By Scotty T Reid In the streets of the capital of Alabama, towering at 15 feet, stand the sculptures of Anarcha, Betsey, and Lucy. Crafted…
Sundiata Acoli (born in 1939, as Clark Edward Squire), is a New Afrikan political prisoner of war, mathematician, and computer analyst. He was born January 14, 1937, in Decatur, Texas, and raised in Vernon, Texas. He graduated from Prairie View A & M College of Texas in 1956 with a B.S. in mathematics and for the next 13 years worked for various computer-oriented firms, mostly in the New York area. During the summer of 1964 he did voter registration work in Mississippi. In 1968, he joined the Harlem Black Panther Party and did community work around issues of schools, housing, jobs, childcare, drugs, and police brutality. He became a target of the FBI’s illegal COINTELPRO activities, which included working with law enforcement agencies across the United States to target, assassinate, frame and imprison leaders within the Black Liberation movement as well as the Civil Rights movement.
According to his official website http://www.sundiataacoli.org/
“In 1969 he and 13 others were arrested in the Panther 21 conspiracy case. He was held in jail without bail and on trial for two years before being acquitted, along with all other defendants, by a jury deliberating less than two hours. Upon release, FBI intimidation of potential employers shut off all employment possibilities in the computer profession and stepped-up COINTELPRO harassment, surveillance, and provocations soon drove him underground.
In May 1973, while driving the New Jersey Turnpike, he and his comrades were ambushed by N.J. state troopers. One companion, Zayd Shakur, was killed, another companion, Assata Shakur, was wounded and captured. One state trooper was killed and another wounded, and Sundiata was captured days later. After a highly sensationalized and prejudicial trial he was convicted of the death of the state trooper and was sentenced to Trenton State Prison (TSP) for life plus 30 years consecutive.”
Sundiata Acoli has constantly been denied parole, as parole boards are usually stacked with former cops, law enforcement officials and their supporters. However, after being denied parole in 2011, Sundiata filed an appeal in the courts, which on September 29, 2014 ruled in his favor.
According to an article published on the Huffington Post,
“The appellate judges wrote Monday that the parole board ignored a prison psychologist’s favorable report on Acoli and the fact that he had expressed remorse for the trooper’s death and had had no disciplinary incidents in prison since 1996. They also faulted the board for giving too much weight to Acoli’s past criminal record and an unspecified probation violation, which occurred several decades before the board’s decision.
“Make no mistake, we are completely appalled by Acoli’s senseless crimes, which left a member of the State Police dead and another injured, as well as one of Acoli’s associates dead and the other injured,” the judges wrote. “But Acoli has paid the penalty under the laws of this State for his crimes.“
As is the case with most law enforcement groups, cops feel they are above the law and that somehow they are special and believe anyone convicted of killing one of their gang members should be allowed to die in prison. Never mind the facts of any particular case, their involvement in COINTELPRO illegal activities which included the outright murder of a number of activists and Black leaders, cops hold grudges and want to use political prisoners like Acoli to send a message of intimidation to the public.
Despite the laws of New Jersey and that Acoli is remorseful for the loss of life that occurred that day over 40 years ago when New Jersey police sought to ambush him and his companions, the Office of the Attorney General for New Jersey who was likely just a child when this event took place if born at all, has announced that it will seek to fight the appellate courts decision to keep a 70 plus year old man in prison to die. As to expected as in the case when any political prisoner with a case that involves the death of a member of law enforcement, law enforcement groups will seek out their partners in media and mount a public smear campaign as they are already doing in Sundiata Acoli’s case upon the news of this favorable ruling by the courts.
To combat the negative propaganda campaign against Sundiata Acoli, the group “Media campaign for political prisoner Sundiata Acoli” was launched by the NC based non-profit organization Black Talk Media Project to mount a counter-propaganda campaign. We are asking that members of the group help in the creation and dissemination of pro-Sundiata Acoli memes, blogs, articles and podcasts on social media. We have alerts set up to notify us when any media is produced pertaining to Sundiata Acoli so that we can alert group participants so that they may flood the comment sections of these videos and articles that may or may not be favorable to Sundiata’s release from prison.
Suggested key points to bring up in comments:
- Sundiata Acoli was engaged in activities to uplift the communities he lived and worked in prior to becoming a target of the FBI’s illegal COINTELPRO actions.
- While he says that he blacked out after being wounded during the police ambush, he has expressed remorse for the loss of life that occurred that day.
- Parole boards in the United States are stacked with former law enforcement officials who never recuse themselves from cases involving police officers and/or parole board members are police sympathizers who are unable to set aside their biases and render justice on a case-by-case basis.
- Appellate court judges have determined that under the laws of the state of New Jersey, Sundiata Acoli has paid the penalty under state law for his crimes and to continue to deny him parole is to deny justice and uphold vengeance.
- Everyone deserves a second chance including Sundiata Acoli.