Jan. 25, 2001
Workers World newspaper
JAMIL ABDULLAH AL-AMIN:
FORMER PANTHER STILL GOVERNMENT TARGET
By S. Tomlinson
Defense attorneys for Black activist Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin,
formerly known as H. Rap Brown, will argue 83 motions at a
Jan. 19 hearing in Atlanta. His supporters plan to fill the
courtroom and stage a rally outside the courthouse.
Al-Amin is charged in the March 16, 2000, shooting death of
a Fulton County sheriff's deputy and the wounding of
another. He has spent nearly a year in jail but has still
not been arraigned.
Many of the motions to be argued Jan. 19 involve violations
of Al-Amin's civil rights and the rules of evidentiary
Authorities have not turned over evidence requested by the
defense. Defense attorneys have asked for copies of the 911
recordings from the night of the shooting.
It was reported in the first hours and days after the
shooting that several 911 calls had been made that night
reporting a man "bleeding" and "begging for a ride" near the
scene of the shooting.
The only identified eyewitness is the second deputy who was
wounded in the incident. The deputy said that he wounded the
assailant in the shootout.
Investigators who were first on the scene that night found a
trail of fresh blood. However, after Al-Amin's arrest, it
became apparent that he had not been wounded. Authorities
now claim that the blood trail is "irrelevant."
Defense attorneys are also seeking to disallow the
identification of Al-Amin made by the wounded deputy sheriff
while he was on pain medication between surgeries. He was
shown only one photo-- Al-Amin's--and asked, "Is this the
The deputy's initial description of his assailant, given
over the radio to police dispatchers, was of a man at least
six inches shorter than Al-Amin.
The deputy described the shooter as having gray eyes. Al-
Amin's eyes are brown.
In addition, copies of the full ballistics reports have not
been given to the defense. Instead, defense lawyers were
sent a copy of the summary in which the authorities
concluded that bullets test-fired from two weapons allegedly
found near where Al-Amin was taken into custody are
"similar" to bullets found at the shooting scene.
Al-Amin's attorneys also seek to lift the gag order that has
been imposed on him. The gag order not only forces Al-Amin
to be silent on his case; it also restrains him from
publicly commenting on any issue.
In addition, Al-Amin is not allowed to provide spiritual
guidance or participate in group religious activities at the
The case against Al-Amin is tangled with unanswered
questions, police misconduct and outright lies. Yet shortly
after his arrest, the Fulton County, Ga., district attorney
announced that he would seek the death penalty against Al-
Is the case against Al-Amin another chapter in the
government's long history of attempting to annihilate
revolutionary Black leaders?
In the 1960s Al-Amin, then known as H. Rap Brown, was head
of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He emerged
as a leader in the fight against racism.
In July 1967, after a speech in Cambridge, Md., Brown was
ambushed and shot by assailants he later learned were Black
After the shooting, the crowd began to rebel. Brown was
charged with inciting to riot.
In 1968 he joined the Black Panther Party, where he served
briefly as minister of justice.
The FBI used every weapon to disrupt and repress the Black
Panthers as part of its now-well-documented "counter-
As part of the government's war against the Black liberation
movement, Brown was eventually arrested and sent to prison.
He served five years. He converted to Islam and changed his
name to Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin.
Released on parole in 1976, Al-Amin settled in Atlanta and
began organizing a Muslim community movement.
'THE STRUGGLE GOES ON'
Did the government forget Al-Amin? Or does it still consider
him a threat?
In 1992 the FBI and Atlanta police began investigating Al-
Amin in connection with everything from domestic terrorism
to gunrunning to murder.
In 1995 Al-Amin was charged with shooting a man in his
neighborhood. After the victim revealed that he was coerced
into naming Al-Amin as the shooter, all charges were
The FBI claimed its investigation ended in February 1996.
Atlanta police say their investigation ended in August 1997.
No charges were ever filed against Al-Amin.
If the government thinks that repression against Al-Amin now
will help suppress the new rising political movement, it
would do well to heed his words: "Many times, people
mistakenly identify movement as struggle. Movement is only a
phase of struggle ... the struggle goes on."
Donations to support his defense can be sent to:
International Committee to Support Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-
Amin Justice Fund, P.O. Box 93963, Atlanta, GA 30377.
Supporters can write to him at: Imam Jamil A. Al-Amin,
#0013284-ST-06-06, Fulton County Jail, 901 Rice Street,
Atlanta, GA 30318.
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