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Date: Tue, 05 Mar 2002 15:44:15 -0800
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: The New York Three: History & Case Background
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- February 21, 2002 -
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- Thursday, 21 February 2002 -
THE NEW YORK THREE
History and Case Background
On May 21, 1971, two New York City police officers were fatally shot. This
shooting occurred within the context of two major national trends: the
growth of black revolutionary groups such as the Black Panther Party for
Self-Defense and, later, its armed wing, the Black Liberation Army; and at
the same time, the FBI operation under Director J. Edgar Hoover, with the
cooperation of the Nixon administration, to destroy the leaders and
memberships of both mainstream civil rights and militant black
organizations. This counterintelligence operation, called COINTELPRO,
targeted black leaders by infiltrating the Black Liberation Movement,
framing members of the movements for crimes, and even murdering them, in
order to get them off the streets and out of contact with the community.
The shooting of these two police officers also came immediately after the
infamous trial of the "Panther 21," a case in New York against 21 members
of the BPP charged with planning "terrorist" acts. After nearly a two year
trial all 21 defendants were acquitted.
On May 26, 1971, only 5 days after the crime FBI Director Hoover was called
to the White House, and in a secret meeting with President Richard Nixon,
John Erlichman, the Domestic Advisor to the President, as well as members
of the Watergate plumbers. They discussed this case and established the FBI
would solve the crime under the code name NEWKILL, or New York killings. It
is believed that in this meeting, the FBI and White House conspired to
frame Black Panthers for the killings.
Furthermore, on May 19, 1971, only three days before the shooting, two
other NYPD officers were injured. Dhoruba bin Wahad (formerly Richard
Moore), was convicted in that case and served 19 years in prison for
attempted murder. At the time of his arrest, Dhoruba was a. ranking member
of the Black Panther Party and a target of COINTELPRO. Eventually, in 1990,
he was released due to a successful appeal based on information found in
COINTELPRO documents, which detailed how evidence was manufactured and
testimony perjured. Similar evidence has not been allowed as evidence in
the case of the New York 3.
Three months after the killings, on August 28, 1971, Jalil Abdul Muntaqim
(Anthony Bottom) and Albert Nuh Washington were arrested in San Francisco
during an armed confrontation with police. Their arrests came only one week
after the assassination of BPP Field Marshall, George Jackson. They were
later charged with the New York killings. Nearly two years later, Herman
Bell was arrested in New Orleans. Also arrested and charged in the case
were Gabriel and Francisco Torres although charges the two brothers were
acquitted due to lack of evidence.
The first trial, then against the New York 5 (including the Torres
brothers), ended in a mistrial. In that trial only one vote was cast to
convict Nuh Washington. The Torres brother were acquitted in the second
trial. But at the end of a second trial, in 1975, the New York Three-Nuh,
Jalil, and.Herman-were convicted of first degree murder, weapons
possession, and conspiracy.
The hung jury in the first trial was largely due to the jury's doubt that a
fingerprint near the scene of the crime belonged to Herman Bell. In order
to ensure that this piece of tampered evidence would uphold in the second
trial, the FBI was brought in to back up the findings of the NYPD. What
wasn't presented to the jury was that the FBI and the NYPD had different
stories as to whether the fingerprint matched Bell or not. The defense
argued that the print-had actually been lifted from Jalil's San Francisco
apartment by the FBI. This is only one example of how the NYPD and FBI
worked together to ensure a conviction in the second trial.
All three members of the New York Three were specifically named in
COINTELPRO documents as members of the black liberation movement who had to
be "neutralized," These documents, and the media smear campaign enacted by
the FBI and the White House, claimed that these community and human rights
activists were "terrorists". This domestic program of political repression
was revealed by a 1976 congressional committee, the Church Commission, to
have utilized extra-legal methods to neutralize social justice movements,
including surveillance, beatings, torture, harassment, instigating violent
feuds between rival individuals and organizations, coercion and
intimidation of witnesses, isolating and badjacketing influential leaders,
as well as outright murder. In fact, a major reason that many BPP and BLA
members were forced to go underground and arm themselves was the deadly
FBI-instigated split in the party between factions led by Eldridge Cleaver
and Huey P. Newton.
Despite the media perception that the BPP were "terrorists," the main
activities conducted by the New York Three and other members of the BPP
were running programs designed to serve the community, such as the Free
Breakfast program for children; health care programs, such as sickle-cell
anemia testing and lead poisoning prevention; legal and political
education; and anti-drug activities.
The BPP helped tenants fight slumlords and demanded traffic lights and
speed bumps on streets where it was unsafe for children to play. It is also
true that the BPP were an armed group. The decision to arm BPP members
stemmed from the need for a solution to the massive police violence that
plagued the communities where the BPP operated. At the time, in communities
like Oakland, CA, black youth were being blatantly murdered by police on a
regular basis. They patrolled the community, ensuring that the police
followed proper search and arrest procedures. They studied the law and
informed community members about their rights. The guns involved in the BPP
were only for Self Defense. It was for these acts that they were targeted,
not for illegal activity. Furthermore, the BPP and the BLA actively fought
drug dealers in the community. They viewed both the police and the drug
dealers as enemies of the community. They chose to address this problem "by
any means necessary."
Clearly, the NY3 and other political prisoners are imprisoned not because
of crimes they actually committed, but for their political activity and J.
Edgar Hoover's racist and personal war against members of the black
liberation and civil rights movement.
The New York Three continue to fight for their freedom and maintain their
innocence. Herman and Jalil are now two of the longest held political
prisoners in the US. Each member of the NY3 has served almost 30 years. On
April 28, 2000, Albert Nuh Washington passed away after a long, painful
battle with liver cancer. Jalil and Herman are currently serving their
Facts of the Case of the NY3
Below are the shocking facts of the case of the New York 3. This case is a
most egregious example of the failure and manipulation of the court system
and democracy in the US, a clear picture of the activities of J. Edgar
Hoover's FBI and subsequent results of their COINTELPRO operation to
"neutralize" and destroy the Black Panther Party.
* Evidence Used Against Herman Bell: Testimony of Ruben Scott, fingerprint
found on car near the crime scene
* Evidence Used Against Jalil Anthony Bottom: A gun in his possession at
the time of his arrest, testimony of two women who knew the NY3,
identification by uncertain eyewitness to the crime
* Evidence Used Against Albert Nuh Washington: association with the Black
Panther Party and his two co-defendants
These facts dispute the case of the prosecution and the above listed
Fact: The prosecution concealed an FBI ballistics report indicating that
the gun found in Jalil's possession at the time of his arrest, which was
introduced against him as the murder weapon, was not the gun used in the
killings. The FBI lab found that bullets from a test firing of the gun
taken from Jalil did not match the bullets the police had recovered from
the crime scene and the victims' bodies. It has been learned that the NYPD
ballistics expert committed perjury with the prosecution's knowledge and
that the prosecutor withheld the FBI ballistics report from the defense.
Essentially, Jalil is in prison on false evidence of having used a weapon
that the FBI itself proved was not the murder weapon.
Fact: Apart from Jalil's alleged possession of the murder weapon, the
prosecution's case rested mainly on dubious identification by eyewitnesses.
At a pretrial lineup, one such witness had "thought" Jalil "might be" one
of the killers, while four others said he "definitely was not."
Fact: Herman's friend and co-worker, Ruben Scott, was beaten unconscious by
New Orleans police. Scott was tortured with an electric cattleprod and
needles to his testicles while being interrogated by NYPD detectives who
later promised he would not have to serve any time on a pending murder
charge if he testified against the NY3.
* Scott proceeded to fabricate a series of conversations and events that
seriously incriminated Herman.
* At his first opportunity for what he thought was a private conversation
with an impartial official, Scott confided to the trial judge, Edward
Greenfield, that his statements to the police were lies designed to placate
them and stop the torture.
* Instead of taking steps to protect Scott, the judge returned him to
police custody and immediately notified only the prosecution of this
conversation, and that Scott was wavering in his testimony.
* Judge Greenfield withheld this information from the defense for 5 1/2
crucial weeks. Meanwhile, the NYPD detectives who had been present during
Scott's torture in New Orleans had the opportunity to persuade him to
testify as planned.
* Since the trial, Scott has sworn that what he told the judge was true,
and that he lied on the witness stand because he feared for his life.
Fact: Two women who were friends of the NY3 were jailed for nearly a year
and a half and separated from their young children. They were repeatedly
threatened by the prosecution and told that they would lose custody of
their children if they refused to say what the prosecution wanted them to
say in court. These women were eventually given monetary rewards for their
testimony and had other criminal charges against them dismissed. When one
of them was asked while testifying whether a deal was made for her
testimony, she said no and the prosecution failed to correct her perjury.
Fact: The FBI and police were unable to explain a series of irregularities
which cast doubt on their claim that Herman's fingerprints were on a car
parked near the scene of the crime. In the process, two police witnesses
insisted that another print from the same car could not be identified. Late
in the trial, however, the defense learned that the prosecutor bad, with
the trial judge's permission, secretly altered the evidence to hide the
fact that he and the police knew all long that this print belonged to a
potential suspect whose existence was being concealed from the defense. The
judge barred NY3 lawyers from informing the jury about the suspect or the
perjury and cover-up.
Fact: There is no evidence linking Nuh (now deceased) to these crimes other
than his political beliefs and associations. The trial judge hid the
inadequacy of the prosecution's case against Nuh through his instructions
to the jury, charging that all the evidence applied equally to the
Fact: Albert Nuh Washington was allowed to refuse legal council, even
though Judge Greenfield never ordered the required procedure to ensure
Nuh's competence to represent himself. If Nuh had been ensured proper legal
council, his case probably would have been dismissed due to lack of
Fact: The trial judge, immediately prior to charging the jury, prodded the
prosecution into asking for a charge on conspiracy saying "Don't you mean
that you want a conspiracy charge too?" At which time the prosecution said,
"Oh yeah, I want to charge conspiracy too." Even though the NY3 were not
indicted with conspiracy, the trial judge charged the jury, utilizing a
conspiracy charge, as if the NY3 had been indicted on that charge, despite
the fact that there was no evidence presented to support a conspiracy
charge. Fact: The trial judge barred defense attorneys from asking the FBI
and police witnesses about their agencies' policy of lying to discredit
Black militants and get them convicted on false charges. He improperly
limited other cross-examinations, ruled out testimony about violent splits
in the Black Panther Party (which could have explained why the defendants
had been armed), and denied the defense access to records of payments that
the prosecution bad made to witnesses.
Fact: When a juror reported receiving threatening phone calls, the trial
judge refused to declare a mistrial or even ask if other jurors had similar
experiences. Nothing was left to chance; the juror was left with the
erroneous impression that friends of the NY3 made the threatening call, and
voted to convict. Fact: On May 26, 1971,5 days after the crime, then FBI
Director, J. Edgar Hoover, was called to the White House, and in a secret
meeting with President Richard Nixon, accompanied by John Erlichman, the
Domestic Advisor to the President and members of the Watergate plumbers
covert operatives. They discussed this case and established the FBI would
solve the crime under the code name NEWKILL. Tape recordings of this
meeting are being withheld from the defense by the National Archives of the
Fact: The FBI discovered that a drug dealer had admitted to having the cops
killed, stating that the intended targets were NYC Housing Authority cops
who were dealing drugs. This information was withheld from the defense by
the prosecution and the FBI to ensure the defense would not learn of
Fact: The FBI learned that the bullets used in the shooting were reloads
made by Stephen Tilden, who resided in the Bronx. This information was in
the possession of the prosecution and withheld from the defense.
Fact: The NYPD arrested a prostitute who claimed she knew who committed
this crime; this witness was never brought to the attention of the defense.
Fact: Ruben Scott's post-trial admission-that he had lied for fear of his
life after being tortured by law enforcement officials-should have been
sufficient basis for a new trial. But the trial judge tried to suppress the
entire matter (including allegations by Scott that pointed to the judge's
own misconduct in suppressing Scott's appeal to the judge) by taking no
action on a motion for retrial for 14 months. Judge Greenfield refused to
take any testimony or even hold a hearing, and finally denied the motion in
an opinion which simply repeated the prosecution's distortions of fact and
misstatements of law. The appellate court affirmed without any hearing or
Fact: In 1983, the NY3 again submitted a petition to the trial judge to
obtain a new trial based upon exculpatory FBI documentation that had been
discovered via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This information had
been in the possession of the prosecutor during the trial and had been
withheld from the defense. By 1984, the trial judge failed to respond to
the motion before him, and in December a motion to disqualify him from
continuing to preside was filed because of evidence of the judge's own
personal misconduct in the case, which makes him an interested party and
likely witness. By October 1985, the trial judge denied both the motion for
a new trial and the motion to disqualify himself. Four months later, the
appellate court reaffirmed the lower court's decision without a hearing.
Fact: Four months after the 1983 petition for a new trial was filed with
the court, all ballistics evidence from the case was removed from the
evidence locker and destroyed, preventing the weapon from being retested.
Fact: All convictions were upheld on appeal without any written opinion or
other explanation from the court. Such a procedure is virtually
unprecedented in a case like this, which involves a severe sentence and
substantial legal issues. When the NY3 sought review by the state's highest
court, they were told that they had raised significant issues which merit
serious consideration. But they were later informed, again without any
written opinion or other explanation, that their case would not be heard.
Fact: In 1992, the NY3 bad an evidentiary hearing in the Federal District
Court, reviewing the issue of perjured testimony by NYPD ballistics expert
and prosecutorial misconduct in withholding exculpatory materials
pertaining to the extent of FBI/White House involvement in the case under
NEWKILL. The decision of the federal district court judge was that NYPD did
in fact commit perjury, but that the perjury was "harmless error."
Fact: The Court of Appeals-2nd Circuit and US Supreme Court refused to hear
the appeal of the district court ruling.
Fact: Three stories have been published in three different books, 'Target
Blue" by Robert Daly, "Chief' by Albert Seedman, and "Badge of the
Assassins" by Robert Tannenbaum. None tells the truth.
Fact: Badge of the Assassin was also made into a movie and was run as
recently as February 2001 on BET. It has even been run in Brazil. This
movie was undoubtedly part of the FBI's media campaign to criminalize
political prisoners. In response to this factually inaccurate film. Paper
Tiger Television produced a documentary, CBS v. the New York 3 in 1988.
Fact: Assistant District Attorney Robert Tannenbaum has significantly
profited from his conviction of the New York 3. Aside from his book and
movie, he was rewarded with a highly desired appointment to the 1976
congressional inquiry into John F. Kennedy's assassination. Later
Tannenbaum moved to California where he practiced private law and
eventually became the Mayor of Beverly Hills.
Anthony Jalil Bottom and Herman Bell have no more legal appeals. Their only
outlets for freedom are clemency or parole.
Jalil Abdul Muntaqim (formerly Anthony Bottom)
Jalil was 19 years old when he was arrested. He is a former member of the
Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army. For the last 30 years,
Jalil has been a political prisoner, and one of the New York Three (NY3),
in retaliation for his activism in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Jalil was born October 18, 1951, in Oakland, CA. His early years were spent
in San Francisco. Jalil attended high school in San Jose, CA, where he
earned a scholarship to an advanced high school math and science program.
He also received a summer scholarship for a San Jose State College math and
engineering course. Jalil participated in NAACP youth organizing during the
civil rights movement. In high school, he became a leading member of the
Black Student Union, often touring in "speak-outs" with the BSU Chairman of
San Jose State and City College.
After the assassination of Dr. King, Jalil began to believe a more militant
response to racism and injustice was necessary. He began to look towards
the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense for leadership. After moving back
to San Francisco from San Jose, he was recruited into the BPP by old
elementary school friends who had since become Panthers.
Two months shy of his 20th birthday, Jalil was captured along with Albert
"Nuh" Washington in a midnight shoot-out with San Francisco police. When
Jalil was arrested, he was a high school graduate and employed as a social
While in San Quentin prison in California in 1976 before being moved to New
York, Jalil launched the National Prisoners Campaign to Petition the United
Nations to recognize the existence of political prisoners in the United
States. Progressives nationwide joined this effort, and the petition was
submitted in Geneva, Switzerland. This led to Lennox Hinds and the National
Conference of Black Lawyers having the UN International Commission of
Jurists tour U.S. prisons and speak with specific political prisoners. The
International Commission of Jurists then reported that political prisoners
did in fact exist in the United States.
Jalil put out the call for the Jericho March on Washington in Spring 1998,
which was answered by over 6,000 supporters demanding recognition of and
amnesty for U.S. political prisoners. The Jericho Amnesty Movement (JAM)
aims to gain the recognition by the U.S. government and the United Nations
that political prisoners exist in this country, and that on the basis of
international law, they should be granted amnesty because of the political
nature of their cases.
Since in New York prisons, Jalil wrote and submitted a legislative bill for
prisoners with life sentences to receive good time off their minimum
sentences. This bill was introduced to the NYS Assembly Committee on
Corrections. Jalil has filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of prisoners.
Jalil has received awards of appreciation from Jaycee's, NAACP, and Project
Build for his active participation and leadership. After many years of
being denied the opportunity to attend college, Jalil graduated from
SUNY-New Paltz with a BS in Psychology and a BA in Sociology in 1994. He
would like to pursue his Masters degree, but has not been allowed by DOCS.
During his imprisonment, Jalil has become a father and a grandfather. He
states, "I came to prison an expectant father and will leave prison a
grandfather." He will appear before the New York State Parole Board in
Jalil has worked as an educator of other inmates and practices organizing
and advocacy whenever possible to ensure the most adequate, humane
treatment for all people. He has been repeatedly punished for these
activities, through physical abuse, formal discipline, and numerous prison
transfers. Jalil is presently working to develop a National Prisoners
Afrikan Studies Project (NPASP), a new non-profit organization dedicated to
Write a Letter for Jalil!
Jalil will be going before the parole board in July 2002, and the Center
for Community Alternatives (CCA) is currently working with Jalil to develop
a Parole Release Plan to be submitted to the New York State Board of Parole
within the next few months.
One way you can help is to write a letter explaining why Jalil should be
released, and sending it to the Center for Community Alternatives, so that
it could be included in his parole packet.
To be most effective we suggest that your letter address some, not
necessarily all, the following issues:
1. If you do know Jalil, explain in what capacity, and for how long
2. Point out some of the qualities, and describe some of the qualities that
Jalil has demonstrated that the parole board would appreciate:
2. Devoted family member
3. Teaching and mentoring others
5. Conflict resolution
6. Helpful to others
7. Participation in positive activities and programs
8. Explain in your view there is a reasonable probability that, if
released, he will live and remain at liberty withoutviolating the law
9. Explain why his release is compatible with the welfare of society
10. Explain why his release will not deprecate the seriousness of the crime
for which he was convicted as to undermine resepect for the law
All letters should be addressed as follows:
"To Whom It May Concern" OR "Dear Parole Commissioners"
Your letters should be mailed to:
Royce L. Hawkins, JD
Center for Community Alternatives
115 East Jefferson Street, Suite 300
Syracuse, NY 13202
Your letters should be sent to Royce as soon as possible to allow him time
to review them all with Jalil, and put them together in the parole plan.
Thank you for your help and cooperation. If you have any questions or
suggestions, please contact Royce Hawkins at (315) 422-5638, ext. 220.
Jalil and Herman can be contacted at:
A. Jalil Bottom 77A4283, Auburn Correctional Facility, PO Box 618, 135
State Street, Auburn, NY 13024
Herman Bell 79C0262, Clinton Correctional Facility, PO Box 2001, Dannemora,
Hardcopies of this document can be ordered from:
Solidarity, 2035 Boul. St-Laurent, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H2X 2T3
This document can be downloaded from:
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