Friday, 3 May 2013

Tupac Shakur's aunt becomes the first woman on the FBI's most wanted terrorist list

The first woman ever placed on the FBI’s list of top 10 most wanted terrorists is a convicted New Jersey cop killer who shot a state trooper execution-style in the head.

Joanne Chesimard, AKA Assata Shakur, happens to also be the godmother and aunt of the late rapper Tupac Shakur. She was an outspoken member of the radical Black Liberation Army when she shot and killed New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster.

The FBI announced Chesimard's addition to the list today, recognizing the 40th anniversary of Foerster's slaying.
‘She is absolutely a threat to America,’ said Special Agent Aaron T. Ford from the FBI, at a press conference held for the announcement in Newark, New Jersey Thursday.

Prior to this announcements, the reward for Shakur’s capture was already a shocking $1 million. However, officials announced the bounty has now been increased to $2 million on the anniversary of Chesimard’s crimes.


While driving down the New Jersey Turnpike in 1973, an hour south of New York City, Chesimard and two men—James Coston and Clark Squire—were pulled over by state troopers James Harper and Werner Foerster.

The 26-year-old Chesimard was already known to the FBI for her membership in the Black Panther movement.
She was also wanted for several felonies, including bank robber counts in New York.
From the passenger seat, Chesimard fired first with a semi-automatic pistol.

Passenger James Coston fired as well and was shot and killed by Officer Harper. 

The shootout continued until Chesimard, having shot and killed Werner Foerster execution-style in the head, fled the scene with Squire.
Both were apprehended by police shortly thereafter. 

Exile: Chesimard has been living in Cuba, where she was granted political asylum, since the 1980s under the name Assata ShakurWanted: Seen here in an FBI handout photo, Joanne Chesimard AKA Assata Shakur became the first woman on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list May 2

Chesimard denied having shot anyone and pointed to her radical affiliations as the basis for her being singled out.

Nonetheless, four years after the Jersey Turnpike shootout, Chesimard was convicted of first-degree murder, assault and battery of a police officer, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to kill, illegal possession of a weapon, and armed robbery.

Chesimard was handed life behind bars. She began her sentence at a maximum security prison in West Virginia, but was transferred to a minimum security prison in New Jersey.
That’s where, in 1979, Chesimard escaped.

With the help of three people who were visiting her, security guards were held at gunpoint and forced to open prison gates. The group escaped in a prison vehicle and took Chesimard to a safe house in New Jersey, where she managed to stay hidden for years.
Chesimard’s next whereabouts were in Cuba, where she was granted political asylum in 1984. 

She has lived there ever since, under the name Assata Shakur. Chesimard's brother was the stepfather of late American rapper Tupac Shakur. She had also reportedly served as the rapper's godmother. 


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