*Assata Shakur’s fugitive status and current residence in Cuba is not sitting well with the State Troopers Fraternal Organization of New Jersey as officials voiced a desire to stop flights to the country until Shakur is returned home.
Vibe notes a troubled history Shakur has with the state, which stems from her being arrested during a traffic stop at a New Jersey Turnpike in 1973. Shakur, who was a member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Party, ended up in a shoot out that left her wounded and the vehicle’s driver, Zayd Shakur, dead. In addition to Zayd Shakur, a state trooper at the scene was also left dead from the shooting.
Ultimately, Assata Shakur was blamed for the shooting and was convicted of first-degree murder in 1977. In 1979, Assata fled to Cuba was granted asylum by Fidel Castro soon after arriving in the country.
In a letter written on Feb. 17, the organization’s president, Christopher Burgos, relayed the opposition to any effort to fly to and from Cuba as he blasted the country for harboring Shakur.
“We strongly oppose any request or approval of United Airlines or any other airline a permit to NJ Port Authority airports to fly back and forth to a country such as Cuba, that has openly slapped all Americans in the face with their policy of keeping U.S. fugitives away and safe from the reach of U.S. justice,” Burgos wrote.
Assata’s involvement in the Black Power movement occurred during the time Martin Luther King Jr. was killed.