The FBI has announced that Joanne Chesimard, best known as Assata Shakur, is the first woman on its list of living terrorists. In addition to the designation, the reward for the capture Shakur has been doubled to $2 million dollars.
In a press conference today (May 2), New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes asserted that, “She (Shakur) continues to flaunt her freedom in the face of this horrific crime.”
A member of the Black Liberation Army, Shakur nee Chesimard was convicted in 1977 of the 1973 murder of state trooper Werner Foerster during a routine traffic stop.
The New Jersey State Police maintain that it was Chesimard who shot the trooper twice in the head, killing him. According to the FBI, the Black Liberation Army was responsible for killing over a dozen police officers in the 1970s and 80s; hence the terrorist designation.
Assata Shakur escaped from a New Jersey prison in 1979 and has been living in Cuba since 1984 with political asylum.
According to Special Agent Aaron Ford, Assata Shakur maintains anti-U.S. views in speeches advocating “revolution and terrorism” and may have connections to other international terrorist organizations.
“She is a domestic terrorist who murdered a law enforcement officer execution style,” he said. “And while we can’t right the wrongs of the past, we can and will continue to pursue justice no matter how long it takes.”
Supporters of Assata Shakur maintain that she was an activist and a victim of an over-zealous justice and media system.
Assata Shakur maintains strong support from hip-hop artists and culture. The “Hands Off Assata” Campaign was organized by dream hampton. Common recorded, “A Song for Assata,” on his gold Like Water for Chocolate album. Digable Planets, Public Enemy, X-Clan, and Paris have all recorded songs about her.