[sixties-l] 1960s radical goes on trial for murde (fwd)

From: sixties@lists.village.virginia.edu
Date: Sat Jan 12 2002 - 18:30:56 EST

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    Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 14:27:27 -0800
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: 1960s radical goes on trial for murde

    1960s radical goes on trial for murder


    ATLANTA (AP) ^ The Muslim cleric and former Black Panther once known as H.
    Rap Brown considers his upcoming murder trial the culmination of a
    decades-long government conspiracy to silence him.

    Prosecutors say their case against Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin is much more
    simple. To them, he's a cop killer and they say they have the evidence to
    prove it.

    Jury selection was to begin Tuesday amid heavy security and scrutiny from
    followers of the Atlanta mosque Al-Amin leads and police officers seeking
    justice for the killing of one of their own. If convicted, Al-Amin could
    face the death penalty.

    Fulton County Deputy Sheriff Aldranon English is expected to testify that
    Al-Amin fired at him and his partner, Deputy Ricky Kinchen, when they tried
    to serve him with a warrant on minor charges in Atlanta on March 16, 2000.

    Kinchen died the next day. English was wounded but recovered.

    Al-Amin -- who was captured four days later after a gun battle with
    authorities near Montgomery, Ala. -- says it's a case of mistaken identity.

    "I am falsely accused of shooting and injuring a deputy sheriff and denying
    another of his life," the 58-year-old imam said in a letter to his
    followers Dec. 14.

    He also said the murder charge is the latest episode in a government
    conspiracy that has dogged him since his days as a high-profile Black Panther.

    "The FBI has a file on me containing 44,000 documents, but prior to this
    incident, their investigation has produced no fruits, no indictments, no
    arrests," he said in a jailhouse interview with The New York Times,
    published Sunday. "At some point, they had to make something happen to
    justify all the investigations and all the money they've spent."

    According to police records, Atlanta authorities and the FBI kept a close
    watch on Al-Amin during much of the 1990s, investigating him for possible
    connections to domestic terrorism, gun running and more than a dozen

    He wasn't charged in any of the investigations. At the time of the
    shooting, he was being sought for failing to appear in court on charges
    that he was driving a stolen car and flashed a police badge when stopped by
    officers in 1999. Kinchen and English were trying to serve that warrant
    when they were shot.

    Defense attorneys are expected to focus on inconsistencies in English's
    statements, including his claim that both deputies shot their attacker.
    Al-Amin was unharmed when he was arrested, and body armor he was wearing
    showed no signs of dents.

    In recent years, Al-Amin was known more for his religious beliefs and
    efforts to improve Atlanta's West End than his past.

    He converted to Islam while serving a five-year prison sentence for his
    part in a robbery and a shootout with police in New York, and became leader
    of one of the nation's largest black Muslim groups, the National Ummah. The
    movement, which has formed 36 mosques around the nation, is credited with
    revitalizing poverty-stricken pockets such as West End.

    Some of the nation's largest Muslim groups are supporting Al-Amin, and
    potential jurors will be asked their opinions of Muslims. The trial was
    postponed once because Judge Stephanie B. Manis said anti-Muslim sentiment
    after the Sept. 11 attacks would make it difficult to seat a jury.

    About 1,500 potential jurors have been summoned. Court officials say it
    could take as long as a month to seat a panel.

    On Monday, Manis ruled that Al-Amin violated a gag order by writing letters
    from jail proclaiming his innocence and doing the telephone interview with
    the Times.

    Manis called it a deliberate attempt by Al-Amin to taint the jury pool and
    stripped of him of jail phone privileges. She also limited his approved
    visitors to his attorneys and an investigator.

    One of his attorneys, Jack Martin, argued that Al-Amin hadn't discussed the
    facts of the case but had just declared his innocence, "what any American
    ought to be able to do when they're charged with a crime."

    But Manis said Al-Amin had violated her order, which she handed down in May
    after his own attorneys asked for it.

    "The defendant has the right to proclaim his innocence in the courtroom,
    not in the newspaper," Manis said.

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