Ebony magazine tweeted birthday greetings to cop killer Assata Shakur, the 69-year-old member of the radical Black Liberation Army, convicted of killing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster May 2, 1973, who was backing up Trooper James Harper, during what was a traffic stop.
“Happy Birthday, Ida B. Wells and Assata Shakur. The world still feels your impact,” read the whole tweet. Wells was a Reconstruction-era anti-lynching crusader.
Happy Birthday, Ida B. Wells and Assata Shakur. The world still feels your impact. pic.twitter.com/7mda7Je3og
— EBONY MAGAZINE (@EBONYMag) July 17, 2016
After @feminstajones replied to the tweet: “That Ida B. Wells and Assata Shakur have the same birthday was not lost on me. #loudblackgirls”
Ebony replied: “Powerful day!” with a clenched black fist.
Less than 12 hours after the tweet, which was still live upon publication, a masked gunman shot six Baton Rouge police officers, killing three.
Shakur, born JoAnne Deborah Byron, and her two accomplices jumped the troopers, struggled with them and managed to pry away Foerster’s weapon, leading to an exchange that left the three-year veteran of the force dead and Harper severely wounded.
Shakur was convicted in 1977, but in 1979, she escaped her Clinton, N.J., prison and after being on the lam, was welcomed into Cuba in 1984. Before joining the BLA, Shakur was a member of the Black Panthers.
Ebony magazine, a publication with an overwhelmingly African-American readership, was founded in 1945 and one month ago, it was sold by estate of founder John H. Johnson to Clear View Group, an Austin, Texas-based private-equity firm that also owns Jet magazine.
Ebony senior editor Jamilah Lemieux told CNN July 13 in an interview about the five Dallas police officers killed by a sniper that she was uncomfortable describing the murder of white police officers as a hate crime.
Upon the 40th anniversary of the deadly New Jersey shootout, the FBI placed Shakur on the Most Wanted Terrorist List and raised the reward for her capture to $1 million, an amount matched by the New Jersey State Police, using the name: JoAnne Deborah Chesimard.
“Chesimard is a domestic terrorist who murdered a law enforcement officer execution-style,” said Aaron Ford, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark Division. “Today, on the anniversary of Trooper Werner Foerster’s death, we want the public to know that we will not rest until this fugitive is brought to justice.”
Mike Rinaldi, a lieutenant in the New Jersey State Police and member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Newark, said that day in 2013: “This case is just as important today as it was when it happened 40 years ago. Bringing Joanne Chesimard back here to face justice is still a top priority.”
Rinaldi said Chesimard’s 1979 escape from prison was well planned. “Armed domestic terrorists gained entry into the facility, neutralized the guards, broke her free, and turned her over to a nearby getaway team.”
Although Chesimard has been granted asylum in Cuba, he said “This is an active investigation and will continue as such until Chesimard is apprehended.”
When President Barack Obama renewed diplomatic relations with Cuba, the White House said the administration was discussing with the Cuba government all of the 70 fugitives from American justice living there. But, a more realistic appraisal of Obama’s feelings for Shakur can be gleaned from when in 2013, the White House used this quote from Shakur in a blog post about Americans with Disabilities: “It is our duty to fight, it is our duty to win. We must love each other and protect each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”