1967 Press Photo H. Rap Brown addresses SNCC 5x9 black power BLACK PANTHER PARTY

1967 Press Photo H. Rap Brown addresses SNCC 5x9 black power BLACK PANTHER PARTY

A VINTAGE ORIGINAL 1967 H. RAP BROWN ORIGINAL PRESS PHOTO 5X9 INCH PHOTO Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, also known as H. Rap Brown, was the fifth chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s, and during a short-lived alliance between SNCC and the Black Panther Party, he served as their minister of justiceH. Rap Brown succeeded Stokely Carmichael as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and was a prominent figure in the Black Panther Party. A leading proponent of Black Power and a polarizing media icon, Brown symbolized both the power and the dangers—for white Americans and for radical activists themselves—of the civil rights movement's new militancy in the late 1960s. Brown was born in 1943 and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  In 1960 he joined the Non-Violent Action Group (NAG) and moved to Washington, D.C. In 1964 he became NAG chairman. His activities with NAG soon drew him to SNCC, which was then engaged in voter-registration drives in the Deep South. Brown quickly distinguished himself as a charismatic leader and effective organizer. He was appointed director of voter registration for the state of Alabama in 1966 and replaced Carmichael as national chairman a year later. As SNCC chairman, Brown's rhetoric proved more militant and inflammatory than even Carmichael's. At the same time, like Carmichael, he struggled to translate SNCC's vision into concrete terms and programs. In large part this was due to a paralyzing barrage of criminal charges levied by federal and state officials, from inciting a riot in Maryland, to violating the National Firearms Act, to illegally crossing state lines, to skipping bail. During his firearms trial in 1970, Brown disappeared for seventeen months and was placed on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list. In late 1971 he reemerged after being arrested on armed robbery charges in Manhattan, New York.  Convicted on the last charge, Brown served five years in Attica State Prison. While in prison, Brown embraced Islam and changed his name to Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. Following his release he settled in Atlanta, Georgia where he started a mosque and operated a small grocery store and community center. Seemingly removed from the firestorms of his youth, Al-Amin's life took another dramatic turn in 2000 when he was charged with murdering a black police officer and injuring his partner in a gun battle outside Al-Amin's store. Despite some controversy surrounding the evidence, Al-Amin was convicted in 2002 and is currently serving a life sentence.When Hubert “Rap” Brown joined efforts to hold a Freedom Vote in Greene County, Alabama in 1966, he was a veteran of direct action. At the age of 15, he organized a walkout of students at Southern High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in solidarity with ongoing demonstrations at nearby Southern University. The walkout caused the administration to shut the school down for two days and nearly got him expelled. Eight years later, H. Rap Brown joined with local activists in the Alabama Black Belt to challenge white supremacy through the ballot box. In Greene County, that meant fighting to get Black candidates on the ballot, and it meant direct confrontations with authorities. Brown was steadfast in his determination and deeply committed to the cause. “I knew it was my responsibility to work for the liberation of my people and anybody who tried to stop me might get killed.”Hubert Gerold “Rap” Brown was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. As a child, he was sent to a Catholic orphanage for schooling, but he was frustrated with school and “always at odds with teachers.” He had to learn to protect himself from gangs of older children every day on the way home from school and became adept at fighting with his fists and his words. The name “Rap” was given to him in respect for the word games that he played with other boys on the streets, demonstrating his command of language, a sharp wit, and a mature political sensibility.His older brother, Edward Brown, helped direct his youthful enthusiasm toward constructive uses in the Movement. As a student at Southern University, Ed Brown was expelled after participating in and leading protests and decided to move to Washington, D.C. where he enrolled at Howard University. Ed would regularly host his younger brother and bring him to meetings on campus with the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG). Through NAG and its members, which included Stokely Carmichael, Courtland Cox, and Muriel Tillinghast, Rap Brown was introduced to the Movement and to important political ideas and practices. By 1964, he was one of the leaders of the NAG chapter at Howard, although he was not a Howard student.He came to Mississippi as a volunteer during the 1964 Freedom Summer. But frustrated by the barriers to voting rights there, he returned to Washington after only four weeks. His alienation from establishment political processes grew after the challenge by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) in Atlantic City and the failure of President Johnson to recognize the validity of that challenge. The two seats offered as a compromise to the MFDP’s demand for full seating infuriated Brown, who declared that the experience was “very significant because it made us realize that the whole conspiracy was not just a conspiracy of the South.” Brown blamed “the liberals, our friends,” for “turn[ing] against us.” Rap Brown hugging Stokely Carmichael, June 1967, Jim Peppler Southern Courier Photograph Collection, ADAHAfter Stokely Carmichael stepped down as SNCC’s chairman to pursue grassroots activism, Brown was elected to the position at Carmichael’s recommendation. Carmichael called him “a serious, strong brother” with “a calm, deliberate manner and a presence that inspired confidence.” Brown’s tenure, however, was marked with escalating conflict and confrontation with authorities. He was instrumental in the renaming of SNCC which replaced “Nonviolent” with “National.” Confrontations with authorities escalated to the point where the U.S. Congress passed an anti-riot act, known as the “Rap Brown Law,” in 1968. Legal troubles forced Brown to step down from SNCC, but he remained committed to the Movement. “Liberation movements,” he argued, “must be based upon political principles that give meaning and substance to the struggles of the masses of people, and it is this struggle that advances the creation of a people’s ideology.”Brown was arrested for robbery and jailed in Attica Prison (1971-76). While incarcerated, he embraced Islam and adopted the name Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. After his release he became an important spiritual leader in Atlanta’s West End, campaigning against drugs. In 2000, he was accused and convicted of shooting two Fulton County deputy sheriffs. He is currently in prison serving a life sentence.On this date in 1943, H. Rap Brown was born. He is an African American activist, writer, and spiritual leader.Hubert G. Brown is from Baton Rouge, LA. He became involved with the civil rights movement while a student at that city’s Southern High School. He attended Southern University but left there in 1962 to devote himself to civil rights. Brown spent summers in Washington D.C., with his older brother Ed and became a member of the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG). In 1964, while chairman of NAG, he became involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and in 1966, he was appointed its voter registration director in Alabama.One year later, he succeeded Stokely Carmichael as national chairman of SNCC, and in 1968, Brown served as minister of justice for the Black Panther Party during a brief working alliance of the two Black Power organizations.As the urban rebellions of Black discontent spread across America during the late 1960s, Brown eloquently led the militant advocacy part of the movement, making him a popular and effective speaker. These talents were the source of his adopted name “Rap,” and were also displayed in his book "Die Nigger Die!" (1969).The police and the FBI continually harassed Brown. He was arrested in 1967 for transporting weapons across state lines while under indictment, though he was never formally notified of that charge.He resigned as chairman of SNCC and went into hiding, making the FBI’s ten most wanted list in 1970. Brown was apprehended in 1972m and released four years later. He converted to Islam while in prison, taking the name Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (beautiful servant of Allah the trustworthy). After his release, he moved to Atlanta, , where he lived as the proprietor of a grocery store called the Community Store. He was the Imam (leader) of the Atlanta Mosque as well as in communities in Chicago, New York, and Detroit.Al-Amin is a strict Sunni Muslim in his interpretation of the Koran and his followers make aggressive outreach efforts to college campuses, malls, and the surrounding community. Al-Amin’s Mosque operates its own 300-student school as well. Currently the 57-year-old Al-Amin is in a Georgia jail awaiting another trial. Al-Amin is accused of killing Fulton County Deputy Ricky Kinchen and wounding Deputy Aldranon English as they tried to serve him with an arrest warrant at his grocery store in west Atlanta on March 16, 2000.He had been identified as the gunman through lab tests that showed that the two weapons recovered after his arrest in White Hall, AL, matched shell casings found at the shooting scene. Al-Amin was found guilty on March 9, 2002, on 13 counts including murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.Since his conviction, questions have been raised about his conviction. Supporters say that another man who confessed to the shooting is the real shooter. The police initially believed the shooter was wounded during the gun battle, but al-Amin had no injuries. Some feel that al-Amin's conviction is politically motivated.In 2004, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously ruled to uphold al-Amin's conviction. In August 2007, he was transferred from state custody to Federal custody because Georgia officials decided that al-Amin is too high-profile an inmate for the Georgia prison system to handle. He was moved to a Federal transfer facility in Oklahoma pending assignment to a Federal penitentiary. On October 21, 2007, al-Amin was transferred to the ADX Florence supermax prison in Florence, ColoradoHis voice had power. His booming delivery was infused with rousing socio‐political rhetoric. With a rhythmic cadence, tone, and inflection, his voice kept a beat. It emboldened a generation of black youth, and frightened the white establishment.His voice organized black voters in rural southern towns. It later pushed drug dealers and prostitutes out of his Atlanta community. As he aged, the provocative rhetoric gave way to a mellow, measured and direct recital of religious discipline.He traded his iconic black beret and black sunglasses for a knitted kufi and wire‐rimmed glasses. Despite his garb, at a lean 6’5”, he always cut an imposing figure — a revolutionary unafraid to speak truth to power.But now, that voice has been muted; muzzled underneath the wailing screams of the mentally ill as they bang on the walls of their prison cells — walls on to which they spread their feces. Men who mutilate their bodies with and swallow razors, shards of glass, sharpened chicken bones and writing utensils howl and weep at all hours of the day and night.It is within these hellish confines that a Civil Rights icon sits shackled in an underground cell. Silenced.For over 10 years now, Imam Jamil Abdullah Al‐Amin has been under perpetual solitary confinement, for usually 23 hours a day with almost no human contact. Al‐Amin, once known as H. Rap Brown during his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, is now referred to as 99974‐555 ‐ his inmate register number at the federally run Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado.He is serving a life sentence for a crime many people believe he never committed.Al‐Amin was convicted of murdering a deputy sheriff and wounding another during a gun fight in March of 2000 and was sentenced to life in prison two years later. Then, on July 30 into August 1 of 2007, Al‐Amin was secretly transferred overnight to the super‐maximum security ADX prison, without the knowledge of his family or legal counsel.It is there where he now resides, 1,400 miles away from home, shackled in that underground cell. Although housed in a federal facility, Al‐Amin is imprisoned on state charges and is still being paid for by Georgia state tax payers.Al‐Amin has always maintained his innocence. In a statement released after his arrest, he wrote:“Let me declare before the families of these men, before the state, and any who would dare to know the truth, that I neither shot nor killed anyone. I am innocent…I am one with the grief of this mother and father at the loss of their son. I am joined at the heart with this widow and her children at the loss of a husband and a father. I drink from the same bitter cup of sorrow as the siblings at the loss of a beloved brother. I am powerless to do anything to ease your pain and suffering except pray that Allah comforts you in your hour of need and grants you peace for the remainder of your days.”Later, prior to his trial, a gag order was imposed on Al‐Amin, preventing him from professing his innocence outside of the trial. Even now, a request sent to the ADX prison to interview Al‐Amin has gone unanswered.To give a voice back to the man who once vociferously spoke for the voiceless, over 200 supporters of Al‐Amin gathered under the dome of the Georgia State Capital building in Atlanta for a national day of action on March 19, 2012. The rally, which featured many speakers including former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Imam Zaid Shakir, was coordinated to demand that Al‐Amin be released from federal detainment and transferred back to the Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, Georgia.“We’re certain the F.B.I. has a role in (his transfer to the federal prison)” said Heather Gray, host of the Just Peace radio program on WRFG in Atlanta and an organizer of the rally. The F.B.I.’s presence in the conviction of Al‐Amin has been visible since the beginning, where “the F.B.I. met with the judge in her chambers during the trial,” said Gray.Gray, who also serves on the board of directors for WRFG and Pacifica National Radio, has been involved in the Civil Rights Movement and started publicizing Al‐Amin’s case at the request of his late brother, Ed Brown.Brown and Gray worked together during the anti-apartheid movement and then again soon after Al‐Amin was arrested over a decade ago. “[His transfer] seems to be a punitive thing, not based on anything he’s done in prison,” said Gray.Indeed, Al‐Amin has been the focus of federal surveillance since the 1960’s. In an August, 1967, letter to all F.B.I. offices focusing the infamous Counter‐Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) against “Black Nationalist Hate Groups,” J. Edgar Hoover specifically called out H. Rap Brown and three other men –Stokely Carmichael, Elijah Muhammad, and Maxwell Stanford — as targets of the program.The surveillance continued throughout the 1990’s, as the F.B.I. placed informants in Al‐Amin’s Atlanta community to try and connect him with criminal activity. Despite developing a 44,000‐page file on Al‐Amin, the F.B.I. was unable to pin a single charge on him — until his murder conviction and subsequent move to the federal ADX prison.Throughout his incarceration in solitary confinement, Al‐Amin maintains his innocence and mental clarity. Mauri’ Salaakhan, a human rights activist and Director of The Peace and Justice Foundation (now, The Aafia Foundation) in Washington, D.C., asserts that solitary confinement “violates Al‐Amin’s constitutional rights of (being subjected) to cruel and unusual punishment.”“Despite the brutal conditions, he’s holding up well. He’s a man of deep faith. He has a strong constitution,” said Salaakhan, who has been closely following the case since he released a booklet in 2002, “The Case of Imam Jamil Abdullah Al‐Amin: Is it a Government Conspiracy?”The brutal conditions Salaakhan mentions are the subject of a now dismissed June 2012 class‐action lawsuit brought against the ADX prison for its inhumane treatment of mentally ill inmates.The organizers of and speakers at the rally aim to petition the state of Georgia to stop spending state tax‐payer dollars to incarcerate Al‐Amin in the federal ADX prison in Colorado. According to Bethany Whetzel, assistant counsel for the Georgia Department of Corrections, the current per diem rate to house Al‐Amin at the federal ADX prison is $80.04 — over $140,000 to date. The office of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal refused to comment on the situation.“It’s a two‐prong approach” Salaakhan said. The first step is to bring Al‐Amin back to Georgia; the second step is to petition the state courts for a retrial in order to free him.The second step has been tasked, among others, to C. Allen Garrett Jr., a partner at the law firm of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton (KT&S). Garrett, based in Atlanta, has been working on Al‐Amin’s case pro‐bono since 2007. The law firm originally was assigned Al‐Amin’s case when he brought a suit against the warden of the Georgia State Prison, Hugh Smith, and other prison officials for illegally opening mail from his legal counsel, which is protected by attorney‐client privileges.As he researched the case, Garrett, and lead counsel and senior partner at KT&S, A. Stephens Clay, discovered retaliatory actions on the part of prison officials against Al‐Amin. Moreover, they came across the work of G. Terry Jackson and Linda Sheffield, Al‐Amin’s attorneys from his state appeal case in 2007.Jackson, who passed away in March of 2012, and Sheffield found major flaws with the initial trial in 2002 and revealed important evidence that was never presented. Jackson’s and Sheffield’s discovery uncovered what Garrett refers to as the “ineffective assistance of counsel” on the part of Al‐Amin’s original defense team, thus leading Garrett to file various petitions with the state of Georgia for a retrial based on ignored evidence.Al‐Amin’s petition for a retrial sits with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, which issued an order on July 3, 2012, directing the respondents (Georgia state Attorney General, Samuel Olens; ADX Warden, Blake Davis; and Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner, Brian Owens) to address why Al‐Amin’s challenge should not be granted. On August 17 of 2012, the respondents replied by dismissing Al‐Amin’s claims and urged the court to deny a retrial.Now, within a federal facility reserved for the most dangerous criminals who pose a national and international security threat, Al‐Amin must quietly await a court to once again rule on his fate. That fate, which is linked to an inconsequential traffic stop in 1999, was put into motion during his role as a Civil Rights leader, when he first garnered the watchful eye of the federal authorities.A Targeted ManThe man behind the prison number — the fiery civil‐rights revolutionary and later, after his conversion to Islam in 1971, the preeminent spiritual leader of an Atlanta Muslim community, credited with ridding the town of drug dealers and violence — has been closely watched by the federal authorities since the late 1960’s.In 1964, at the age of 20, Al‐Amin, then H. Rap Brown, left Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, moved to Washington, D.C. where his older brother Ed Brown was attending Howard University, and joined the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG).As a member and chairperson at NAG, Al‐Amin organized voting drives in rural, predominantly African‐American towns like White Hall, Alabama. By 1966, Al‐Amin had joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (S.N.C.C.) and was its field director in Greene County, Alabama.“I met Rap around 1966 at the S.N.C.C. office in Atlanta,” recalls Faye Bellamy, who joined S.N.C.C. in December of 1964. “I thought he was very dynamic, very intelligent. And nice. He didn’t have a hard time getting along with people.”One particular interaction with Al‐Amin still resonates with her over 45 years later. “Rap used to be followed by the police in Atlanta everywhere he went. They weren’t undercover; it was clear that they were following him,” says Bellamy. On one sweltering hot day, a group of S.N.C.C. members congregated in an apartment near the campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, remembers Bellamy. “In walked Rap and he brought the police officers into the apartment,” which riled the emotions of the S.N.C.C. members.“He said, ‘Look it’s hot, we ain’t gonna have people sitting in the heat ‐ give ’em some water.’ [The officers] came in, were greeted, greeted us, were invited to sit down, and it was calm,” recalls Bellamy.“[Al‐Amin] wasn’t biased against the police. People in S.N.C.C. were of the mindset that [police] were working people and they should be respected. It wasn’t the category of the job it was the category of the human; [Al‐Amin] may not agree [with you], but he was always considerate.”Through his experience, though, Al‐Amin realized a non‐violent approach would not solve the violence perpetrated on the minority populations. So was the belief of then S.N.C.C.‐Chair, Stokely Carmichael.Carmichael, who famously brought fellow S.N.C.C. colleague Willie Ricks’ phrase “black power” to popularity in the American lexicon, landed on the federal authorities’ radar with increasingly aggressive speeches. After Carmichael finished his one‐year term as Chair of S.N.C.C. and focused his attention on going abroad, Al‐Amin was selected to replace him.He took over right where Carmichael left off. Instead of toning down the aggressive rhetoric, Al‐Amin turned it up. On July 24, 1967, in Cambridge, Maryland, Al‐Amin spoke to a crowd to whom he exalted: “If Cambridge doesn’t come around, Cambridge got to be burned down,” remembered Cambridge resident, Lemuel Chester according to an NPR story on the incident.In his political autobiography “Die Nigger Die!,” Al‐Amin recalls that after giving his speech, he and a few others walked a young woman home who was afraid to go by herself. About halfway down the street, a group of cops hiding behind a bush opened fire on Al‐Amin and those around him, he wrote.Al‐Amin was scraped by a shotgun pellet in the head, but he and the others managed to get away. Once word spread that the cops opened fire on Al‐Amin, others took to the street to express their outrage. Not too long later, a dilapidated elementary school for black children was set ablaze.Despite the attack on Al‐Amin, he was charged with arson and inciting a riot for simply speaking at the event. Then‐Maryland Governor, and soon‐to‐be Vice President, Spiro T. Agnew surveyed the damage after the Cambridge incident. Referring to Al‐Amin, Agnew stated: “I hope they pick him up soon, put him away and throw away the key.”After a series of rebellions and uprisings throughout the summer of 1967 — the worst of which occurred in Detroit between July 23 and July 27, where 43 people were killed and the National Guard was brought in to quell the unrest — the federal authorities, particularly J. Edgar Hoover of the F.B.I., rushed to contain the emerging threat to the establishment.By the end of that summer, the F.B.I. aimed its infamous Counter‐Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) to focus on “Black Nationalist Hate Groups” in order to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” them, as explicitly stated in a memo written by Hoover on August 25, 1967 and sent to all F.B.I. offices. According to F.B.I. records, one of the names repeatedly targeted by the COINTELPRO was H. Rap Brown.Al‐Amin’s position as the face of the youthful, black revolution was so engrained with the authorities that upon receiving testimony from Hoover who cited the Cambridge incident during a congressional hearing investigating the rebellions, Congress passed the “H. Rap Brown Law,” which made it a federal offense to cross state lines with the intent to incite a riot.While awaiting trial for the Cambridge case, Al‐Amin was under house‐arrest in New York City. During this time, in 1969, now just 26, he published his manifesto “Die Nigger Die!,” which laid out his revolutionary argument.By March, 1970, Al‐Amin was finally called to court to face the arson and riot charges. On March 9, a mere mile away from the court house in which Al‐Amin was to be tried, two S.N.C.C. members, Ralph Featherstone and Willie “Che” Payne, were killed when a bomb demolished their car.Maryland police claimed the two men were bringing a bomb to the court house when it accidentally went off. S.N.C.C. members and other supporters believed the two men were assassinated; killed by a car bomb placed on their vehicle. Even the police admit that Featherstone and Payne were driving back to Washington at the time of the explosion, thus casting doubt on the original claim of them planning on bombing the court house.The target of the assassination, it was further believed, was Al‐Amin, who was thought to have been in the car. The next night, another bomb went off. This time, a 30‐foot hole was left in the side of the court house.The danger was palpable for Al‐Amin. As a result, he did not show to his court hearing. A new court date was set and again, Al‐Amin did not show. He disappeared and subsequently was added to the F.B.I.’s ten most‐wanted list.Later, according to an article written by Bob Woodward in the Montgomery Sentinel, a weekly D.C. suburban paper at the time, it was revealed by the prosecuting attorney, William B. Yates, that the arson charge was fabricated specifically to guarantee that Al‐Amin would be added to the F.B.I.’s ten most‐wanted list if he skipped the trial. During this time, Al‐Amin went “underground” and was reported to have made his way to Africa.He didn’t officially resurface until October 16, 1971. On that night, Al‐Amin was shot and beaten by New York City police officers on top of a Manhattan rooftop as he fled the scene of a robbery. Al‐Amin and two others were later charged and convicted of robbing the patrons of the Red Carpet Lounge.However, a story by Thomas A. Johnson published in the New York Times on January 23, 1972, reported that the local community believed that “if” Al‐Amin and the two other men committed the crime, “it was ‘to convince’ certain customers suspected of dealing in heroin and cocaine ‘that they should stop.’”Regardless of the actual motive, Al‐Amin spent five years in prison, during which he converted to Islam.By 1976, Al‐Amin was released from prison and traveled to the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, for the annual Hajj (Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islamic belief and mandatory for all Muslims who are physically able to undertake the religious pilgrimage). When he returned, he settled in Atlanta’s West End community where, over time, he established the Community Mosque of Atlanta and operated a small grocery store.“The store was the center of the community. We gave and still give the adhan (Muslim call to prayer) five times a day from there,” says Nadim Ali, the current Imam (Muslim religious leader) of Al‐Amin’s West End Atlanta community. “He helped move people into the area to develop a neighborhood,” says Ali.During the early 1980’s, the neighborhood was riddled with crime and drugs. Al‐Amin was committed to cleaning up the area, remembers Ali, who worked alongside him. There was a park near the mosque that was closed at night, but still attracted drug dealers and users, Ali recalls. “A physical presence was important. We did community patrols all night during the height of the crack epidemic. We’d show up to the park to keep people moving. Tell them to leave, take tag numbers of cars.” Their presence became so prominent that “drug dealers [would] call the police on us,” laughs Ali.“We’d intervene on cases of domestic violence; if neighbors were getting out of hand, we’d tell them it was not acceptable,” says Ali. “We didn’t let people disrespect us. Once the rep was out there, it was known that we took care of our neighborhood.” Ali remembers that people were attracted to Al‐Amin due to his talents in speaking with others.“We’d talk with the people. And people liked being around [Al‐Amin]. You’d see him speak to college professors, homeless people, international figures — he could speak to people on many levels. He has a very wise, fatherly image. He always taught to not train and educate yourself away from your people. He never pushed people away,” says Ali. “He is a man with a global outlook, but a communal presence.”Throughout the 1980’s, Al‐Amin’s focus was local, as he led his community in the expulsion of drugs, prostitutes, and violence from the surrounding neighborhoods. In the 1990’s, his focus grew nationally and then internationally. Al‐Amin rose to prominence on the national Muslim scene, as he became a founding member of the Islamic Shura Council of North America — an umbrella institution that coordinated efforts among the four largest Muslim organizations in the country.Al-Amin at the Rally for Bosnia in 1993, seated behind the podium, two seats to the right of Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens). (Courtesy of Karima Al-Amin)He helped organize the Bosnia Task Force, leading a march on Washington, D.C. in May of 1993, to bring attention to the plight of suffering Bosnian Muslims, and he began to speak in defense of the Palestinian plight for freedom and justice.Soon enough, the federal authorities set their sights on him again. In an April, 2000, article, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that from 1992 to 1997, the F.B.I. and Atlanta police investigated Al‐Amin “in connection with everything from domestic terrorism to gunrunning to 14 homicides in Atlanta’s West End.” The F.B.I. even placed paid informants within Al‐Amin’s community in order to gather as much intelligence on him as possible.During this time, Al‐Amin was arrested by a joint task force of the A.T.F. (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), F.B.I. and local police officers and charged with shooting 22‐year‐old William Miles in the leg as he walked across the street toward Al‐Amin’s store on July 26, 1995.Michael R. Hauptman, Al‐Amin’s attorney at the time, stated that the charges represented a “25‐year‐old vendetta” from various police agencies against Al‐Amin. Hauptman’s assertion appeared more accurate when, less than a month later, Miles recanted, saying the police pressured him to identify Al‐Amin despite Miles not actually seeing who wounded him. The charges were soon dropped and Al‐Amin was freed.In 1997, the F.B.I. handed over all of the information it collected on Al‐Amin to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. None of the data gathered during the F.B.I.’s investigation into Al‐Amin ever tied him to any criminal activity or wrongdoing. As a result, the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to press charges against Al‐Amin, thereby closing the F.B.I’s case on the Imam.Yet, not even four years later, the law would tangle with Al‐Amin’s life once more. This time, the charges would lead to a sentence of life in prison.The Traffic StopWhile driving in Marietta, Georgia, on May 31, 1999, Al‐Amin was pulled over by Cobb County Police Officer Johnny Mack around 5:30PM. Mack noticed that Al‐Amin’s car had a driveout tag, which legally allowed new car owners to drive a vehicle for 30 days without officially registering it.Al-Amin leads Muslim worshippers in Eid prayers during the 1990’s. Al-Amin served as the leader of the Majlis-ash-Shura of the metro Atlanta area. (Courtesy of Karima Al-Amin)In a court hearing, Mack explained that stopping cars with drive‐out tags was part of his “basic patrol,” even when there was no evidence of wrongdoing. According to Mack’s testimony, he ran a check on the vehicle identification number and the car was listed as stolen. At this point, Al‐Amin was removed from his vehicle and searched.During the pat‐down, Mack found a bill of sale for the vehicle and a police badge in Al‐Amin’s wallet. The bill of sale showed Al‐Amin as the rightful owner of the vehicle and the honorary badge was issued to Al‐Amin from the mayor of White Hall, Alabama, John Jackson.Al‐Amin never presented the badge and, following the arrest, the mayor of White Hall sent a letter to officials in Georgia verifying the authenticity of the honorary badge. Still, Al‐Amin was charged with driving a stolen car, driving with expired insurance and impersonating a police officer.Al‐Amin consulted with a lawyer about the traffic violation. The lawyer, without Al‐Amin’s approval, contacted the Cobb County Solicitor about the case, and when Al‐Amin found out, he chose not to hire the lawyer. Later, Al‐Amin was offered a plea‐deal; if he pled guilty, he would be sentenced to only three months in jail. Knowing he was innocent of all charges, he rejected the deal.Al‐Amin’s traffic court case was then scheduled for a calendar call on Friday, January 28, 2000, which would allow the lawyer to meet with the judge to prevent possible case scheduling conflicts.However, the courthouse was closed that day due to a major storm that hit the area. Georgia was under a rare winter storm watch, as severe snow and ice covered the Atlanta area for the second weekend in a row.Al‐Amin, who did not have legal representation, neither had his calendar call nor was told when to return. In correspondence through his current attorney Allen Garrett, Al‐Amin presumes the court still listed the lawyer whom he consulted with, but never hired, as his legal counsel.Thus, Al‐Amin believes all communication about a reschedule was sent to that lawyer and not him, as he has no recollection of receiving any materials relating to a rescheduled calendar call or a later issuance of a warrant for arrest.The storm, along with bureaucratic minutiae, provided the setup for the final, fateful charge.On Thursday, March 16, 2000, Al‐Amin, along with the rest of the Muslim community in Atlanta of which he was the spiritual leader, was celebrating Eid ul‐Adha, the most important holiday of the Muslim calendar.Shortly after 10PM of that night, two Fulton County Deputy Sheriffs, Ricky Kinchen and Aldranon English, arrived in the vicinity of a community store operated by Al‐Amin. The deputy sheriffs were serving Al‐Amin with an arrest warrant for not showing up to his traffic court case. Kinchen and English pulled their patrol car nose‐to‐nose with a parked black Mercedes, thought to be Al‐Amin’s.When they saw a black male (both Deputies were also black males) near the Mercedes, they exited their car with guns drawn. In moments, a gun fight erupted. Both officers were felled by a single assailant’s bullets. Kinchen was shot multiple times in the groin and stomach, and later died in the hospital; English was wounded and spent the next few days in the Intensive Care Unit.Prior to Kinchen’s death, both men proclaimed that the assailant, who escaped the scene, was also wounded in the gun fight, as they “had to have” shot him. A federal manhunt ensued with over 100 agents pursuing Al‐Amin.The hunt lasted for four days. On Monday, March 20, 2000, Al‐Amin was captured in White Hall, Alabama. The full facts of what happened during the arrest of Al‐Amin are still unclear, as federal agents and witnesses to the event recounted conflicting details.According to federal agents, after going door-to‐door looking for Al‐Amin, they spotted a black Cadillac that may have been linked to the shooting in Atlanta. The car was stopped and although Al‐Amin was not inside, the other occupants were arrested.Later, agents noticed a man wearing white enter a wooded area. Prior to entering the woods, the man fired upon the federal authorities, the agents claimed. The agents returned fire. The man ran off and the local sheriff’s department sent dogs into the woods to find the perpetrator.After an exhaustive search of the woods, no one was found. A short time later, though, a local police officer noticed Al‐Amin walking by railroad tracks. Al‐Amin was wrestled to the ground, handcuffed and beaten.However, witnesses to the event who later testified in Al‐Amin’s trial, said the federal agents were never fired upon and that the man who entered the woods was dressed differently than Al‐Amin and did not match his physical description. The F.B.I. claim that Al‐Amin shot at federal agents was later dropped.F.B.I. Special Agent Ronald Campbell, according to his own account in a sworn affidavit, was angry that he fell behind in the chase and upon seeing the handcuffed Al‐Amin, began to kick him and spit on him. Another agent had to restrain Campbell by pulling on his armored vest collar, urging him to calm down.The 56‐year‐old Al‐Amin was being treated as a cop‐killer; later a local White Hall police officer said that Al‐Amin may not have survived if officers from his department weren’t there. After being jailed in Montgomery for over a month, refusing extradition to Georgia, Al‐Amin was finally shepherded back to Cobb County, where he would await trial for killing Kinchen and wounding English.The TrialJury selection was scheduled to begin on September 11, 2001.Understandably, the presiding judge, Stephanie Manis, granted a request by the defense to delay the trial. Four months later, on January 7, 2002, the jury began to hear the prosecution’s case.The prosecution, led by Robert McBurney, shared its evidence: the surviving Deputy, Aldranon English provided eyewitness testimony saying Al‐Amin was his shooter; Al‐Amin, who was wearing a bullet‐proof vest during his capture, was reported to have fired shots at law enforcement during his arrest in White Hall; an automatic pistol, assault rifle, three spent shell casings, and two .223‐caliber magazine casings (which were the same caliber found at the crime scene) were found in the woods of White Hall where Al‐Amin was captured; and there was no reason provided for why Al‐Amin was in White Hall nor where he was during the shooting of the deputies.The final point, the defense later argued, was an attempt to use the fact that Al‐Amin didn’t testify as implicit proof against him. Later, during the sentencing, the prosecution called numerous relatives of Kinchen to the stand to share their emotional loss with the jury. Their testimony highlighted the human element in the death of Kinchen.McBurney, who in April of 2012 was sworn in as a judge in the Superior Court of Fulton County, believes Al‐Amin had an impartial hearing. “The Imam received a fair trial ‐ a jury of his peers, four lawyers, a fair judge,” says McBurney.“Mr. Al‐Amin had four phenomenal attorneys working on his behalf. Three of the most respected practitioners of criminal law in the metro Atlanta area (Jack Martin, Bruce Harvey, and Tony Axam). And a Muslim lawyer from New York (Michael Warren). It was not a situation where he didn’t receive a proper defense. The evidence was the problem.”The defense team disagrees with McBurney’s recollection. Led by Martin, the defense had issues with the court from the beginning of the trial. Bruce Harvey remembers being “hamstrung by the rulings of the court. The ability to properly voir dire the jurors and jury selection was a particular problem,” says Harvey.“[Judge] Manis really wanted to control the court room. She was afraid to lose control and really constrained free rein of the trial” Harvey recalls. Judge Manis, who briefly discussed her vague recollection of the case, declined to comment as she feels it is inappropriate for a sitting judge to speak publicly about past cases.Nonetheless, the defense moved forward by calling into question English’s testimony stating that he refused to be interviewed by defense attorneys who had to rely on the account he gave to state prosecutors. When paramedics reached the scene of the shooting, English, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds — injuries that reminded arriving paramedic Kristin McGregor Jones of “Vietnam war wounds that I’ve seen in the movies” — was laying in a fetal position pleading for his life. The pepper spray canister on English’s belt was hit by the assailant’s bullet, thereby temporarily blinding him.Yet, he was able to identify Al‐Amin in a photo lineup hours after being shot and rushed into emergency surgery. When English made his identification, he was under the effects of four milligrams of morphine, and this according to the defense, along with his inconsistent descriptions of the shooter and the state in which he was found at the scene, called into question the validity of English’s claim.English, who is now a Lieutenant with the Fulton County Sherriff’s Office, is still seemingly affected by the events of that night, over 12 years ago. When reached by phone, English’s voice immediately changed at the mention of Al‐Amin’s name, as he sternly refused to speak about the case.Furthermore, physical evidence did not match the descriptions given by English, and in some instances was destroyed or removed. Such was the case with Kinchen’s and English’s patrol car; the bullet holes from the gun fight were repaired and the car returned to active service before defense experts could examine it.Finally, the defense argued that despite both deputies claiming they hit the assailant, 9‐1‐1 calls reporting a bleeding man on the street shortly after the shooting, and blood stains in the area of the shooter on the street, Al‐Amin had no injuries or damage to his bullet‐proof vest. Nor were any of his fingerprints on any of the guns and shells found at the murder scene in Atlanta or the site of the arrest in White Hall.The defense then called various witnesses to testify to Al‐Amin’s good character and charitable community work over a lifetime of activism. Afterward, the defense abruptly rested their case. It was such a surprise that Judge Manis remarked she “didn’t expect the defense to rest today.”Prior to the hasty end, Al‐Amin claims to have repeatedly asked his counsel to be allowed to testify, in order to clear his name by directly presenting his side of the story. Al‐Amin had a constitutional right to testify that could not be waived by the defense counsel without his consent. Yet, his counsel decided that he should not take the stand. The jury never heard Al‐Amin describe where he was that night, nor did the defense explain his whereabouts.On March 13, 2002, the jury of nine blacks, two whites, and one Hispanic deliberated for less than five hours. The verdict: guilty. The jury decided against the death penalty; Al‐Amin was to spend the rest of his life in prison. Later in an affidavit, juror Terry Walker, Jr. stated:“A major part of the decision we made as a juror [sic] to find Jamil Al‐Amin guilty was based on Jamil Al‐Amin [sic] choice not to testify. We as jurors wanted to hear from Jamil Al‐Amin. . . . We discussed Jamil Al‐Amin [sic] choice not testifying [sic] in the deliberating room. Jamil Al‐Amin not testifying played a major role in our decision to find Mr. Al‐Amin guilty. . . . I don’t recall all the names of the particular juror [sic] but the majority felt Mr. Al‐Amin should have said something. [T]hings we as jurors felt should have be [sic] done main thing Mr. Al‐Amin should have made a statement or at least come on the witness stand say out of his own mouth that he was not guilty if that statement could have been made it could have swayed votes in the other direction.”Al‐Amin’s lead defense counsel, Jack Martin, had no recollection if he or any other defense attorney approached Al‐Amin to discuss his right to, and interest in, testifying. Martin later stated that Al‐Amin accepted the defense’s recommendation to not testify. Yet, according to the trial transcript, the only evidence of Al‐Amin discussing his right to testify was after the abrupt decision to rest the case.Even the prosecution was confused. Waiting until the jury had been excused, the prosecution asked if “the defendant is aware of his right to testify and has waived that.” Martin did not return multiple calls asking for comments on this story.On the same day as the announcement of the guilty verdict, a cruel twist was revealed; a trial court found that Al‐Amin’s underlying traffic stop was illegal. In a court order filed on March 13, 2002, Judge Manis ruled that the stop violated Al‐Amin’s Fourth Amendment right of protection from unreasonable search and seizure.“In this case,” Judge Manis wrote, “there was no evidence that (Al‐Amin) violated any traffic laws, nor was there evidence that the drive‐out tag itself was somehow suspicious.” The “suspicionless stop…clearly violates the Fourth Amendment,” continued Manis. “Officer Mack needed an objective, particularized and articulable reason why he thought the tag was outside the thirty (30) day grace period. As there was no such reason produced at the hearing, the stop was illegal.”It turned out that Deputy Sheriffs Kinchen and English were serving a warrant for an illegal traffic stop that should never have even occurred.Beyond Al‐Amin’s testimony, the jury was never presented with the clearest evidence to substantiate Al‐Amin’s innocence. In fact, the defense opted to not include this exculpatory evidence in their argument.The suppressed evidence was Otis Jackson’s confession to the crime for which Al‐Amin was convicted.The ConfessionOtis Jackson is a self‐proclaimed leader of the Almighty Vice Lord Nation (AVLN). Founded in the late 1950s, the AVLN is one of the oldest street gangs in Chicago.According to Jackson, the group under his leadership was focused on rebuilding communities by pushing out drug dealers and violence. Ironically enough, he became a head of the AVLN during his incarceration in Nevada for battery with a deadly weapon.On September 23, 1997, Jackson was walking his dog when another man approached him claiming the dog was actually his. After a brief argument, Jackson was followed by the man back to his apartment. Jackson entered his apartment and later emerged with a gun. He took aim and shot the man in the upper torso.After serving 16 months in a Nevada prison, Jackson (also known as James Santos, Malik Muhammad, and Silis Selasse) was paroled on January 31, 2000, and immediately headed to Atlanta. Born in Nigeria in 1974, Jackson grew up in Georgia and left Nevada to be with his mother, who lived in Southwest Atlanta.Since he was on parole, Jackson was on house arrest and wore an ankle bracelet that monitored his location at all times. In addition to the bracelet, random calls were made to his mother’s house where he lived to confirm his residence.His supervising parole officer, Sarah Bacon, helped him get a job at a local restaurant called Mick’s. Believing Jackson didn’t have access to transportation, Bacon permitted him a 10‐hour window during which he was allowed to make the hour and a half trek to Mick’s from his mother’s place, work his shift and then walk back.What Jackson didn’t tell Bacon is that he had access to an early 1990’s model black Cadillac that was owned by his cousin. The night Deputies Kinchen and English were shot, Jackson drove his Cadillac to work.In a never‐before published sworn deposition, Jackson recalls the events of the night of Thursday, March 16, 2000, in vivid detail.It was a cool night as Jackson remembers. He wore a knee‐high black Islamic robe with black pants, a black kufi — Muslim head covering — underneath a tan hat, and a tan leather jacket. His silver sunglasses with yellow tint sat above his full beard and mustache.He arrived at Mick’s around 7PM, when he realized his schedule had changed. He was no longer the food expediter in the kitchen; his title was now dishwasher/cook, which meant he would wash dishes and then help close the kitchen at night.Since his title changed, he wasn’t required to work that Thursday night. It immediately dawned on him that he had a 10‐hour window to do whatever he wanted. As a parolee under house arrest, the opportunity to have truly free time was rare if even existent. Jackson decided to fill his new found freedom like most people fill their free time — he ran a few errands.His first stop was the West End Mall where he got a bite to eat, did some shopping and then headed toward the West End community mosque, led by Al‐Amin. He knew it was a regular building off of Oak Street, but wasn’t sure which one exactly.He parked his black Cadillac in an open field and walked down toward a house that turned out to be the mosque. He passed a black Mercedes before he got to the mosque, where he met a man named Lamar “Mustapha” Tanner. They talked for a while during which Jackson explained to Tanner that he was looking for Al‐Amin to talk about how the AVLN could help Al‐Amin’s community.Tanner told Jackson to check the grocery store, since Al‐Amin could usually be found there. Tanner then gave Jackson his phone number and hurried away to go pick up his wife. Jackson proceeded to the grocery store. He wanted to discuss with Al‐Amin how his AVLN organization could help further clean the streets of drug dealers in the West End community.By the time Jackson made his way to Al‐Amin’s store, it was already late. He was afraid the store would be closed since he didn’t see anyone else on the street. His fear was affirmed; the store wasn’t open.Hoping that maybe the owner would be in the back closing up, he knocked on the door a few more times. No answer. As he turned to leave, Jackson saw a patrol car pull up. By the time Jackson walked by the black Mercedes, the patrol car was parked in front of it, nose‐to‐nose. The driver of the patrol car got out and asked Jackson to put his hands up.Immediately, this scenario flashed through Jackson’s head: Here he was, violating his parole by not being at work, with a 9mm handgun in his waist. Jackson was afraid the cops would think he was breaking into the store. That meant they would probably frisk him and find the gun. The gun would be a direct violation of his parole; he’d be sent back to prison in Nevada.Jackson ignored the order to put his hands up and instead began to explain that he was not trying to break into the store. He stated that he wasn’t trying to steal the Mercedes either; his car was parked down the street. Both officers were out of the car with guns drawn and demanding Jackson put his hands up. The cops were closing in and there was little space between them. Jackson made a quick decision. He backed up against the Mercedes, pulled out his gun and began to fire.He fired off two shots. The officers, while retreating, returned fire. Jackson wasn’t hit and bolted toward his car, where in the trunk he had an arsenal of other weapons. As Jackson explains, “the organization I was about to form, the Almighty Vice Lord Nation, we’re anti‐oppression, and we fight, you know, drug dealers and what not, so…we need artillery.”He quickly opened the trunk — the lock was broken and held together with shoe string — and grabbed a lightweight, semiautomatic carbine Ruger Mini‐14 with an extended clip housing 40 .223 caliber rounds. Jackson then headed back toward the cops; one was moving for cover behind the Mercedes, the other was on the police radio screaming for backup.Jackson approached the officer he thought was the most aggressive, who was using the Mercedes for cover and resumed firing his rifle. The officer returned fire, hitting Jackson in the upper left arm twice.Jackson, now angered and fearful for his life, shot back, downing the officer. Jackson stood over him and shot him in the groin up to four times. The fallen officer, Deputy Kinchen, in a last attempt to plead with his killer, described his family, mother, and children to Jackson, hoping for mercy.But Jackson admits that by this time, “my mind was gone, so I really wasn’t paying attention.” Jackson fired again at the officer on the ground. Dripping his own blood on the concrete where he stood, Jackson then turned his attention to Deputy English who was running toward the open field. Jackson believed English was flagging down another officer; he couldn’t let him get away.Jackson hit English four times. One shot hit him in the leg; he soon fell, screaming, thereby confirming Jackson’s shot. After English went down, Jackson, in a state of shock, walked down pass the mosque.Nursing his bleeding wounds, he tried to stop three passing cars on the road; no one dared pull over. He then walked back down the street and knocked on three different doors for assistance. Only one even turned the light on, but no one opened the door for Jackson. He then made his way back to his car and drove to his mother’s home.As he walked in the door, the phone rang. His mother was asleep, so Jackson hurriedly answered it in the other room. It was a representative from the Sentinel Company that provided the monitoring service for Jackson’s ankle bracelet. The man on the phone asked where Jackson was; he responded that he was at work. The Sentinel representative explained that his unaccounted for absence would have to be marked down as a violation. Jackson agreed and quickly ended the conversation.Although one bullet exited through the back of his arm, the other was still lodged in his upper left arm. Jackson called a couple of female friends, who were registered nurses. The women, who were informed by Jackson that he was robbed in the middle of the night, arrived at his house and worked for three hours to remove the bullet from his arm. Jackson then called Mustapha Tanner, whom he just met earlier in the evening, and asked him to come by his house.Tanner arrived before 10am. Jackson explained what had happened the previous night and said he needed to get rid of the guns and the car. Jackson’s car trunk contained enough artillery for a mini-militia: three Ruger Mini‐14 rifles, an M16 assault rifle, a .45 handgun, three 9mm handguns and a couple of shotguns. Once Tanner left, Jackson called his parole officer Sarah Bacon and let her know that he “had been involved in a situation,” but left out the details.In the following days, Jackson was asked to report to the Sentinel Company. He checked in with the monitoring company and his parole officer, and was then given a ride back home. As they pulled onto his street, Jackson noticed many unmarked police cars. After entering his driveway, multiple police officers emerged. The police searched Jackson’s house and found rounds of Mini‐14, .223, 9mm, and M16 ammunition. Jackson’s bloody clothes and boots from the shootout with the deputies the night before were left untouched in his closet.On March 28, 2000, Jackson’s parole was revoked and he was sent back to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence in Nevada. Upon his detainment in Florida and later transfer to Nevada, Jackson confessed the crime to anyone who would listen. Jackson claims that when he reached the Clark County Jail in Las Vegas, Nevada, he made numerous phone calls to the F.B.I., after which an agent arrived to discuss the incident with him. Jackson recalls telling his story to “Special Agent Mahoney.”Special Agent Devon Mahoney recalls documenting the confession, but not much beyond that. Mahoney remembers getting a call from a superior to “talk to someone” in a Las Vegas jail and then to “document it and file it up the chain of command.” The confession was documented and filed on June 29, 2000.After speaking with Mahoney, Jackson was placed in solitary confinement. While in solitary, a white sign was hung outside his cell reading “cop killer.” As a result, Jackson stated, correction officers would forget to feed him and he wasn’t allowed to shower. His personal effects were taken away. Shortly after, Jackson recanted his confession. He was then transferred to a maximum security prison where he served out the rest of his 14‐month sentence.Evidence IgnoredOtis Jackson’s (a.k.a. James Santos) first written confession, in July 2000, to the murder for which Jamil Al-Amin is currently incarcerated.Prior to Al‐Amin’s trial, Jackson’s confession was brought to the attention of his defense team. However, they decided against presenting it.“It was clear in everybody’s view, the statements made by Mr. Jackson were lacking credibility and he had mental issues,” recalls Bruce Harvey, one of Al‐ Amin’s original defense attorneys.Jackson wasn’t a credible witness. He was a criminal in prison, had already recanted his confession, and his mental stability was in question.Furthermore, the prosecution told lead attorney Jack Martin that data from Jackson’s ankle bracelet showed he was at his home at the time of the shooting. Martin believed the prosecution and didn’t follow up to verify the ankle bracelet data.Thomas Ward, founder of the company that provided the ankle monitoring data and expert on house arrest monitoring systems, later testified at an evidentiary hearing after Al‐Amin was convicted, that data from Jackson’s ankle bracelet showed he was not at his residence during the time of the crime — the exact opposite of what the prosecution claimed.Ward revealed that the monitoring service tried to make contact with Jackson’s ankle bracelet at 7:36PM on March 16, 2000, and 12:04AM on March 17, but received a “circuits busy” response, indicating no contact with the target. The shooting happened shortly after 10PM. It wasn’t until 4:27AM on March 17, that the monitoring service was able to successfully check‐in with Jackson’s ankle bracelet.Furthermore, a witness of the shooting on the night of March 16, testified at the trial that the shooter was short and stocky. Jackson is listed as 5’8”, 170 lbs. Al‐Amin is 6’5” and wiry thin.Otis Jackson’s (a.k.a. James Santos) second written confession, in August 2009.In light of Ward’s testimony and Jackson’s confession, the evidentiary gaps highlighted by the prosecution in the original trial can be logically explained.Jackson described many details that were consistent with the actual event including the location of the officers, the parked cars, and the weapons used during the shootout. When Jackson’s house was searched after his parole violation, the same caliber of ammunition used in the shooting was found.The black Cadillac and other weapons that were found in White Hall during Al‐Amin’s capture on March 20, 2000, may have been brought there by Mustapha Tanner, who was hiding the evidence for Jackson. In fact, a man matching Tanner’s description was present in White Hall at the time of Al‐Amin’s arrest according to federal surveillance evidence.As Kinchen and English both proclaimed, they “had to have” hit the assailant who fired at them, yet Al‐Amin had no wounds when captured. Not only did Jackson have a wound when he was arrested for his parole violation, he still has scars on his arms from when he was hit.Moreover, witnesses and 9‐1‐1 calls reported seeing a bloodied man walking the streets in the area of the shooting. The blood found at the crime scene was tested, but it did not match Kinchen or English. It did not match Al‐Amin either. The test results, which are still highly contested because there was no clear chain of custody to verify the validity of the sample and testing process, came back positive for animal blood.Despite his confession being ignored after his parole violation in 2000, Jackson confessed to the shootings on two more occasions. During a sworn habeas deposition, Jackson relayed the details of the crime to G. Terry Jackson, a lawyer representing Al‐Amin on July 17, 2009.Then, in May of 2010, the F.B.I. investigated threatening letters sent to then‐Florida Governor Charlie Crist and District Attorney Paul Howard, written by James Santos (Santos is one of Jackson’s aliases). In the letters, Jackson warned of physical violence to be perpetrated against Crist and Howard if they didn’t release Al‐Amin and another man, Diego Montoya (Diego Montoya, said Jackson, is “near and dear” to his organization, the Almighty Vice Lord Nation).When the F.B.I. interviewed Jackson on June 29, 2010, he explained that he wanted Al‐Amin released because he committed the crime for which Al‐Amin is imprisoned. Jackson is currently serving a sentence at the Reception and Medical Center, a Florida‐state prison, for multiple offenses including grand theft auto, robbery with a deadly weapon, threatening to use a firearm, and credit card fraud.He was originally scheduled to be released on May 30, 2016, but after pleading guilty to intent to extort by written communication for his threatening letters, Jackson received an additional twelve and a half years to his sentence.However, Jackson’s confessions and possible mental instability led to one major inconsistency in his story. During the first confession in June of 2000, to F.B.I. Agent Mahoney, Jackson mentioned that Al‐Amin was at the scene and tried to prevent Jackson from shooting. Yet, in the more detailed confession given in July, 2009, Jackson stated that Al‐Amin was never at the scene.“We have never disputed that Otis is mentally ill,” says Allen Garrett. “Being mentally ill, however, does not mean one is incapable of homicide. The fact that Otis may have been inconsistent in his description of the events, perhaps slanting events to make himself or Jamil appear nobler, does not explain his knowledge of details of the crime that only the shooter or someone with encyclopedic knowledge of the record would have,” says Garrett.“Shoddy records made by biased government officials are worth much less than sworn testimony in a deposition before an official reporter,” says Garrett, insisting that Jackson’s second confession has greater credibility. It’s inconsistent, Garrett believes, for Jackson to “apparently [be] sane enough to make a credible threat [to Crist and Howard], but not sufficiently lucid to make a detailed confession.”Al‐Amin later recounted his whereabouts on the evening of the shooting in a habeas hearing — a side of the story he was prevented from testifying to at his own trial by his own defense team. On March 16, Al‐Amin had dinner with his family at a local Red Lobster and then returned to his neighborhood store and mosque to check the mail.While walking in the open field between the store and mosque, Al‐Amin heard pistol shots followed by “more rounds of fire.” Running for cover, Al‐Amin made his way through the neighborhood until he arrived next to his store. The gun fight had ended and Al‐Amin ran to his black Mercedes. As he drove away, the back window fell out of the car. It was then Al‐Amin recalled confronting several young men earlier in the day that he believed were dealing drugs in his neighborhood.Al‐Amin immediately thought he was the intended target of the shooting as retaliation from the youth. He went into “a safety kind of mode,” called his wife Karima, and drove directly to White Hall where he “knew I would be safe.” A day later, Al‐Amin heard that Deputies Kinchen and English were shot and that he was the focus of a nationwide manhunt. He didn’t want to turn himself in until he received the proper legal advice for what he should do. Three days later he was captured by federal authorities.In retrospect, Al‐Amin’s defense team made questionable decisions on what to present and withhold from the jury. The defense lawyers did not put Al‐Amin on the stand to explain his side of the story or provide an alibi for where he was the night of the shooting.They didn’t question the data retrieved from Otis Jackson’s ankle bracelet, and refused to submit Jackson’s confession to the jury. Even Bruce Harvey, a lawyer on Al‐Amin’s defense team, didn’t feel the case was handled ideally.“I always have regrets in trials which were unsuccessful. No lawyer in the world would say he doesn’t second guess a case in which a client is convicted with a life term,” says Harvey. What Harvey deems as regrets is described by Al

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