Romaine 'Chip' Fitzgerald is a former member of the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party. He is currently serving 2 life sentences for the murder of a security guard and attempted murder of a CHP officer after originally being given a death sentence.
On September 7th, 1969, California
Highway Patrol pulled over a
Volkswagen with Romaine 'Chip'
Fitzgerald and two other members of the Black Panther Party (Robert Williams and Luxey Irvin). The men were stopped for a faulty taillight.
During the traffic stop a shooting broke out, leaving one officer and
Chip Fitzgerald injured. The three Black Panthers managed to escape from the seen, leaving the injured officer in possession of Fitzgerald’s driver’s license. Chip managed to escape arrest three times before his capture.
On October 9th. After being taken custody, he was informed that he was not only charged with the attempted murder of the CHP officer, but
was also being charged with the murder of a private security guard, Barge Miller. Chip denies involvement in this shooting. Furthermore the CHP officer has since admitted that he had orders to shoot to kill Black Panther Party members.
Words from Chip, March 2007: ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE! THE PEOPLE ARE THE POWER!
On behalf of the 170,000 imprisoned sisters, brothers, and comrades for whom I do not speak for but I do speak with the, we embrace you in spirit of love and solidarity!
In the current atmosphere of neo-conservative Christian fascism and extraordinary rendition- where people are afraid to be labeled unpatriotic…or a terrorist for their progressive and radical beliefs and political dissent- to paraphrase my comrade Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Party and who was assassinated nearly 40 years ago…I REMAIN A REVOLUTIONARY!
The prison system has mutated into a complex dysfunctional resource-wasting parasite of social control, political repression and revenge! Human beings are warehoused in these concrete and steel bunkers that destroy human sensibilities and the human spirit. Then following years of continuous antagonism and frustration at the hands of sadistic prison guards tortured souls are released on to an unsuspecting public to offend. There in is the cause and effect of an 80% recidivism rate.
The human warehouses destroy human beings like the Iraq war is mutilating young Americans. Prisoners are being de-sensitized…they are frustrated, angry and bitter and unprepared to become productive members of society. These tortured souls who are our families and loved ones, are paroled with little hope…this is why California’s recidivism rate is above 75%. The system is now designed to perpetuate itself.
We are again confronted with a parole setting body of individuals known as commissioners. Who are that racist and revenge oriented and operate as if they are exempt from the rule of law with the CCPOA (Prison Guards Union) and crime victims driving the policy of the CDC. The intent is to keep these prisons filled to capacity!
From a practical perspective of economic dollars and cents, there is no return on the dollars invested in the Prison Industrial Complex. It’s an enormous drain on the state budget, denying social services the people-health care insurance andincreasing funding for education and social programs for our youth and young adults to prevent them from joining gangs and engaging in criminal activity.
The enormity of the problem may seem overwhelming…and we as individuals by comparison may seem insignificant and powerless but appearances can be very deceptive. In the words of Public Enemy…”Don’t Believe the Hype.”
What is to be done to solve the problem? Let us follow the example of the anti war movement. Let the politically conscious people of Cali, the progressive and revolutionary people rise up and seize the day! Organize to halt the perversion of justice and squandering of valuable resources by the Prison Guard Union (CCPOA) and the Prison Industrial Complex. Demand to be active participants in the sentencing/prison reform process. Demand public transparency as guaranteed by the law. Register and vote out the legislators who have rewarded the campaign contributions of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association with CARTE BLANCHE to do
as they please in the California Department of Corrections- which has resulted in corruption, criminal mismanagement, thievery, brutality and even death!
The federal District courts have held the prison bureaucrats guilty and responsible for all of the above. So the people have an obligation to rise up and say to the public servants...ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! BASTA! ALL POWER BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE…WE ARE THE POWER!
SEIZE IT! Freechip.org
Marshall Eddie Conway #116469
MD. Correctional Training Center
18800 Roxbury Rd., Hagerstown, MD 21746
Marshall Edward ("Eddie") Conway is a former member of the Black Panther Party who was imprisoned for a crime he says he did not commit. Eddie was implicated in the murder of one Baltimore City police officer and the assault and attempted murder of two other officers. Eddie claims that not only is he innocent but that he was a target of COINTELPRO.
On April 24, 1970, two officers investigated a domestic abuse call at 1201 Myrtle Ave in Baltimore. During the investigation, three men opened fired on the patrol car, killing one officer and injuring the other. Shortly after the shooting, a police officer by the name of Nolan, engaged in a shoot out with a suspect who managed to escape. Police then apprehended two suspects a few blocks away from the incident. The day after the shooting a warrant was issued for Marshall Eddie Conway and he was arrested shortly after he reported to work at Baltimore’s Main Post Office. According to the testimony of the arresting officer, the warrant was obtained based on information provided by an informer.
Besides a tip from an informer, there is nothing to indicate Conway’s involvement in the shooting. In attempt to make their case against Conway, prosecutors reportedly made a deal with one of the other defendants. Eddie’s been in prison for over 30 years.
Ruchell Cinque Magee
3A2-131 Box 3471, C.S.P. Corcoran, CA 93212
The following bio was written by Mumia Abu Jamal:
Ruchell C. Magee arrived in Los Angeles, California in 1963, and wasn't in town for six months before he and a cousin, Leroy, were arrested on the improbable charges of kidnap and robbery, after a fight with a man over a woman and a $10 bag of marijuana. Magee, in a slam-dunk "trial," was swiftly convicted and swifter still sentenced to life.
Magee, politicized in those years, took the name of the African freedom fighter, Cinque, who, with his fellow captives seized control of the slave ship, the Amistad, and tried to sail back to Africa. Like his ancient namesake, Cinque would also fight for his freedom from legalized slavery, and for 7 long years he filed writ after writ, learning what he calls "guerrilla law", honing it as a tool for liberation of himself and his fellow captives. But California courts, which could care less about the alleged "rights" of a young Black man like Magee, dismissed his petitions.
In August, 1970, Magee appeared as a witness in the assault trial of James McClain, a man charged with assaulting a guard after San Quentin guards murdered a Black prisoner, Fred Billingsley. McClain, defending himself, presented imprisoned witnesses to expose the racist and repressive nature of prisons. In the midst of MaGee's testimony, 17 year, Jonathan Jackson burst into the courtroom, heavily armed.
Jonathan Jackson shouted "Freeze!" Tossing weapons to McClain, William Christmas, and a startled Magee, who joined the rebellion on the spot. The four rebels took the judge, the DA and three jurors hostage, and headed for a radio station where they were going to air the wretched prison conditions to the world, as well as demand the immediate release of a group of political prisoners, known as The Soledad Brothers (John Cluchette, Fleeta Drumgo, and Jonathan's oldest brother, George). While the men did not hurt any of their hostages, they did not reckon on the state's ruthlessness.
Before the men could get their van out of the courthouse parking lot, prison guards and sheriffs opened furious fire on the vehicle, killing Christmas, Jackson, McClain as well as the judge. The DA was permanently paralyzed by gunfire. Miraculously, the jurors emerged relatively unscratched, although Magee, seriously wounded by gunfire, was found unconscious.
Magee, who was the only Black survivor of what has come to be called "The August 7th Rebellion," would awaken to learn he was charged with murder, kidnapping and conspiracy, and that his co-defendant was Angela Davis, who faced identical charges. By trial time the cases were severed, with Angela garnering massive support leading to her 1972 acquittal on all charges.
Magee's trial did not garner such broad support, yet he boldly advanced the position that as his imprisonment was itself illegal, and a form of unjustifiable slavery, he had the inherent right to escape such slavery. Unfortunately, Magee's jury didn't agree, although it did acquit on at least one kidnapping charge. The court dismissed on the murder charge, and Magee has been battling for his freedom every since.
Frederick Burton is an innocent man who has diligently attempted to prove his innocence to the courts for the past 37 years. Prior to his incarceration, Fred worked for a phone company, was a well-respected member of his community and his wife was preparing to have twins, his third and fourth child when he was arrested. In 1970,Fred was accused and then convicted of participating in the planning of the murder of Philadelphia police officers. While the plan was allegedly to blow up a police station, what occurred was that a police officer was shot and killed allegedly by members of a radical group called "the Revolutionaries."
Only one witness, Marie Williams, corroborates the relationship between Fred and "the Revolutionaries." Fred was not accused of being at the scene of the crime. At Fred's trial, Marie Williams was compelled by order of the court to testify. She said she had heard someone in her basement, a floor below her, say, "Let's off some pigs." She did not accuse Fred of making those statements. The Commonwealth intentionally struck every African-American from the active jury. The all white jury unanimously convicted Fred after being purposefully misled by the Commonwealth and Marie Williams.
The testimony of the Commonwealth's star witness, Marie Williams, was marred by contradiction. Marie Williams initially claimed Fifth Amendment at the first two of three preliminary hearings and refused to testify. At Fred's third
preliminary hearing, Marie Williams
completely exonerated Fred. she
testified that she had no knowledge of "the Revolutionaries" or of Fred's involvement with that group. After the third preliminary, the case was held for trial. Marie Williams was then subjected to a closed immunity hearing and compelled to testify at trial.
The Omaha 2
Mondo We Langa (David Rice) #27768,
Nebraska State Penitentiary, P.O. Box 2500, Lincoln, NE 68542
Ed Poindexter # 27767
Nebraska State Penitentiary, P.O. Box 2500, Lincoln, NE 68542
David Rice (who later changed his name to Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen We Langa) and Edward Poindexter were charged and convicted of the murder of Omaha Police Officer Larry Minard, father of five. Minard died when a suitcase containing dynamite exploded in a North Omaha home on August 17, 1970. Officer John Tess was also injured in the explosion.
Poindexter and Rice were members of the Black Panther Party, and the case was very controversial. The Omaha Police withheld exculpatory evidence at trial. The two men had been targeted by the FBI's COINTELPRO.
Poindexter was a community activist in North Omaha. He has published
plays, and has also published various materials educating and motivating prison inmates who are near release. While in prison, he earned his Master's degree.
In the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., racial
tensions in inner-cities across America were high. In March of 1968, riots in Omaha led to the shooting of a local high school student during an event in support of segregationist George Wallace's presidential campaign. In the summer of 1970, there was a rash of bombings in the Midwest. Five
bombings had occurred in neighboring Iowa, explosions occurred in
Wisconsin and Minnesota, and both a police precinct and the Component
Concept Corporation suffered bomb damage in Omaha. Members of the Black Panther Party were the prime suspects in these bombings.
In July, a warrant was issued to search Omaha BPP headquarters for bomb making materials. Luther Payne, a former BPP member, was arrested in Omaha for possessing dynamite. On August 17 a call was made to the police reporting a woman screaming at a vacant house near 28th and Ohio Street. Patrolman Michael Lamson and
five other members of the Omaha Police Department (OPD) responded to the call. They noticed a suitcase sitting in the front room. Shortly
afterward, Patrolmen Larry Minard and John Tess arrived. With Tess looking on, Minard picked up the suitcase. The resultant explosion killed him and seriously injured Tess. After hiding out for over a week, Duane Peak was arrested for the crime on August 28. He confessed to placing the bag and implicated six others, but mentioned neither Rice nor Poindexter.
In a later statement, Peak told police that Rice and Poindexter had made the bomb, told him to plant it, and to lure the police to the vacant house with an anonymous phone call.
This led to the charging of Poindexter and Rice with murder on August 31, 1970.
In an interview with the Washington Post on January 8, 1978, County
Prosecutor Art O'Leary admitted that he had made a deal with Duane Peak to prosecute him as a juvenile in return for his testimony. O'Leary
acknowledged that without Peak's testimony, the pair would not have been convicted.
William 'Lefty' Gilday
Shirley, MA 01464
William ‘Lefty’ Gilday is a 60s radical sentenced to death for his involvement in a bank expropriation while attempting to finance the
anti-war movement during the Vietnam War. Gilday is a former minor league baseball player from Amesbury, Massachusetts, who in
his early to mid-thirties was arrested on robbery charges and became radicalized in prison. Gilday
enrolled in Boston’s Northeastern University with a fellow inmate, Robert Valeri. William Gilday and
friends became involved in the radical group known as the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and later moved into a militant
offshoot of SDS, known as the Weather Underground.
The members engaged in an expropriation of funds from the Bell Federal Savings and Loan Association in Philadelphia on September 1, 1970. They have also been connected with an assault on the National Guard armory at Newburyport, Massachusetts, on September 20, 1970, which left the armory heavily damaged by fire and explosions. Ammunition and a truck were seized
during this action but were later recovered by authorities.
On September 23, 1970, members of the group entered the State Street Bank and Trust Company in Boston with the intent to expropriate
funds to help finance the movement against the Vietnam War. The group retrieved $26,585. As they left, a Boston police officer who had been alerted by a silent alarm was shot and killed by a Thompson .45 caliber sub-machine gun. Shortly after the incident, Boston police obtained warrants for two college students,
Susan Saxe and Katherine Power, and former convicts Stanley Bond, Robert Valeri and William Gilday. The five were charged with murdering the policeman during the robbery.
The hunt for Gilday was the largest manhunt in New England history, with close to 3,000 police, game wardens, military troops and other personnel involved. For eight days, Gilday was successful in evading the authorities before being captured after a pursuit with police cruisers and a helicopter.
Michael Fleischer, who was responsible for the actual shooting death of the officer became a witness for the state. Fleischer had nine indictments totally dismissed after he testified against Gilday and Saxe six years later. With the help of the testimonies of Fleischer and Valeri, the government was successful in framing the murder charge on William Gilday rather than Michael Fleischer. Gilday was tried, found guilty and was sentenced to death. His sentence was later reduced to life imprisonment.
Mafundi is a New Afrikan prisoner and prolific writer inside prison. Due to his strong political views he was isolated from other prisoners at various intervals during his incarceration. He is a powerful writer inside. The following was written by Mafundi on February 20, 1995:
As a person who has been involved in political struggle all of my life, primarily the African liberation struggle (I am now 55 years old), I can sincerely respect and appreciate all, and any, effort in behalf of the universal struggle for human rights and human dignity, and especially efforts in behalf of those who are in prison. I have been incarcerated 24 years out of my life’s 55 years.
It is impossible for anyone who has never been in prison to comprehend the horrors and realities of life within prison. Prison is a very negative environment. There is nothing good that can be said about prisons. Prisons can not be reformed (made better). Prison takes a toll on everyone regardless of how physically strong or mentally tough a prisoner might be. Prison effects different people in different ways, but the dehumanizing and destructive nature of prisons will have a profound and everlasting effect on all who enter prison. Nobody remains the same in prison or after prison. Prison is truly the test of a person’s strength, character and resourcefulness. The strong is not always strong in prison. Paradoxically, the strong upon entering prison will often become weak and the weak often becomes strong. So many prisoners who are supposed to be strong and good people are broken in prison and become agents for the state inside and outside of prison. Political people should be careful about ex- prisoners being accepted among their ranks based solely upon their character and reputation before they went to prison. The state does excellent recruitment from within the prisons/jails and the military. Especially among prisoners with past good reputations. Personally, I distrust anyone who prison custodians trust and speak well of - and regardless of what that prisoner might be. Political prisoners of any degree of integrity and intelligence will not allow themselves to be played like that. Political activists/organizers/ revolutionaries should guard their integrity/ credibility with a passion because it is the most important thing they have.
One of the fundamental weaknesses of the prison struggle is that it is so fragmented by elitism , regionalism, egoism, etc. There is no real attempt among enough people to solidify the prison struggle. There is a serious lack of political maturity and political principles within the prison struggle. How can we save Mumia, free Gary Tyler, Pratt, Sundiata and all the other political prisoners and prisoners of war without the pressure and mobilization of the masses? This will take a massive undertaking. No individual or small group of individuals will be able to make it happen. The primary function of revolutionaries is to mobilize the masses. Unfortunately, some of the so-called revolutionary elements within the prison struggle do the most to retard the prison smuggle and undermine any real attempts to solidify the prison struggle. In fact, a lot of so- called revolutionary groups are no more than “elite social clubs” or “regional cults.” It is a shame that there are so many political individuals and groups out there who have allegedly been doing political studying for decades and still don’t understand a damn thing about political principles and political organizing. It is our ineptness that gives the system its aura of invincibility. The system ain’t shit.
There are hundreds of prisoner support groups throughout the country but very few have working relationships with each other - or even know about each other.
Political prisoners and prisoners of war have a vested interest in encouraging their families, their defense committees and their supporters to bond together with other political prisoners’ and prisoners’ of war families, defense committees and supporters in order to more effectively work for the common good. They should also encourage them to work with other reputable political groups regardless of what the primary focus of the group/individual might be.
We all have a common enemy and it’s about time we all start acting like it. The struggle is not about who we like personally. We are not engaged in a personal struggle or a popularity struggle! We are engaged in a political struggle… A revolutionary struggle!
Joseph "Joe-Joe" Bowen
1 Kelley Drive
Coal Township, PA 17866-1021
Joseph "Joe-Joe" Bowen is one of the many all-but-forgotten frontline soldiers in the liberation struggle. A native of Philadelphia, Joe-Joe was a young member of the "30th and Norris Street" gang, before his incarceration politicized him. Released in 1971, his outside activism was cut short a week following his release when Joe-Joe was confronted by an officer of the notoriously brutal Philadelphia police department. The police officer was killed in the confrontation, and Bowen fled.
After his capture and incarceration, Bowen became a Black Liberation Army combatant, defiant to authorities at every turn. In 1973, Bowen and Philadelphia Five prisoner Fred "Muhammad Kafi" Burton assassinated Holmesberg prison's warden and deputy warden as well as wounded the guard commander in retaliation for intense repression against Muslim prisoners in the facility. In 1981, Bowen led a six-day standoff with authorities when he and six other captives took 39 hostages at Graterford Prison as a freedom attempt and protest of the prison conditions at Graterford.
Much of his time in prison has been spent in and out of control units, solitary confinement and other means of isolating Joe-Joe from the general prison population. However, he is legendary to many prisoners as a revolutionary. "I used to teach the brothers how to turn their rage into energy and understand their situations," Bowen told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1981. "I don't threaten anybody. I don't talk to the pigs. I don't drink anything I can't see through and I don't eat anything that comes off a tray. When the time comes, I'll be ready."
Russell Maroon Shoats
SCI Greene, 175 Progress Drive, Waynesburg, PA 15370
Russell Maroon Shoats is a political prisoner being held in the control
unit of SCI Greene, a super-max prison in western Pennsylvania. Russell was a founding member of Philadelphia’s Black Unity Council which eventually merged with the Black Panther Party. In 1972 while a member of the Philadelphia chapter Russell was arrested and tried for the murder of a police officer. He received an unfair trial, and without adequate legal representation he received two life sentences. Russell has spent twenty-three of his twenty-seven years in prison in a lock-down sensory deprivation unit in retaliation for his political activities and escape attempts in the early 70's. He is confined twenty-three hours a day. His family only gets one-hour visits with him, and they must drive twelve hours just to see him. Visitors must talk with Russell through a glass wall while his hands are shackled to his belt. Before and after visits he gets a full body cavity strip search, although the visits are non-contact. Russell has not received a disciplinary write-up in twenty-one years.
Hugo "Dahariki" Pinell # A88401
SHU D3-221, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95531-7500 Birthday:
Hugo Pinell is a Nicaraguan prisoner convicted in 1965, at the age of 19, of assault in connection with the kidnapping and rape of a young woman in San Francisco. He turned himself in, and received a sentence of 18 months in state prison.
While Pinell was imprisoned in San Quentin State Prison he made contact
with revolutionary prisoners such as George Jackson, one of the Soledad
Brothers and W.L. Nolen.
On August 21st, 1971, there was a prisoner uprising in Pinell's housing unit at San Quentin, led by George Jackson. At the end of the roughly 30 minute rebellion, guards had killed George Jackson, and two other prisoners and three guards were dead. Of the remaining prisoners in the unit, six of them,
including Pinell, were put on trial for murder and conspiracy. Pinell was convicted of assault on a guard. Although Pinell was convicted
of assault, and another of the San Quentin Six had a murder conviction,
only Pinell remains. By 1998, all of the men except Pinell had been set
free. In 2009 the California Parole Board held a parole hearing for Hugo Pinell (Yogi) on January 14 at which they denied him parole and scheduled him to return to the board in 15 years!
www.hugopinell.org 1972 The Angola 3
Wallace, King, Woodfox
Herman Wallace #76759
Elayn Hunt Correctional Center
Unit 5, D-Tier
PO Box 174
St Gabriel, LA 70776
Albert Woodfox #72148
CCR Upper B Cell #14, Louisiana State Pen, Angola LA 70712
c/o Kings Freelines
2008 New York Av. #B
Austin, Texas 78702
email: kingsfreelines AT gmail DOT com
Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace arrived to Angola on unrelated armed-robbery convictions, they were both sentenced on questionable evidence by all-white juries, and they both came to the prison having already earned reputations as political activists.
Woodfox and Wallace were escorted into an institution that Collier’s magazine had just dubbed “The Bloodiest Prison in America.” Inside its walls, violence was so commonplace that inmates slept with lunch trays or bibles strapped to their chests in case they were stabbed as they slept. Because of a serious shortage of guards, “trusty” inmates were permitted to carry guns and guard other prisoners. Murders were a near daily occurrence.
Woodfox and Wallace immediately began peacefully organizing their fellow inmates against racial segregation, sexual slavery, rampant violence and systematic brutality inside a prison that would soon be under federal investigation for its abhorrent conditions. Their methods included hunger strikes and escorting weaker inmates through the prison yard to offer them protection.
Shortly after their arrival, a white prison guard named Brent Miller was found stabbed to death in one of the black inmate buildings. Woodfox and Wallace were immediately identified as suspects, despite no witnesses or any physical evidence to link them to the crime. They were transferred into solitary confinement cells that same day. Thirty-five years later, that is where they remain.
Just after the US Supreme Court struck down the death penalty in 1972, citing racial disparity in its implementation, the men were convicted of the guard’s murder by all-white juries and sentenced to life in prison. The administration at Angola has determined that they will spend that sentence confined to the hell of solitude. Over three decades later, they are longest known survivors of solitary in the history of the United States.
Over the past 35 years, attorneys and investigators have turned up a mountain of evidence to indicate that not only were Woodfox and Wallace not guilty, but they were set up by an Administration that openly admitted it benefited from the sexual slavery rings. Woodfox and Wallace were working to stop prison rape, and they had also founded the first and only Black Panther chapter inside a penitentiary. The all-white staff, most of who actually lived on the prison grounds, did not appreciate this. Angola is the only prison in the country that has a residential neighborhood within the gates of the penitentiary.
Among the evidence that seems to exonerate Woodfox and Wallace are the bloody fingerprints which were found at the crime scene. They failed to match the state’s chosen suspects – so authorities never bothered to run them against anyone else, despite the fact that they had the prints of every inmate and every employee of Angola on file and readily available. After Woodfox and Wallace were already in solitary confinement, “eye-witnesses” started popping up. Each testified with a wildly different story – and it has recently been verified through prison documentation that each was handsomely rewarded for their statements, with cigarettes, cushy jobs and pardons. Every living eye-witness has now recanted their testimony and provided an affidavit that they felt pressured to lie.
Two days after Brent Miller’s murder, a friend of Woodfox’s and Wallace’s, Robert King Wilkerson, arrived at Angola, also bringing with him a reputation for activism. He was immediately placed under suspicion for the killing, even though he could not possibly have participated in it, and sent to his own solitary cell. A year later, he would be charged with the murder of a fellow inmate, despite no physical evidence and the repeated confessions of another prisoner who insisted he had acted alone. A Louisiana state court judge ordered that Wilkerson be shackled and his mouth covered with duct tape during his trial. He also was convicted of murder by an all-white jury and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Robert King Wilkerson’s conviction was overturned in 2001, after spending almost 30 years in solitary confinement, and he walked out of Angola to a throng of supporters who had gathered around the gates of the remote prison. He addressed them and said simply, “I may be free from Angola, but Angola will never be free from me.” It was his vow to work on behalf of the release of his friends. It is a vow that he has kept.
Woodfox and Wallace have a support network that includes the ACLU, a Dame of the British Empire, exonerated political prisoners, a few rock stars, Amnesty International, and support organizations in five U.S. cities and half a dozen foreign countries.
On November 7, 2006, after almost 35 years of solitary confinement, a Louisiana State Court Commissioner recommended to overturn Wallace’s 1972 conviction. He still has many legal hurdles before he can join his friend Robert King Wilkerson in freedom, but this is a remarkable victory and Wallace believes he has his “foot on the stairway to freedom.”
Albert Woodfox’s last state appeal was denied by the Louisiana Supreme Court ten days after Wallace’s hearing concluded. He now has the opportunity to present his case in federal court and Woodfox is optimistic that this is his best chance for a fair and impartial court ruling.
UPDATE: Late March 2008 the two were moved from solitary confinement into a special dormitory created for maximum security inmates. The men's lawyers, who have recently captured national attention with the Angola Three's story, said they were taken by surprise with the move.
Virgin Island 5
Hanif Shabazz Bey (Beaumont Gereau) #295933
Keen Mountain CC, P.O. Box 860, Oakwood, VA 24631
P.O. Box 759
Big Stone Gap, VA 24219
"Virgin Island Five" are a group of
activists accused of murdering eight
people in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The murders took place during a turbulent period of rebellion on the islands. During the 1970's, as with much of the world, a movement to resist colonial rule began to grow in the U.S. occupied Virgin Islands.
From 1971 to 1973, there was a small scale Mau Mau rebellion taking place on the islands. The media downplayed this activity, for fear that it would damage the tourist industry, which the island's survival depends on.
Then on September 6th, 1972, eight American tourists were gunned down at the Rockefeller-owned golf course on the island of St.Croix. Quickly the colonial authorities picked up over one hundred blacks for interrogations, and the U.S. colonial troops carried out a
series of repressive acts of violence against the black community. The F.B.I. and the United States Army troops led a 300-man invasion force into the islands and did house to house searches of the low income areas. The island was put under virtual martial law, and eventually five men, Ismail Ali, Warren (Aziz) Ballantine, Meral
(Malik) Smith, Raphael (Kwesi) Joseph, and Hanif Shabazz Bey were apprehended and then charged with the attack. All the men were known supporters of the Virgin Island independence movement.
The five were charged after being subjected to vicious torture, in order to extract confessions. They were beaten, hung from their feet and necks from trees, subject to
electric shocks with "cattle prods", had plastic bags tied over their heads and had water forced up their noses by the police. The judge (Warren Young) overlooking the case prior to being placed on the federal bench worked as Rockefeller's private attorney and even handled legal matters for the Fountain Valley Golf Course. Eventually, the five went to trial in what became known as the "Fountain Valley" murder trial. This was an obvious Kangaroo Court and a mockery of any sense of a fair trial.
• The court refused to excuse juror member Laura Torres, former wife of detective Jorge Torres, one of the arresting officers.
• Nine jurors testified that during the deliberations they were threatened with F.B.I. investigations on themselves and members of their families, and also threats of prosecution.
• The jury deliberated for nine days, and told the judge that they were "hopelessly deadlocked", yet he still refused to dismiss them and call a mistrial which worked to compel a guilty verdict.
On August 13, 1973, each of the five men convicted and sentenced to eight(8) consecutive life terms.
Today, Meral (Malik) Smith, and Hanif Shabazz Bey are currently confined in federal prisons. Warren (Aziz) Ballantine has been transferred to a prison facility
in the Virgin Islands. His address is unknown. Ismail Ali was liberated to Cuba via an airplane hijacking in 1984. Raphael (Kwesi) Joseph was granted a pardon by the Virgin Island governor in 1992. Six years later Kwesi was mysteriously found dead of a poison-laced drug overdose, after it was said that he was about to reveal evidence that would have
exonerated at least one or more defendant.
In 2006, the three remaining Virgin
Island political prisoners were notified by a team of attorneys from the islands that they were putting together a campaign for clemency. In January 2007, the Virgin Island prisoners received news that their clemency request was rejected. In recent writings, Hanif Bey has indicated that there are other Virgin Island political prisoners being held in Wallenridge. Little information has come out regarding these prisoners.
P.O. Box 3000
White Deer, PA 17887
Formerly a member of the Black Liberation Army. Acoli was convicted in May 2, 1973, along with the now-escaped Assata Shakur, of inciting a gun battle with New Jersey State Police during a routine traffic stop. In the battle, State Trooper Werner Foerster and a third man, Zayd Malik Shakur, who was traveling with Acoli and Assata, were killed. The trooper who made the stop, James Harper, and Assata were injured. Acoli was sentenced to life in prison plus thirty years for the assisted murder of State Trooper Foerster and Zayd Malik Shakur.
U.S. Penitentiary - Atlanta
P.O. Box 150160
Atlanta, GA 30315
Former member of the Black Panther Party, Veronza Bowers Jr., was convicted of the murder of a U.S. Park Ranger on the word of two government informers, both of whom received reduced sentences for other crimes by the Federal prosecutor's office. There were no eye-witnesses and no evidence independent of these informants to link him to the crime. At his trial, Veronza offered alibi testimony, which was not credited by the jury. Nor was testimony of two relatives of the informants who insisted that they were lying.
Despite letters of support from prominent attorneys, former high-ranking representatives of regional commissions, prison officials and a member of the U.S. Congress, Veronza has continually been denied release due to intervention by the U.S. Parole Commission. It is a sad fact that Vernonza may never see the sight of day despite having served his full sentence. Veronza's case deserves careful review.
In the 30-plus years of his confinement, Veronza has become a "model "prisoner. He is an author, musician, a student of Asian healing arts, has a strong interest in Buddhist meditation and "hands-on" healing techniques which he practiced at the various facilities in which he was incarcerated, and he is an honorary elder of the Lompoc Tribe of Five Feathers, a Native American spiritual and cultural group.
Seth is in prison due to his activity in the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army. He worked in the BPP’s free medical clinics and free breakfast programs.
In 1973, following a shootout with police, Seth was arrested and convicted of the murder of a New York City police officer, and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Seth has always maintained his innocence. Jailed for over 30 years, Seth has long since served the time he was sentenced to and while in prison he has worked as a librarian, pre release advisor, and AIDS councilor. Seth is repeatedly denied parole. His supporters suspect this is for having been a member of the Black Panther Party, and of having remained true to his ideals after 30 years behind bars.
Seth has been diagnosed with Hepatitis C and adult onset Diabetes since the year 2000. Unfortunately, despite his repeated requests Seth has not been receiving adequate health care from prison.
From Seth’s daughter:
Dear Friends of Robert Seth Hayes:
As you may know, this past winter, my father lost another parole hearing. He has now served twelve years above his twenty-five year sentence for a total of thirty-seven years. This is unacceptable. For this reason, we are making an urgent request for financial support in an effort to prepare for his next parole board hearing. We hope to raise somewhere near $2,500. If you decide to donate, you can write off your contribution next tax season.
To donate, please write IFCO/NYCJERICHO. They will collect the funds and send them to Cheryl Kates, his new parole attorney. If you need more information call Paulette at 718-853-0893 or cell 646-271-4677. All money should be mailed to Paulette at:
NYC JERICHO, P.O.Box 1272, NY, NY 10013
Make your check payable to IFCO/NYC Jericho and in the memo of your check be sure to include “Robert Seth Hayes.”
We really appreciate your help!
Louisiana State Penitentiary, ASH-4, Angola LA 70712
In 1975, Gary Tyler, an African-American teenager, was wrongly convicted by an all-white jury for the murder of Timothy Weber, a thirteen-year-old white youth. Weber had been killed the previous year during an attack by a racist white mob on a school bus filled with African-American high school students in Destrehan, Louisiana.
Tyler's trial was characterized by
coerced testimony, planted evidence, judicial misconduct, and an
incompetent defense. He was sentenced to death by electrocution at the age of seventeen. He has since had his sentence changed to life in prison.
Sekou Kambui (William Turk) #113058
Box 56, SCC (B1-21), Elmore, AL 36025-0056
Sekou Cinque T.M. Kambui (s/n William J. Turk is a New Afrikan political prisoner currently serving two consecutive life sentences. Sekou has already spent more than 29 years of his life behind bars on trumped up charges of murdering two white men in Alabama in 1975. He maintains his innocence.
Throughout the 1960s, Sekou participated in the Civil Rights movement, organizing youth for participating in demonstrations and marches across Alabama and providing security for meetings of the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC), Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
On January 2, 1975, Sekou was captured in North Birmingham for allegedly running a yield sign and/or speeding. During this stop, a 9mm pistol was found in the car lying between the front seats. Subsequent investigation by police on the scene discovered that the pistol was listed as stolen during a Tuscaloosa, AL murder. A wide-range investigation followed, At one point during the investigation, Sekou was told by one of the investigators, "We don't really give a damn whether you committed these crimes or not, but you should have because we are gonna hang your ass with them anyway…" Sekou was arrested and charged with the murders of two white men: a KKK official from Tuscaloosa and a multi-millionaire oilman from Birmingham.
Kojo Bomani Sababu (Grailing Brown) #39384-066
USP Coleman 1, P.O. Box 1033, Coleman, FL 33521
New Afrikan Prisoner Kojo Bomani
Sababu has been imprisoned since 1975 after the state attacked and destroyed his Black Liberation
Army unit. He received a sentence of multiple life terms because he fought for self-determination. His unit engaged in bank expropriation and liquidated dealers bringing drugs into the Black community. He was convicted of conspiracy to escape along with Jaime Delgado, (a veteran independence leader), Dora Garcia, (a prominent community activist) and Oscar Rivera (leader of Armed Forces of National Liberation.)
Statement from Kojo:
Although it seems as if all is lost and we are in a period of stagnation, we should place our energy in the areas which produce tangible results as opposed to frustration.
What efforts are they is the question! Those efforts are still an attempt at building recognition for those who have long endured incarceration, constructing a sound organizational program for them, and not allow their contributions to humanity to be forgotten.
Currently, many political prisoners of war and political prisoners, are growing old, infirm, and have become mantelpieces for the fireplace. Our organizations have grown old in thought also and need reinvigoration from different ideas and approaches. In order to grow fresh and anew we need to accept first that we are stale and tasteless, otherwise we would have developed into a unique program counter to what is presently offered by the oppressor nation. To emerge from the ashes is to find new solutions to our problems because what we utilized in the past has either been useless, or met the test of time.
In the past, we were quick-witted and refused to listen to alternatives in our techniques at handling affairs. This attitude and character must change because we are at a standstill in our development. To listen and be attentive is to be informed and thinking. We have to build a thinking person to disarm a enemy which uses many devices to control our movements. Adaptability is probably the order of the day for our survival as internationalists and nationalists. We should definitely forsake becoming the oppressor, but in this technological world we must learn to fight with his tools. His major weapon nowadays is consistent propaganda. Techniques used are fax machines, radio, television, town meetings, etc., to disseminate their ideas that our approaches are complete failures at life. We must use these same weapons at our disposal to reverse this trend, in building support for our programs and those who are incarcerated. They have stolen the appreciation for struggle from us. We must fight to regain the love and honor of revolution in the hearts and minds of the oppressed.
I've been rather long-winded, so I shall cut this commentary short. But I sincerely believe if we step up our propaganda efforts and accept new ideas we will be better off and stronger going into the next century.
Revolutionary Love To All.
Ojore Nuru Lutalo
PO Box 861, #901548, Trenton NJ 08625
Recently released from a Management Control Unit (MCU) after spending years in solitary confinement, New Afrikan anarchist prisoner of
War, Ojore, is still incarcerated in Trenton, New Jersey, for actions
carried out in the fight for liberation.
In 1977, Ojore received a 14-year sentence for “expropriating monies from a capitalist state bank (in order to finance political activities) and engaging the political police in a gun battle in December 1975 in order to effect our departure from the bank, and to ensure success of the military operation…” He is currently serving a 40-year sentence for a 1982 gunfight with a drug dealer. “The overall strategy of assaulting a drug dealer is to secure monies to finance one's activities, and to rid oppressed communities of drug dealers.”
Ojore was a comrade of the late Kuwasi Balagoon, a New Afrikan anarchist POW. “I’ve been involved in the struggle, the war against
the fascist state since 1970. I’ve been an anarchist since 1975 without any regrets… I was…influenced and highly motivated by the Black Liberation Army (BLA) here in Amerika…From the inception of all revolutions, I feel that the people need armed combat units to check state sponsored acts of terrorism by the government’s security forces.”
Ojore has long been a powerful voice urging progressive groups and individuals to materially support PP/POWs. "Any political movement that does not support its political