On May 2, 1973 , New Jersey state troopers shot Assata Shakur and murdered Zayd Malik Shakur on the New Jersey Turnpike. Sundiata Acoli escaped the scene, only to be captured two days later.
The troopers stopped the car for an alleged broken taillight, as mandated by the Joint Terrorist Task in the illegal, racist and relentless pursuit by the COINTELPRO program to capture Assata.
Assata was convicted on a bogus murder charge in 1977 and sentenced to life in prison. She escaped in 1979 with the assistance of Black Liberation Army members and she has lived in exile ever since.
Still incarcerated, Sundiata Acoli is now 85 years old with early-stage dementia, having served more than double his sentence and being denied parole eight times without a single disciplinary action in 42 years.
Zayd, the Minister of Information for the New York chapter of the Black Panther Party, helped draft the “Patient Bill of Rights” as part of the Lincoln Hospital takeover in 1970. He sought free, quality, preventative healthcare for all, as well as fighting the heroin epidemic so prevalent in the South Bronx and Harlem.
Assata in her autobiography: “Throughout amerika’s history, people have been imprisoned because of their political beliefs and charged with criminal acts in order to justify that imprisonment. Those who have dared to speak out against the injustices in this country, both Black and white, have paid dearly for their courage, sometimes with their lives.”
On the anniversary of the NJ Turnpike shootout, in 2005 the FBI and New Jersey Troopers announced a $1 million bounty for Assata’s capture. They continue to demonize her to this day, labeling her as a terrorist, placing her on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, and raising the bounty to $2 million, upholding the genocide of Black people.