During his speech in Miami on Friday, President Trump called on the regime in Cuba to extradite wanted terrorist Joanne Chesimard (who goes by the name Assata Shakur) to the United States.
"Return the fugitives from American justice. Including the return of the cop-killer, Joanne Chesimard," Trump demanded of the regime in Cuba.
Chesimard is a well-known, infamous figure in the law enforcement community. But many outside of that community, especially millennials, may not be so familiar with her case.
A convicted murderer, Chesimard was a prominent member of the ruthless Black Liberation Army (BLA), a splinter group comprised of the most radical members of the Black Panthers. Shakur was the leader of a notorious New York City BLA cell that hunted down police officers for brutal assassinations.
Chesimard has become a folk hero among the fringe Left. Because of her background in far-left activism, some in movements like Black Lives Matter see her as a hero, and not the terrorist cop-killer that she really is.
The Black Liberation Army, which rose to prominence in the 1970s, was known for its ruthless methods. In one incident showcasing their carnage, three BLA militants killed two NYPD officers in the East Village. But that wasn’t the worst part. The assailants stood over the officers and continued to shoot into their bodies repeatedly.
By 1973, Shakur was the subject of a multi-state manhunt. The FBI labeled her the “revolutionary mother hen” of the cell that had carried out the murders of NYPD officers. Later that year, Shakur bolted New York City with fellow BLA members.
On her escape down the New Jersey turnpike, she was pulled over by state troopers. At that time, her accomplice, Zayd Shakur, was killed in a gunfire battle. A police officer was also killed in the incident, with help from Chesimard, who again sped away in her vehicle
But ultimately, she was captured sitting on the side of the highway after being wounded in the gun battle.
In 1977, Chesimard was charged with murder and convicted of firing the shots that killed New Jersey state trooper Werner Foerster. She was also convicted of seven other felonies. She was sentenced to life in prison plus thirty years for her crimes.
She was later transferred to a lax security prison facility. The facility did not screen guests, so anyone was able to visit her. This allowed Chesimard to plot with members of the BLA to break her out. And on Nov. 2, 1979, three militants held a correctional officer hostage and proceeded to break Chesimard out of prison, with getaway cars waiting outside.
Two years later, she surfaced in Cuba. A wanted fugitive, Fidel Castro’s dictatorial regime provided Chesimard with asylum. Her path from prison to Cuba is largely unknown, and has baffled even the experts who traced every step of her case. Some speculate that she made her way to the Bahamas and was later picked up by a Cuban patrol boat. There are as many as 70 American fugitives living in Cuba under protection of the tyrannical Castro regime.
In 2013, the FBI placed Chesimard on its most wanted terrorists list, giving her the distinct honor of becoming the first woman to ever be placed on the FBI fugitive roster.
As former President Obama opened up diplomatic relations with Cuba, many had hoped that Chesimard would be on his list of priorities for extradition. This turned out not to be the case. Obama ignored the pleas of the law enforcement community and her victims families’ who sought to bring Chesimard to justice.
Many in the law enforcement community hoped that President Trump would act on behalf of their slain colleagues, and get to the bottom of Chesimard's case. Today, they are surely thankful that the president demanded the Cuban regime extradite her back to America to face justice.
Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for CR. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.
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