---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2002 12:35:50 -0800
From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Ex-Black Panther convicted of murder
News Source: http://www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/03/09/al.amin.verdict/index.html
Judge verdict Video:
Ex-Black Panther convicted of murder
March 9, 2002 Posted: 6:33 PM EST (2333 GMT)
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- An Atlanta jury found former Black Panther member
Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin guilty of murder Saturday in a March 2000 shooting
that killed one Fulton County sheriff's deputy and wounded another.
Wearing a white robe and cap, Al-Amin -- formerly known as H. Rap Brown
--showed no emotion as Superior Court Judge Stephanie Manis read the verdict.
Jurors found him guilty on all 13 counts he faced, including murder, felony
murder, aggravated assault on a police officer, obstructing a law
enforcement officer and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The jury returned the verdict about 5:30 p.m. after deliberating throughout
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Al-Amin and will begin
presenting evidence in the trial's penalty phase Monday.
Al-Amin ran a small grocery store in Atlanta until March 16, 2000. That
day, two Fulton County deputies attempted to serve a warrant for Al-Amin's
failure to appear in court on charges of receiving stolen property and
impersonating an officer.
The deputies exchanged gunfire with a man standing near a black
Mercedes-Benz, and a spokesman that day said the deputies might have
wounded the man who shot at them.
Deputy Ricky Kinchen died the day after being shot. The surviving officer,
Aldranon English, identified Al-Amin as the shooter in court.
Al-Amin's lawyers argued their client was innocent and that another man,
known only as "Mustafa," did the shooting.
They told jurors that Al-Amin's fingerprints were not found on the murder
weapon; he was not wounded in the shooting, as one of the deputies said the
shooter was; and that the government has been out to get him for several
Al-Amin was arrested in Lowndes County, Alabama, about 175 miles southwest
of Atlanta, four days after the shooting.
His arrest followed a manhunt that started with a blood trail at the scene.
After police entered a vacant house where they thought they had cornered
the shooter, they found more signs that the assailant may have been
wounded. But Al-Amin was unhurt when arrested.
Prosecutors noted in their closing arguments that Al-Amin's attorneys'
failed to provide an alibi for their client. They also reminded jurors that
ballistics had matched the bullets in the victim to the guns recovered from
where Al-Amin was arrested.
Police also found a rifle and handgun near his arrest location, and tests
indicated they were the weapons that wounded Kinchen, a local newspaper
reported. Ten days later, they also found a black Mercedes with bullet
holes in it.
Three months later, an Atlanta fugitive captured in Nevada confessed to
killing Kinchen. He later recanted that statement.
Converted to Islam in prison
Born Hubert Gerold Brown in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Al-Amin went by the
name H. Rap Brown during the 1960s and served as chairman of the Student
Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
In 1967, he was charged with inciting a riot in Cambridge, Maryland, where
he declared to hundreds of African-Americans: "It's time for Cambridge to
explode, baby. Black folks built America, and if America don't come around,
we're going to burn America down."
The next morning, a school and two city blocks burned.
He later joined the Black Panther Party, which sought to empower
African-Americans and confront and conquer social injustices. At one point
he was minister of justice for the Panthers and exhorted African-Americans
to arm themselves.
"I say violence is necessary," he once famously said. "It is as American as
The Black Panther Party collapsed in the late 1970s, brought down by
deaths, defections and infighting. Al-Amin converted to Islam while in
prison serving five years for his role in a robbery that ended in a
shootout with New York police.
Al-Amin later moved to Atlanta, opened a grocery in Atlanta's West End and
was the spiritual leader of a mosque in the neighborhood. Neighbors
credited Al-Amin, whom friends described as a humble and respectful man,
for working to clean up drugs and prostitution in the low-income West End.
Al-Amin and his followers argued the state's case was bogus and represented
the federal government's latest attempt to destroy the Muslim cleric. Ed
Brown, Al-Amin's brother, said the charges against Al-Amin were "part of a
pattern that has gone on for 35 years."
"It started with his civil rights efforts, and now it's Islam," Brown said.
"Anything that shines a light on the corruption of this government or does
not contribute to its process of corruption, they are opposed to."
The government has cooked up a case against his brother, destroying
evidence, Brown said.
"Both officers said they wounded the perpetrator. It was reported there was
a blood trail. They got a search warrant and mobilized the SWAT team based
on the blood trail," he said.
"But then when they arrested him and he wasn't wounded, they stopped
talking about it."
Al-Amin's dealings with authorities did not end when he converted to Islam,
records show. In 1995, he was accused of aggravated assault, but the victim
later recanted and said authorities pressured him to blame Al-Amin.
>From 1992 to 1997, the FBI staked out Al-Amin, suspecting him of
gun-running. The agency generated 44,000 documents, records indicate, but
failed to produce an arrest or indictment.
"What explanation do they have for watching him?" Ed Brown asked. "They
were so obsessed."
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MUSLIMS REACT TO IMAM JAMIL AL-AMIN VERDICT
Support group says facts did not warrant a guilty verdict
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/9/2002) - On Monday, March 11, the National Support
Committee for Imam Jamil Al-Amin* will hold a news conference in Atlanta,
Ga., to offer the American Muslim community's reaction to today's verdict
by an Atlanta jury that found Al-Amin guilty of killing one Fulton County
sheriff's deputy and wounding another. The news conference will take place
at 10 a.m. (EST) in front of Atlanta's Fulton County Courthouse, located at
the corner of Martin Luther King and Pryor streets.
In a statement issued today, the support committee said:
"We do not believe the facts presented in court warranted a guilty verdict
against Imam Jamil. His defense team offered credible evidence indicating
that he was not the person who shot the deputies. We believe Imam Jamil
will be exonerated on appeal.
"Because the death penalty has been disproportionately applied to minority
defendants in America, we oppose its use in this, or any other trial.
"The American Muslim community and its leadership will continue to support
the cause of justice in this case and will work to ensure that Imam Jamil
is able to exercise all the rights he is entitled to under the law."
* The National Support Committee for Imam Jamil: (in alphabetical order)
Al-Ummah (Imam Jamil Al-Amin), American Muslim Alliance, American Muslim
Foundation, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Circle of North
America, Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Alliance in North
America, Muslim American Society, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Students
Alliance for Imam Jamil, Women in Islam Justice Committee
- END -
CONTACT: Mahdi Bray, 202-421-3623
Ibrahim Hooper, 202-489-5108
Ihsan Bagby, 919-349-8602
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