zayd Malik Shakur & Trooper Foerster were dead, and Assata and Trooper Harper were shot and wounded. Assata and Sundiata ended up arrested and sentenced with murdering a state trooper.An all-white jury convicted Shakur of shooting the state trooper. There was evidence that Assata’s hands were raised in the air, but she received a sentence of life plus 33 years in prison, served 2 years in solitary confinement, then escaped.In 1978 the National Conference of Black Lawyers & its allies sent a petition to the UN that noted Shakur’s case was one of the worst examples of “a class of victims of FBI misconduct… who as political activists have been selectively targeted for provocation, false arrests entrapment, fabrication of evidence, and spurious criminal prosecutions.”
After her escape from prison in 1979, she fled to Cuba and was granted political asylum till today. The FBI’s attempted to extradite her back to the U.S in 1998, when they asked the Pope to use a visit to Cuba to order her into the hands of the US government.