Jalil Muntaqim

Jalil became affiliated with the Black Panther Party at age 18.  Less than 2 months before his 20th birthday he was captured with Albert Nuh Washington in a midnight shootout with San Francisco police. He was subsequently charged with a host of revolutionary activities including the assassination of two police in New York City. It is for this that he is currently serving a 25 years – life sentence in New York State. His case is known as the New York 3 case as his co-defendants include Nuh Washington and Herman Bell. He was also implicated in the San Francisco 8 case, and pled guilty to a lesser offense.

All three members of the New York Three were specifically named in COINTELPRO documents as members of the black liberation movement who had to be "neutralized." These documents, and the media smear campaign enacted by the FBI and the White House, claimed that these community and human rights activists were "terrorists." This domestic program of political repression was revealed by a 1976 congressional committee, the Church Commission, to have utilized extra-legal methods to neutralize social justice movements, including surveillance, beatings, torture, harassment, instigating violent feuds between rival individuals and organizations, coercion and intimidation of witnesses, isolating and bad jacketing influential leaders, as well as outright murder. In fact, a major reason that many BPP and BLA members were forced to go underground and arm themselves was the deadly FBI-instigated split in the party between factions led by Eldridge Cleaver and Huey P. Newton.

Despite the media perception that the BPP were "terrorists," the main activities conducted by the New York Three and other members of the BPP were running programs designed to serve the community, such as the Free Breakfast program for children; health care programs, such as sickle-cell anemia testing and lead poisoning prevention; legal and political education; and anti-drug activities.

Legal Case:

On May 21, 1971, two New York City police officers were fatally shot. This shooting occurred within the context of two major national trends: the growth of black revolutionary groups such as the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and, later, its armed wing, the Black Liberation Army; and at the same time, the FBI operation under Director J. Edgar Hoover, with the cooperation of the Nixon administration, to destroy the leaders and memberships of both mainstream civil rights and militant black organizations. This counterintelligence operation, called COINTELPRO, targeted black leaders by infiltrating the Black Liberation Movement, framing members of the movements for crimes, and even murdering them, in order to get them off the streets and out of contact with the community. The shooting of these two police officers also came immediately after the infamous trial of the "Panther 21," a case in New York against 21 members of the BPP charged with planning "terrorist" acts. After nearly a two year trial, all 21 defendants were acquitted.

On May 26, 1971, only 5 days after the crime FBI Director Hoover was called to the White House, and in a secret meeting with President Richard Nixon, John Erlichman, the Domestic Advisor to the President, as well as members of the Watergate plumbers. They discussed this case and established the FBI would solve the crime under the code name NEWKILL, or New York killings. It is believed that in this meeting, the FBI and White House conspired to frame Black Panthers for the killings.

Furthermore, on May 19, 1971, only three days before the shooting, two other NYPD officers were injured. Dhoruba bin Wahad (formerly Richard Moore), was convicted in that case and served 19 years in prison for attempted murder. At the time of his arrest, Dhoruba was a ranking member of the Black Panther Party and a target of COINTELPRO. Eventually, in 1990, he was released due to a successful appeal based on information found in COINTELPRO documents, which detailed how evidence was manufactured and testimony perjured. Similar evidence has not been allowed as evidence in the case of the New York 3.

Three months after the killings, on August 28, 1971, Jalil and Albert Nuh Washington were arrested in San Francisco during an armed confrontation with police. Their arrests came only one week after the assassination of BPP Field Marshall, George Jackson. They were later charged with the New York killings. Nearly two years later, Herman Bell was arrested in New Orleans. Also arrested and charged in the case were Gabriel and Francisco Torres although charges the two brothers were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

The first trial, then against the New York 5 (including the Torres brothers), ended in a mistrial. In that trial, only one vote was cast to convict Nuh Washington. The Torres brothers were acquitted in the second trial. But at the end of a second trial, in 1975, the New York Three-Nuh, Jalil, and Herman--were convicted of first degree murder, weapons possession, and conspiracy.

The hung jury in the first trial was largely due to the jury's doubt that a fingerprint near the scene of the crime belonged to Herman Bell. In order to ensure that this piece of tampered evidence would uphold in the second trial, the FBI was brought in to back up the findings of the NYPD. What wasn't presented to the jury was that the FBI and the NYPD had different stories as to whether the fingerprint matched Bell or not. The defense argued that the print bad actually been lifted from Jalil's San Francisco apartment by the FBI. This is only one example of how the NYPD and FBI worked together to ensure a conviction in the second trial.

Life in Prison

During his almost 50 years of imprisonment, Jalil has accomplished the following: Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, Certificate of Architectural Drafting,Certificate of Computer Literacy. He has established many programs, such as the first Men’s Group for therapeutic training in the NY State prison system, an African/Black Studies program, a computer literacy class, a Sociology class and a poetry class. He has received two commendations for preventing prison riots. He has raised money for the children’s fund, was office manager of the computer lab and a teacher’s aide for GED classes. As a human rights advocate, he had the first U.S. prisoners national petition heard and recorded by a Special Committee at the United Nations on U.S. prisons and the existence of U.S. political prisoners. He has litigated several civil rights complaints on behalf of prisoners. 


Writings by Jalil

Letter from Jalil's Mom Billie: A Mother's Cry in support of her son's release.

Videos of Jalil discussing the Case of the New York 3, Cointelpro, Plutocracy and some history leading to the formation of the Jericho Movement, of which Jalil is a co-founder.
Also check out the videos from an interview with Jalil in 1988 by Paper Tiger TV, especially Part 3, which includes a response to Badge of the Assassin with Safiyah Bukhari, Attorney Brian Glick and the New York 3.

Jalil has written two books from prison:

We Are Our Own Liberators

Escaping the Prism: Fade to Black





Thursday, October 18, 1951