Blog #27:
Response to “A Mother’s Cry”

Most recently, I received a copy of "A Mother's Cry," written by my Mom as a result of her frustration with the NYS Parole Division's continued denial of parole for Herman Bell and myself. Anyone can imagine a mother's anguish when her first-born is denied release seven times for "the nature of the crime"; that will obviously never change. I became eligible for parole in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and twice in 2012, each time denied for the same reasons. Presently, I am scheduled to again appear before the parole board in June 2014.

However, as a result of Herman's scheduled February parole hearing and the vicious visceral NYC Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (PBA) media campaign opposing his and my release, my Mom felt compelled to voice her anguish.

I am especially proud she took the initiative to publicly proclaim her disdain for the parole board's failure to be fair and impartial. Essentially, she raised our collective concern that a "special interest group," the PBA, has undue influence on the parole board. Since the majority of parole commissioners are former law enforcement personnel, this undeniable confluence between the PBA and parole commissioners serves to prohibit fair parole hearings for anyone convicted of the assault of and/or the death of a police officer.

Given the political reality of my conviction, it is extremely important to put such parole hearings in context. This is what "A Mother's Cry" sought to achieve, although we need to recognize that some comments were not totally accurate.

For example, I am not—nor have I ever projected myself as being—"America's Nelson Mandela." Such comparisons can only be made in terms of the political nature of the conviction, a NEWKILL-COINTELPRO conspired prosecution. The "Cry" also erred in confusing the relationship between NEWKILL and COINTELPRO; NEWKILL derived from COINTELPRO. On May 26, 1971, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover met with President Richard M. Nixon, Domestic Advisor John Erlichman, and members of the Watergate plumbers (burglary team), and decided that this case, which occurred on May 21, 1971, would be solved by the FBI, code name NEWKILL. Ironically, the FBI agent who revealed himself as "Deep Throat" in the Watergate crime, Mark M. Felt, was second in command on COINTELPRO operations, and involved in the NEWKILL investigation and cover-up.

It is extremely important to understand this dynamic because the prosecution withheld information of NEWKILL-White House involvement in this case from the defense during two trials. This includes the fact the FBI did ballistics tests on the weapon alleged to have been used by me and determined it was not the murder weapon. This information was withheld from the defense while the prosecutor allowed perjured testimony by NYC Detective George Simmons, who testified that only he did ballistics tests, concluding the weapon introduced at trial was the murder weapon. Based on these facts alone, it becomes more evident why the PBA seeks to ensure that the truth stays hidden. Having been to the parole board seven times with an exemplary record, it is easy to comprehend that the continued denials are based on political vindictiveness.

"A Mother's Cry" speaks to the racist decision-making process resulting in the failure of both the parole board and the PBA to acknowledge the victim's family who supports both my and Herman's releas on parole. While it is true this dichotomy exists between the two families, it is also true both families suffer from their loss. I must acknowledge this while facing my own Mother's anguish and pain when the parole board takes sides, giving the appearance of racial disparity of historical implications. During each of my seven parole hearings, I expressed remorse for the loss of life in this case, giving recognition to the loss of life during the period of struggle in which over 33 Panthers and a score of cops were killed. Unfortunately, both the PBA and the NYS Parole Divison in my case disregard how COINTELPRO created a violent political environment in it efforts to destroy the Black Panther party and the radical left.

"A Mother's Cry" may have inartfully expressed the conflict, but it certainly contextualized the current struggle for freedom. It is my sincere hope that "A Mother's Cry" inspires all mothers to "Stand Our Ground" against political internment and mass incarceration. Thanks, Mom!

Sign the Petition to Release Jalil on Parole!

In fierce struggle,
Jalil Muntaqim
Attica (3/10/14)